Working from home

Home chefs

Not everyone is lucky like Begum Abida Rasheed who managed to create a business model out of hobby, or simply put, for the love of preserving traditional Malabari cuisines.

The Kozhikode-based chef runs a small catering business and operates from her kitchen only, and takes selective orders so that she can deliver “quality” food. But not everyone is as lucky as her, especially in a world where talent often gets crushed for lack of marketing skills, financing issues or infrastructural problems.

But the free digital space has become a playground for innovation and burgeoning food industry is throwing in all creative juices to fill crevasses that have been ignored before. Delhi-based Sangeeta Roy Ghosh would have never imagined that the online space would give her a platform to nurture her hobby and translate it into a flexible profession. The interior designer by profession moved to Delhi after marriage. She took to cooking because of personal liking and also to kill boredom. The experimentation in food led to appreciation and she started posting recipes on her personal blog  sangeetascookingmantra.blogspot.in.

And last year, she joined foodcloud.in, a startup aiming to connect authentic home cooked food to people, and now she takes party as well as general orders. “The online space has really helped me reach out to people although I was new to Delhi and hardly knew anyone here. I can run my business right from home and in a flexible way,” she says.

“You can target local clients, market your products, talk to them, show them your work online, without even meeting them and receive orders. It becomes easier for both the parties and saves us a lot of time and hassle,” she adds.

Brainchild of Vedant Kanoi and Shamit Khemka, foodcloud.in was based on the core philosophy of discovering the hidden talent in Indian kitchens and empower women who are excellent cooks but didn’t have a direction to turn their passion into profession.

When they began their journey a few years ago, the biggest challenge they faced was to get home chefs on board. But as the idea clicked among people, they now have around 300 registered home chefs. “We follow a strict selection review process. Those who join us, we visit their homes and have a tasting session and then we sign a contract with them,” Kanoi tells Metrolife.

“We encourage them to register with Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and follow the norms they have set up,” he adds.

The portal connects the customers directly with home chefs and they can place an order depending on their cuisine preference. One can choose from a variety of options that cover the length and breadth of India and the world. Starting from Awadhi, Goan, Parsi, Bihari or Kashmiri cuisine to American, Greek, Austrian or Korean cuisines – the list is sumptuously endless.

“One of our chefs is from Goa and she cooks authentic Goan cuisine. So its natives who are cooking and serving and hence the food is authentic in taste,” he adds.

Since the cooks are authentic and cook in their personal space, Kanoi feels that “people outside of commercial kitchen are more mindful.”

“Also, this being a primary or secondary source of income at home, we are aiming to have 10,000 home chefs on board with us in near future,” he says.

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