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Contributors
Contributor Photo - Govind Dhar
Govind Dhar
Govind Dhar is an Indian food and travel writer from Dubai, now based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The former editor of Robb Report India spends his days juggling freelance assignments on festivals, arts, theatre, culture and architecture for Travel and Leisure India, Conde Nast Traveler Middle East, Mint Lounge, and Eat, Stay, Love India. As a fan of literature festivals, Govind recently pitched in to moderate author sessions at the relaunched Galle Literary Festival, and wrote about the Jaipur Literature Festival for The Sunday Times in Sri Lanka.
Contributor Photo - Stephy Chung
Stephy Chung

After 6 years in Beijing, Stephy swapped life in the mega city for the calming beaches of Lamma Island, off the coast of Hong Kong. When not chasing stories covering architecture, design, arts and fashion throughout Asia-Pacific as a producer for CNN Style, she runs marathons in Inner Mongolia, 100K races in Guizhou (China) and a half ironman in the Philippines. For this issue, she interviews Ole Scheeren’s , the architect behind Asia’s most innovative skyscraper.
Contributor Photo - Simon De Burton
Simon De Burton
Simon de Burton is a freelance journalist and author who writes about high-end cars, motorcycles, boats and watches for publications around the world. He is a contributing editor to the Financial Times ‘How To spend It’ magazine and his words regularly appear in titles such as GQ, Vanity Fair ‘On Time’ , the Daily Telegraph and The Spectator. He has been a motorcyclist all his life, (having acquired his first machine at the age of six) and, for this issue of Bespoke, tells the remarkable story of the Isle of Man TT in which machines are raced at speeds of up to 200 mph – through towns, villages and on country roads.
Contributor Photo - Kate Hazell
Kate Hazell
British by birth but now based in Dubai, Kate is a journalist who has had the good fortune of racking up interviews with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood. Her most recent conquest was an intimate chat with Nikolaj ‘Jamie Lannister’ Coster Waldau, which she confesses was a huge personal highlight. When she’s not working (or watching Game of Thrones), Kate can be found feeding her generous appetite for 1990s rom-coms and avocados.
Contributor Photo - Max Frasier
Max Frasier
Max may be a Londoner who has always lived within five kilometres of his birthplace but his work as design author has taken him everywhere. These days, you’ll find him watching the winter sun set over Lake Como; discovering that gods reside in the Scottish Highlands; realising that there’s more to the Barbican than concrete; ascending the tallest building in the world in Dubai, then the second tallest in Bucharest and cooking live prawns in rural Japan.
Contributor Photo - Danae Mercer
Danae Mercer
American-grown and England-educated Danae has roamed the world in pursuit of the shiniest stories and most interesting tales. For the last two years, Dubai’s been home but a fondness for travel -and airport lounges- has kept her bouncing everywhere from Baku to Bodrum. When not sat at a keyboard, attemtping to recount her glamorous tales, Danae enjoys failing at water sports and training for distance races.
Contributor Photo - John Defterios
John Defterios
Unlike the gold miners of the 1800s, John left his native California as a young man and remains on a journey East with stops in New York, London, Rome and now Abu Dhabi. For CNN, he scours emerging markets for personalities that reflect today’s growth. At home, he dotes on his daughters, his Roman wife and cooks up dishes for the ‘Best of the Mediterranean’ supper club he co-founded.
Contributor Photo - Esther Barney
Esther Barney
Growing up in landlocked Cambridgeshire and setting a record for placing last at her school’s swimming galas, Esther’s love of the water was as much a surprise to her as anyone else. A serendipitous post-graduation leap into yachting journalism got her hooked, however and now she gets her fixes in the Caribbean and the French Riviera whenever possible.
Contributor Photo - Kevin Hackett
Kevin Hackett
Kevin has been into anything with four wheels since he was eight years old and his father bought a ropey Triumph TR6 to use as the family car. Squashing onto the rear parcel shelf between his two younger brothers wasn’t the safest way to travel, but an obsession was born. Now based in Abu Dhabi, Kevin makes a living by trotting the globe to test the world’s most exciting automobiles by day and moonlighting as a culture and travel writer by night.
Contributor Photo - Alex Ritman
Alex Ritman
Slipping ice cubes down the back of the t-shirt of fear, Alex has engaged in a number of fearless escapades in his hunt for journalistic thrills and adventures over the past few years. Sleeping aboard a US aircraft carrier, attempting to track down a grumpy Omar Sharif in Cairo and even spending 10 minutes in a room with Paris Hilton.
Contributor Photo - Lisa Travell
Lisa Travell
When she’s not busy writing, Lisa is a shopaholic who can be found browsing Qatar’s malls in pursuit of the latest Louboutins. She writes regularly for several magazines but particularly relishes the role of restaurant reviewer where she’s “forced” to indulge her chocolate cravings. In her spare time, she runs (not in her Louboutins) to ensure her culinary passions aren’t too figure-forming.
Contributor Photo - Sarah Maisey
Sarah Maisey
A Londoner by birth, Sarah moved to Dubai almost a decade ago for fame, fortune, and better shoes. After a stint as the shopping editor at Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, she’s now a freelance fashion stylist and writer, contributing to leading titles including The National, M Magazine, Esquire, and Emirates Woman.
Contributor Photo - Michael Karam
Michael Karam
Michael Karam writes about Lebanese affairs as well as food and wine. His first book Wines of Lebanon (Saqi), won the Gourmand Award for the Best New World Wine Book, 2005, and his follow up, Arak and Mezze: The Taste of Lebanon (Saqi), was shortlisted for the Gourmand award for Best Food and Travel Book 2007. The second edition of Michael Karam’s Lebanese Wines: An independent guide (Turning Point) was published in February. He lives in Beirut with his wife and two children.
Contributor Photo - Daniel Barney
Daniel Barney
After jumping the border from the U.S. into Canada, crossing the Atlantic and riding the rails into Switzerland, landing in Lebanon and making a brief detour in Argentina, Daniel Barney is making an honest effort to settle in France as a writer and photographer. With a recent Masters in Visual Arts, he’s interested in all things related to contemporary art, architecture and design.
Contributor Photo - Becky Lucas
Becky Lucas
After seven years in Dubai where she was editor of Time Out magazine, Becky has recently relocated back home to London and is discovering a new appreciation for wind-proof, transparent umbrellas and rainproof coat hoods. Her more glamorous passions include unusual cultural trends, travel, film and attempting to ski.
Contributor Photo - Sara White Wilson
Sara White Wilson
It was with naiveté that Sara moved to Paris. Her goal? To find the luxury goods Zeitgeist as well as an analysis as to why people spend so irrationally on luxury. The result? The city has allowed to her to make a living writing about its craftsmanship traditions and haute jewellery/couture. She still doesn’t have an answer to her question but when she’s not a hired scribe, she’s developing a thesis on the modern dandy.
Contributor Photo - Christopher Al-Omary Fiorello
Christopher Al-Omary Fiorello
Yemeni-Italian by blood and American by birth, Christopher is a former sociologist and current writer of all things cultural. He studied Arab migration patterns in urban metropolises by spending his days working at Yemeni-owned off-licences in the US. Now in Beirut, he works for a startup data visualisation firm and grumbles about the humidity.
Contributor Photo - Dawn Gay
Dawn Gay
When she’s not at her desk in the sleepy village of Ingatestone with her head buried in travel, politics or culture, Dawn can be found doing dressage in the Essex countryside. With a Masters in radio journalism, she started as a stringer filing stories from South East Asia before returning to the UK for stints at the BBC and Discovery.
Contributor Photo - Ken Kessler
Ken Kessler
Unimpressed by the 21st century, America-born but England-based writer Ken enjoys expensive, if slightly retro boys’ toys, including long-play records, original film cameras, mechanical watches and fountain pens. Ken has written four books on luxury hi-fi equipment and collects chronographs, detective novels and scale model Bugattis.
Contributor Photo - Damien Reid
Damien Reid
The seed to be a motoring journalist was planted at 14, when Damien knocked on every possible car magazine’s door in his hometown of Sydney, pleading for work experience to stay out of school. Barely able to see over the wheel, he was road-testing a new car while his peers were in class. At 19, the youngest-ever motoring editor of a national newspaper, he’s just as passionate about his subject 30 years later.
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