This couple quit their corporate jobs to eat their way around the world -- here's how they find the best local spots

Street food bangkok thailandCourtesy Authentic Food QuestRosemary Kimani (left) and Claire Rouger of Authentic Food Quest.

The INSIDER Summary:

• Rosemary Kimani and Claire Rouger quit their jobs to explore the world through food.
• They go to farmers’ markets, talk to local chefs, and ask residents where to find the best dishes.
• Their new full time gig is a blog that aims to show others how to make the most of their own wanderings.

Rosemary Kimani and Claire Rouger are on a mission.

Through their blog, Authentic Food Quest, and their first book, which guides foodies through local fare in Argentina, they hope to inspire others to set out and experience the endless flavours the world has to offer.

Kimani, who moved to the US from Kenya in 1992, used to work in advertising. Rouger, originally from France, holds both an M.S. in mechanical engineering and an MBA. The couple met in Chicago in 2008, and their shared love of food and travel led them to quit their jobs in order to dedicate themselves to showing others how to make the most of their own wanderings.

So far, they have been to 32 countries and counting.

“When most people travel, it’s usually a moment in time, and they may not go back to that destination,” Kimani told INSIDER. “So when you’re there, the idea is to learn as much, absorb as much, go as deep as you can and really soak up that experience to the maximum. Food gives you a window to do that.”

They also see food as a universal language that bridges cultural differences.

“In places where language can be seen as a barrier, everyone needs to eat,” Rouger said. “Food is a way to break that barrier… and be able to share a moment around the food and open oneself to different experiences. It’s really a way to connect with people.”

The key to finding the best food and the most meaningful connections is thinking like a local.
Kimani and Rouger have a few different strategies:

  • Do lots of research before arriving at a destination, and ask people who have been there about where to find the tastiest eats.
  • Stay with locals and share in their day-to-day lives to learn their favourite spots.
  • Visit farmers’ markets and local grocery stores, and talk to vendors there about what’s in season.
  • Meet local chefs and food critics to immerse yourself in the local food culture.
  • Look around to see what seems to be on everyone’s plates.
Rodolfo GuzmánAuthentic Food Quest/FacebookWith Chef Rodolfo Guzmán in Chile, who won the 2015 Chef’s Choice Award.

One of their favourite destinations so far has been Vietnam, where they noticed that the taste of pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup, varied depending on where in the country they were.

“From the northern side to the southern side they make it differently, with very different herbs and different spices,” said Rouger.

As partners in work and life, Rouger handles the photography while Kimani does most of the writing. They both work on videos and social media.

“Rosemary and I have complementary skills, so we had talked about working together for a while,” said Rouger.

“We moved from working individual jobs… to being together 24/7, and it’s actually a lot of fun,” Kimani said. “It’s been great sharing and discovering at the same time.”

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