If you’ve been aimlessly scrolling through TikTok, and your main feed serves up food videos, you’ve likely feasted your eyes on the greatness that is The Golden Balance.
Flint native Ahmad Alzahabi is the man behind the foodie paradise TikTok page, which features him cooking up some classic -- and not-so-classic -- takes on dishes from all sorts of cultures and genres, as long as the food is properly seasoned, of course.
Alzahabi has amassed a huge social media following on various platforms, but TikTok is his bread and butter, with nearly six million followers. He didn’t see it coming.
“I was pleasantly surprised that people could relate to such modest recipes and I never knew documenting my journey would amass the attention and praise that it has,” Alzahabi told ClickOnDetroit. But the cooking thing wasn’t a new project for him -- it’s in his blood.
“I started cooking at an early age, and I was truly inspired by my mother and how she would execute dinner parties with such an amazing spread of food. I was never into watching TV at a young age, but if I did, I was always tuning into the Food Network.”
The name, The Golden Balance, comes from two things. First, the name Alzahabi literally translates to “golden” in Arabic. And the balance part comes from what Ahmad describes as a struggle for balance in his life in his relationship with food and exercise.
@thegoldenbalance Grinder Sandwich 😈 IB: @Gray #thegoldenbalance #easyrecipes #grindersalad ♬ Hip Hop with impressive piano sound(793766) - Dusty Sky
Alzahabi’s Arab-American background helped inspire his cooking approach and has proven some doubters wrong.
“My identity, unintentionally, spoke volumes to many because it came so naturally to me,” Alzahabi said. “I am unapologetically myself and didn’t think about it much until I received such positive feedback for saying “Now Bismillah” at the end of each recipe. “Bismillah” means in the name of God, and as an Arab American Muslim, many felt that could be a deterrent for many audiences, and oh boy, were they wrong.”
@thegoldenbalance My Mom’s Hummus Recipe 😈 #thegoldenbalance ♬ Hip Hop with impressive piano sound(793766) - Dusty Sky
On TikTok, The Golden Balance has accumulated more than 140 million likes from fans -- and that’s probably growing as I’m writing this right now. The audience can be daunting for some, but Alzahabi says he enjoys it.
“The feedback from my fans is great. My account grew organically at a nice steady rate, this allowed me to really engage my audiences and build a community that continues to support me and provide me the necessary feedback for my growth.”
“Being a content creator isn’t easy because the internet can be ruthless, but I roll with the punches and have positioned myself in a way where I can ignore the negativity because I make food and nothing more. If that upsets people, which it does sometimes, I can only pray that God blesses them with seasoned food.”
Alzahabi says it usually takes about four hours on average to create one of his videos, not including the time he spends engaging with fans across TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, where he has an additional two million followers.
@thegoldenbalance Chicken Wings And French Fries For Weight Loss 🤌🏽😈 #thegoldenbalance ♬ Hip Hop with impressive piano sound(793766) - Dusty Sky