Community dining finds more takers 

Community dining finds more takers 

City home chefs are opening their houses to strangers as a way to build a community of food lovers and popularise cuisines

When chef Asma Khan moved to London in 1991, she didn’t know how to cook. Her aunt taught her and she continued learning when she came to visit her hometown in Kolkata. When she went back, she missed the community dining concept so much that she started hosting private supper clubs at home. 

This inspired her to have pop-ups at restaurants. Her concept of home supper clubs became so popular that eventually she started her own restaurant in London called ‘Darjeeling Express’. Her employees are the women who attended these dinners. Her motive of hosting these meals was to spread joy through food and introduce new dishes and cuisines to people.

While this may be the case with an NRI, Bengaluru too, sees many home chefs opening their homes to strangers to introduce new dishes and cuisines.

A slice of home 

Home chef Lichibeni Kikon used to regularly host guests at home seven years ago. All the organising was done through the app ‘Door No’. Hailing from Nagaland, Lichi wanted to bring a piece of home to Bengaluru and serve it to her guests. 

She says, “Though I don’t do these lunches and dinners anymore, it was a lot of fun. I would churn out nine-course meals and prepare the food just like we do back home.” 

She explains that the food includes lots of greens, smoked meats and roasting; it’s the technique of making these dishes that brings out the flavour. 

“My mother would ship the ingredients that aren’t easily available here, like ghost chilli pepper (bhut jolokia), sun-dried leaves and bamboo shoot,” says Lichi. 

She liked that the app allowed her to choose the guests — the host can accept or reject if they aren’t happy with the guests’ profile. The host also gets to choose the number of guests. 

Share stories and experiences

The advantage of community dining is that you get to meet new people and share your food journey. It becomes a place where like-minded people bond over food at a stranger’s home. 

‘Conosh’ is a startup that gives home chefs a platform to showcase their food. Since they started in April, the team has organised about 30 lunches and dinners so far. 

Anshumala and Vaibhav Bahl from ‘Conosh’ told Metrolife that every home chef and food is screened by the team. They also give the chefs feedback. 

“As apartments grow taller and communities become smaller, we no longer go to our neighbours’ homes when we smell something delicious. So when strangers open up their homes, these stories come alive again,” says Anshumala. 

“When a guest signs up on ‘Conoch’, we do a thorough background check on social media,” says Vaibhav. 

Depending on how big or small one’s apartment is, the guests vary from 20 to 25 in number. Most of the time, it’s the host who decides what food they want to serve.  

Theme-based meals

‘KukClean’, an invite-only Facebook group, has opted for a healthy eating initiative.

The team has had two open houses in Bengaluru so far. The only rule of serving is that it needs to be a plant-based diet. 

Founder Kirti Yadav says, “The guests get to learn new recipes and try them at home afterwards. Everyone shares their experiences and stories regarding the dishes and cuisines made. ” 

Profitable initiative

Community dining also allows home chefs to make a profit. The host can earn up to Rs 6,000 to Rs 7,000 in a day per lunch/dinner. 

To participate 

- You can follow Conosh on Facebook and Instagram (@conoshofficial) or message them on WhatsApp 93536 59881.

- As KukClean is a closed group on Facebook, you have to send a request and wait to be accepted.