Our Curious Story
Curious Elephant was born in 2020 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates by Melody - an Australian foodie of Hong Kongese decent. Here is our story so far...
Ahlan, ahlan! My name is Melody (as in the music!) and I have a confession – I LOVE FOOD...lots of it. In particular, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Italian, Indian, Palestinian...oh the list is endless!
I have embarked on this exciting journey with a passion to share my love for mouth-watering, flavour-bomb Asian sauces with my fellow foodies here in Dubai, the UAE, the Middle East and beyond.
Ever since I was a little girl, chilli has been a prominent part of my daily life and must run in my DNA. I literally have it with every meal. I crave the capsaicin compound that makes my mouth burn! My philosophy is simple – pretty much any dish can be enhanced and improved by adding some chilli, and it can change the way you eat!
I was born in Sydney, Australia to Hong Kongese parents who emigrated there in the 1970s. With my thirst for travel, that almost matches my craving for chilli, I travelled to London as soon as I finished university, where I lived for 2 years. This gave me the opportunity to experience the diverse food offerings available both in the UK and across Europe. I then spent time travelling to various countries tasting my way across Asia, including China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand and Japan. I moved to Dubai in 2015, and it is here that I have been able to embrace the authentic, rich cultures and cuisines of the Middle East and Gulf regions. When I travel, the first thing I do is to find out where the locals eat, and that’s where my taste buds get ignited by trying all the different kinds of “street food” and local dishes. It’s one of my favourite things to do.
I moved to Dubai in a “corporate role” within the hospitality sector, which I studied and have worked in for many years. I loved the excitement and thrill of running large, corporate events, especially when catering was involved. But something was missing, I had always had this burning desire to follow my dream of pursuing a career that would revolve around my passion for food. After toying with the idea for a couple of years, I summoned up the courage and took the leap of faith. That’s when Curious Elephant was born...
Each of our products has a nostalgic story behind it, from growing up back home in the diversely cuisine-rich Sydney, to my frequent visits to my family in Hong Kong and travelling all around Asia. Each of my culinary journeys has allowed me to deepen and develop my own interpretation of sauces that best represent who I am. And now that Curious Elephant is very much alive, I want to share my soul-evolved recipes with all of the foodie elephant herds out there. I will also be sharing my favourite recipe ideas on this journey, so that you can add Curious Elephant sauces to your everyday meals – in a way that you might never have thought of before.
Why "Curious Elephant"?
Many people have commented on our distinct branding and name, and the question that usually follows is "Where does the name Curious Elephant come from?"
Before we start, and to save you sending us an email to ask, our wonderful branding is courtesy of the fantastically talented team at COOOKIE!
In 2019, we were extremely lucky to fulfil a lifelong dream of going to Tanzania and spending a week on safari. We stayed in an elevated tented camp (tents on wooden stilts) in Ruaha National Park that had no fence and so the wild animals were free to roam in - we even had Maasai warriors patrolling the camp at night to ensure our safety.
One night at around 4am, we were awoken by rustling sounds coming from outside our tent. When we opened the curtains (flaps of material!), we were faced with a fully grown African Elephant staring at us at a distance of around 2m! With his huge tusks facing us, he looked us in the eye for a few seconds, sussing us out. For a moment we feared he would charge, but seemingly convinced we were no threat, he then resumed his quest for food, his trunk searching through the dirt, grass and plants with vigour. For the next 45 minutes, we silently watched this incredible and curious behemoth go about his quest. At one point, he wrapped his trunk around the tree next to our tent and shook it with immense force, causing all of the fruits on the tree to come raining down on our tent like we were in the middle of a hail storm. This was a truly life-changing experience that we will never forget.
We learnt many inspiring things about African Elephants during our trip, and ultimately, this is where the concept of "Curious Elephant" grew from - the encounter with our very own curious elephant who showed us his acute sense of smell to find food, his curiosity to try different flavours, and, ultimately, his passion to eat!
INSPIRATIONAL ELEPHANT FACTS
Adult elephants spend about 16-18 hours a day eating grasses, small plants, bushes, fruit, twigs, tree bark, and roots. These hungry animals do not sleep much, and they roam over great distances while foraging for the large quantities of food that they require to sustain their massive bodies.
An elephant’s trunk is a very impressive multi-tool. Besides being a long nose used for smelling, breathing and trumpeting, it is also used as a hand to grab things – it is sensitive enough to pick up a blade of grass, and strong enough to rip the branches off a tree. The trunk is also used as a huge straw – elephants can suck up to 14 litres of water a time into their trunks and then blow this water into their mouths to drink.
Elephants have small eyes and poor eyesight, but they make up for this with their amazing sense of smell – the best in the whole animal kingdom! An elephant can smell water from up to 12 miles away.