As more and more Indians are adding health and hygiene to their lifestyle, it has become essential for food service providers to offer items with intact nutritional values.
By Vyom Shah
For ages, the human race has been reliant on three basic essentials: Roti, Kapda Aur Makaan (food, clothing and shelter) to lead a content life. Now imagine if you were to prioritise among all these three, which one would you go for first? Of course, food. Because without it, you will die from hunger. And isn’t being able to have food the reason behind why we work so hard?
Now that a major part of the Indian population lives out of their hometowns, mainly for higher studies and better employment opportunities, they already miss the zaika of Maa ke Haath ka Khana. In this interim, while we constantly hustle every day to earn money and lead a quality life, we cannot neglect the importance of home chefs who cater to the needs of thousands of people across the country. Even in the confinement of their kitchen, these home chefs find freedom and happiness in the face of ingredients that they can transform into a delicious dish.
Startups gearing up Independent home chefs for the new-age success
As more and more Indians are adding health and hygiene to their lifestyle, it has become essential for food service providers to offer items with intact nutritional values. This is also an opportunity for Indian home chefs to drastically improve their financial aspirations by leveraging the current needs of the food market. However, as most independent Indian home chefs are still learning about the food industry’s how-to, new-age startups have come forward to help the home chef fraternity upskill and grow. In fact, many food-centric websites are expanding their horizons by taking on the role of marketplaces for home-run brands. They are coming up with e-commerce portals that are primarily focused on promoting and selling small-batch homemade food such as cheeses, chutneys and pickles through online food delivery or food aggregator apps.
Cloud kitchens taking the world by storm
Cloud kitchens, also called virtual kitchens, dark kitchens and ghost kitchens, are the next step towards the digital revolution in the food industry. The concept has taken the ever-evolving food industry by storm and is brilliantly syncing with the new-age food and delivery-only ecosystem. In simple words, a cloud kitchen is simply a kitchen where no fancy, over-the-top physical dining-in restaurant-like infrastructure is available. Customers can place their orders via designated online food aggregator apps or the restaurant’s website. The best part about cloud kitchen infrastructure is the practical realisation that you don’t need millions to build a brick and mortar structure just to make and serve good food. These kitchens incur low operational costs and can therefore be deemed as a low-risk venture.
Though the cloud kitchen concept is entirely different from what we are used to, it is indeed a part of the new normal. As of January 2021, internet penetration in India has already touched 45%. With increasing internet penetration and the millennial and Gen Z population demanding mobile, affordable and digital solutions, cloud kitchens, aka virtual restaurants or delivery-only brands, have become a raging topic among youngsters. New-age portals and food-centric apps enable users to select, pay and get the food delivered within just a few clicks.
Continuous up-gradation is need of the hour
The growing diversification in taste and awareness about different cuisines and varying palates have made the jobs of home chefs increasingly tricky. Most home chefs go over and beyond to give that extra texture or add more flavours even to the most basic dishes, such as Masoor ki dal or Aloo Gobi. They also try to replicate complex dishes with vibrant taste and flavours using readily available ingredients at home. Maybe this is why Italian Pasta has transformed into various Desi versions and is found in every Indian household nowadays. However, this is a practice that every home chef in our country needs to adopt. Without constant evolution and improvement, people cannot hone their skills and walk steadily in this fast-paced world.
A sprinkle of social media makes a big difference!
Social media has become a part of every industry today and the same is true for the continuously evolving food industry. A few food-centric startups are using social media platforms to grow their outreach and set up a community where food enthusiasts, culinary students, professional chefs, and almost everyone can get together and talk about food. These new-age platforms provide a common denominator for food lovers to share their recipes, food-related stories along with building a network bounded by their shared love for delicious delicacies.
The growing chef market in India is far more nuanced than one can imagine. Our home chefs have just made it easier for people to entertain taste buds without harming our health. With metropolitan cities like Mumbai already becoming a home for multiple startups by home chefs, it is no surprise that an ample amount of regional cuisine is merely a few clicks away. Not only will the customers be able to taste authentic and healthy food, but they will also get that homely environment in these spaces. The time has finally come when our mothers no longer have to worry about irregular eating habits because home chefs in our country are taking care of that by serving delicious yet healthy meals to the masses.
(The author is the Founder of Foodism. Views expressed are personal and not necessarily that of Financial Express Online.)