Reena Ranger, Chair of Women Empowered, is In Conversation with Shalina Tobin as part of her regular series for ‘iGlobal’ to explore some inspirational facets from the life and achievements of prominent Global Indians.
Shalina Tobin has excelled in the field of fashion photography as well as interior design. Having held landmark photography exhibitions in New York and London, raising significant funds for charities, the innovative designer has been recognised with industry awards for her ability to design interiors that are both practical and contemporary. Shalina continues to be active with charitable endeavours and has combined her creative skills to focus on supporting the hospitality industry and her main passion of mental health charities.
From food lover to launching your series interviewing chefs, please take us on your journey.
I was born into hospitality. My father was a hotelier and food and entertaining was a big part of our lives as far back as I can remember. Going to restaurants represented bonding time in my family and I’ve always had the association of happiness and food.
In the summer of 2019, friends had suggested I share my dining experiences on social media, which I eventually did but I wanted it to be so much more than that. The idea of bringing my love for food and philanthropy together was a very natural path for me and whilst I was bubbling away with interesting ideas to inspire whilst raising money for charity, the pandemic was fast making its way to the UK. As social interaction was no longer an option, I decided to use the time to build my relationships with chefs and try to promote and help the industry as much as I could.
I started sharing the interviews on social media in an attempt to educate others on the chefs and restaurateurs behind the food we so love to eat and the places we love to frequent.
My platform @poshnoshgal is not only to influence people on where to dine but also tell the stories of the wonderful people that make the hospitality industry what it is today.
The stories are full of courage, resilience, passion, hard work & pure love for what they do. When you know the story of a chef, their food embodies their persona, which for me takes a dining experience to another level. You not only taste the, food but you understand it too, which ultimately brings a completely different dining experience and perspective.
Ultimately my support of the restaurant industry in these tough times will convert into support for my other charitable objectives, but more of that in the future.
If you could have dinner with four people, past or present, who would they be and where/what would you eat?
Who: My dad, whom I miss and have much to share with. I have changed and learnt so much I want to share with him over the last decade since he passed.
My husband Michael, whom I am incomplete without.
Auguste Escoffier because he revolutionised what we now see as fine dining. He was the first person to bring in options, in the form of a la carte, to restaurants, and whose guide is still, 100 years later, the go-to reference of almost every Michelin chef in the world.
Farrokh Bulsara a.k.a. Freddie Mercury because he is a classic example of unbelievable talent driving through adversity to stardom. Imagine the challenges both mental and physical. Who knows, he even might treat us to some amazing vocals to some of the most iconic songs ever sung! I would love to her about his challenges and how he got the inspiration to carry on.
Where: My home – there is nowhere I feel more comfortable. BUT… I call in the chef! And the chef has to be a combo between Adam Handling and Pascal Aussingnac.
Menu: Oysters from Rules Restaurant for my dad has to be on the menu. It was his favourite restaurant and his favourite starter.
Lobster a la Scotts on Mount Street
Duck made like they do it at Davies and Brook at Claridges
Eton Mess for dessert – classic
What has been the lesson you have learned during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown?
The lesson I have learned is that you can always find beauty in the struggle. We’ve been given the gift of time and if used wisely, we can reflect on ourselves and better improve our skills, thoughts and emotions. I have struggled with dyslexia all my life, I suffered from anxiety as well as low self-esteem and confidence issues.
During the lockdown I have found ways to help cope with this by constantly pushing my boundaries and by asking others to assist where needed on that journey. The world needs to feel ok about reaching out for help at times.
What is the one lesson or words of wisdom that you try to live your life by, which you would recommend to the next generation?
Have a vision. Be brave. Why is failure a problem? Failure is simply the lesson of how not to succeed. In our house there is no failure. No mistake… it’s simply learning. YOU SUCCEED, OR YOU LEARN.
is the Chair and Co-Founder of . In this exclusive “” series for ‘iGlobal’, the dynamic entrepreneur-philanthropist will be catching up with high-achieving Global Indians across different fields to spotlight some insightful life lessons.