In a recent interview, we met up with Olga Kearley, the owner and organizer of The Big Meet, and Yashwi Tripathi, the owner and CEO behind restaurants such as Himalaya, Samsara, Balu, and I ne tilki.

Join us as we explore the excitement and insights they shared about the upcoming event, scheduled for Jan. 26, promising to be a night to remember. More details here.

So, Olga, looking back at 2023, can you share some highlights from how The Big Meet wrapped up the year? Any memorable moments or achievements that stood out, and perhaps a glimpse into the impact on the community? We’re also curious about any numbers or milestones worth celebrating!

As the number one networking event in Kyiv, The Big Meet concluded 2023 on a high note! We organized 11 events that brought together over 1,000 amazing individuals—both expats and locals.

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Now, considering the backdrop of the ongoing war, the resilience of our community truly shone through. We collectively channeled over Hr.130,000 ($3,500) toward various charities, making a real impact where it mattered most.

These events weren’t just about networking; they were about creating connections that matter. The vibe at each event mirrored Kyiv’s spirit—diverse and dynamic.

As we reflect on the numbers and milestones, it’s not just about stats. It's about the genuine efforts and enthusiasm of our community. 2023 was a year we can all be proud of, not just for hosting events, but for making a positive difference to the lives of those navigating tough times. Looking ahead, we're thrilled to persist in our mission of maintaining the top spot for networking in Kyiv.

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Olga, we’re eager to know about the next Big Meet event! Can you give us a sneak peek into what attendees can look forward to?

Absolutely! The next Big Meet is just around the corner, and we’re thrilled to host it at the heart of Kyiv’s culinary landscape – the iconic Himalaya restaurant.

Of course, in keeping with our tradition, a percentage of each entry fee will be dedicated to a charitable cause, ensuring that The Big Meet continues to make a positive impact on the community.

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And here’s a little teaser – we start 2024 with an exciting new partner, but it’s a secret for now!

All we can say is that it’s a big one, proudly Ukrainian, and the upcoming lottery draws promise to be nothing short of impressive.

So, for the upcoming evening, we have a fresh venue, new partners, and an array of incredible culinary delights. But questions about the culinary journey at Himalaya, we’ll pass on to Yashwi, the owner, and CEO of Himalaya.

Well, I’m certainly intrigued – looking forward to joining the Big Meet for the Big Reveal!

Okay, Yashwi, Himalaya has been a culinary institution in Kyiv since 1997, how do you keep the restaurant’s offerings fresh and appealing to a diverse clientele over the years?

It is a difficult path indeed, but in our strategy, we have focused on providing traditional Indian cuisine, the most authentic way possible. Our menu hasn’t changed much over the years, but we do our best to provide the best quality food, as well as keep family traditions as years go by.

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In light of the challenges posed by the war in Ukraine, can you share how it has affected your restaurants in Kyiv and how you’ve navigated these difficulties?

The situation has definitely affected us drastically, as most of our guests were expats and foreigners, and most of them choose not to be in Ukraine at the moment.

We had to activate our marketing department to its full potential to update our clientele in a short period of time to stay afloat. As of now, I can say that we have succeeded in this task and adapted to the situation in fullest.

Also, we organize a variety of events: stand up comedies, poetic evenings, charity auctions, etc., to donate to Armed Forces of Ukraine and related organizations.

The next Big Meet is taking place at Himalaya. Yashwi, what are your expectations for this upcoming event? What experiences do you hope attendees will take away from this particular gathering?

Himalaya has long been a favored gathering spot for the expat community, offering a unique taste of authentic Indian cuisine—a rare find in these parts. This time, as we prepare for The Big Meet, our expectations remain grounded in providing a warm and inviting space for the expat community to connect.

The collaboration with The Big Meet holds special significance for us, as we anticipate a diverse and vibrant crowd that the event typically attracts. We’re thrilled at the prospect of introducing our Indian culinary offerings to an even wider audience.

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Our aim is straightforward: to ensure each guest not only enjoys the event but also leaves with a newfound appreciation for the vibrant flavors of India.

We're thankful to The Big Meet for bringing together such a dynamic crowd, and we look forward to sharing the warmth of Himalaya’s hospitality and the magic of our Indian cuisine with all attendees.

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