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Lunch at the first-ever Bitten Conference. February 2015.

Two years ago, I started a company—Bitten, which positions food as a pillar of pop culture and hosts events (most notably a conference) that look at the space through the lens of technology, creativity and trends. I didn’t have a sense of where this company would go in the next year, let alone five. I didn’t have a business plan or even an LLC. But, I saw a tiny spark of an idea in the distance and I committed to walk towards it.

Now, before you go any further, you should know that I’m not the founder of a unicorn or a multi-million dollar company. This isn’t an essay about THAT kind of magic. I have no investors or full-time employees. I’m not on any 30 under 30 lists and my chances of being recognized as a 40 under 40 are evaporating fast! …

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Rachel Comey Jumpsuit dressed down with white Vans and Hillary pin accessory. It’s an understatement to say I agonized over what to wear. What exactly did “casual” mean at the White House?

Yesterday, I stood on the south lawn of the White House, taking in the view. As the founder of Bitten, I had been invited to South by South Lawn (an ideas festival) as part of small group selected from some 24,000 nominees. It was an unexpected, delightful surprise and an honor (I imagine for anyone, but particularly for me, an Iranian immigrant).

So, let me tell you what it’s like for this immigrant to be invited to the White House — to Obama’s White House.

My friend Homa asked, “Do they know you’re Iranian?”

My mother was ecstatic. “Get a picture with the President,” she said. …


Naz Riahi

Writer and Founder of Bitten (@thisisbitten @nazriahi)

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