The foodie community in Doha is a vibrant group of locals, expats, and residents of Qatar that share their love for food. A Facebook group called Doha Foodies has been an active virtual space where the people of Qatar share their thoughts on restaurants, new food to try, hidden gems, and more.
Terry Booth is an active member of Doha Foodies that turned his passion for food and writing reviews into a book titled Qatar Bite by Bite.
The ILoveQatar.net (ILQ) team caught up with Terry to discover his journey of turning his food reviews into a published book called "Qatar Bite by Bite - A Lighthearted Food Lover's Guide By Terry Booth Featuring Arnold Mathias", which showcases Qatar's culinary spots.
Terry Booth is a Chemical Engineer by profession who has been in Doha since 2019. He shares that 2 years ago, he joined the popular Facebook group Doha Foodies.
He used to write reviews on TripAdvisor and started chipping in the comments on the Doha Foodies Facebook group. Eventually, he began writing reviews of restaurants and cafes he'd tried around Doha, becoming a regular commenter on the group.
Terry shares that he writes his reviews honestly and tries to write them in an interesting way, sometimes even adding a theme to them. An example he shares is his review of Afghan Brothers Restaurant during the World Cup and how he incorporated Messi as the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) and linked references to the goat meat used in the dishes.
His writing style always has references, clever remarks, and anecdotes that readers love.
Through the Doha Foodies group, Terry met Arnold Mathias, another expat in Qatar who used to post about home cooking supported by beautiful photography.
"I sent him a message and said, people seem to like my writing, people seem to like your photos, why don't we meet up and see if we can do something together?", he shares.
They met at Farzi Cafe and did their first collaboration, Terry writing about the food and Arnold providing the photos. It became a popular post on the Doha Foodies group that gained much traction, eventually inviting them to events.
This also blossomed into the Doha Food Project, where Terry and Arnold organized Tasting Tours, inviting members of the Doha Foodies community to join them on food crawls across popular eateries in Qatar. The Tasting Tours became a regular event where food lovers could meet, connect, and enjoy delicious food.
“It's been really really fun and it's introduced me to a totally different world and genre of people. I now know general managers in the F&B business and hotels, I’m now friends with chefs, people I wouldn’t have met if I didn’t go through this path”, Terry shares.
Terry shares that about a year ago, he was thinking of all the reviews he's done on the many restaurants and cafes all over Qatar and considered compiling them into a book. He had the help of a friend, Cliona Cassidy, to gather all the content he posted on Doha Foodies and compile them, amounting to 600 pages at the time.
However, as he was a food blogger, he thought of seeking help with adding structure to his writing and 'de-bloggify' them. Through connections, he was introduced to a local English writing group where he met Greig Parker, who offered to help with the editing and proofreading.
Next, he needed a graphic designer to help with the layout and design. He reached out to a graphic designer he met at one of the food events, Maricris, who eventually became the Design and Layout Advisor for the book. She also handled the printing quality, paper type, fonts, and overall design.
Terry shares that in the early days, he and Arnold were looking through Instagram for inspiration for the cover. Arnold saw a design by one of his friends of a map of Qatar with standalone graphics of Qatar's famous icons and landmarks. They then thought of drawing inspiration from this design and making it into a foodie version where the map of Qatar was also dotted with images of food. Maricris started working on the cover with that vision in mind.
For the title, they brainstormed and shortlisted 3 titles, but they thought of getting help from the community in deciding which one to choose. During an event where a restaurant invited them to try a new menu with a group of 10-12, Terry and Arnold presented the shortlisted titles and asked the attendees for their votes. Qatar Bite by Bite was the popular choice!
With the content, cover, and title decided, Terry was close to publishing.
The creation of this book has been a great feat for Terry, who would not have been able to do it without the help of those who worked on the design, editing, layout, and more. However, just having a completed book wasn't the end of the journey - he still needed approvals for publishing.
Luckily, during a networking event, he met Eliane Jkayem, a creative writer who has worked in the industry in Qatar for over a decade and kindly offered to proofread the draft and help suggest revisions.
After editing the book, Terry finally got the long-awaited approval for publishing.
It was finally time to celebrate the official publishing of Qatar Bite by Bite, where Terry invited community members to a special launch at Hyatt Regency Oryx Doha on 6 February 2023. Terry spoke about his journey at the event and how a handful of people played a significant part in the book's successful publishing.
Terry continues to write about restaurants and cafes online, host food events, and says that more is to come soon from him, so stay tuned!
Qatar Bite by Bite is available on Amazon and Kindle. Terry is currently working on having it available for sale in local shops in Qatar and will update us with more details soon!
Have you seen any of Terry Booth's food reviews before? Are you excited to read his book? Let us know in the comments! Do share this article - it keeps us going!
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