Computer programmer to superstar home chef, meet Kalpana Talpade
Mumbai-based Kalpana Talpade left her full-fledged job to become a home chef. She started a Pop-Up Kitchen from her residence where she hosts guests to home-cooked meals. Talpade gained popularity through her YouTube channel Kalpana’s Kitchen.
Going Public with Kalpana’s Kitchen
“My mother used to be called as a judge for cooking competitions. And, I learnt cooking from her. Initially, I was busy with my job and the travelling took much of my time, I did not give cooking much attention,” says Talpade.
So how did it happen?
Computer programmer to superstar home chef, here’s the story of Kalpana Talpade
“It was when my daughter — who was studying in the Netherlands — came home. She complained that our Pathare Prabhu cuisine was not online. She shot some videos for personal use. When she started cooking after following my videos, her friends asked her to share my videos. We had uploaded the videos on YouTube and they got instant appreciation. So, we went public and Kalpana’s Kitchen channel was born!”
“I worked for NOCIL for 23 years. I had joined as a steno-typist. Through the years, I had risen to the rank of computer programmer before I decided to opt for VRS,” says Talpade.
Started YouTube Channel six years ago
“I had started my channel, Kalpana’s Kitchen, on YouTube six years ago. Four years ago, I participated in Masterchef India and people started to recognize me,” says Talpade.
She started the Pop-Up Kitchen two years ago where she hosts Pathare Prabhu Thali Events. Each batch consists of around 12 guests.
“Initially, my husband felt I was wasting time taking photos of the food I had cooked,”- Talpade
Being Home Chef Is: Targeting the Right Audience
“I belong to a small Maharashtrian community called Pathare Prabhus. We are among the initial settlers in Mumbai. Our cuisine is different from others in the state. There are no restaurants in Mumbai which serve this cuisine. Our cooking style and method is unique. So, I wanted to popularize our recipes,” says the passionate chef.
“Cooking should not be seen as a task but a fun and important part of day-to-day living”
Challenges Along the Way
The biggest challenge is conducting workshops and cook and explain at the same time, says Talpade.
Cooking as a Liberated Profession for Women
I have seen and met women who are running their homes by cooking. More and more women are picking up cooking as their profession without any resistance from their families.
Women will have to take the responsibility of changing the mindset. They must make it compulsory for both daughters and sons to learn cooking. My son and daughter were both encouraged to learn cooking and help me in the kitchen whenever possible. Cooking is a great stress reliever.
A Regular Day At Kalpana’s Kitchen
My day starts with morning walks. I prepare breakfast, then I pack lunch for my daughter and cook for the family. My videos are uploaded every Tuesday and Friday. So I cook, shoot, edit, and upload my videos. In my spare time, I knit, stitch, paint and read. In the evenings, I prepare dinner for my family and watch TV.
Expanding The Business
I prepare Pathare Prabhu Sambhar Masala myself (my mom’s recipe). I also share this masala with my relatives and friends. There are regular buyers from US, Australia, Singapore and the Middle East.
Talpade organize Pop-Up Meals once a month. The event is called Pathare Prabhu Thali Event and is hosted on the first Sunday of every month
Most Popular Dishes
Most popular dishes are Chimbori che Khadkhadle (crabs cooked in spicy garlic gravy), Sarangya che Bhuzana (Pomfret fish curry). Kobiche Bhanavla is a baked dish with cabbage/cauliflower and fresh shrimps/prawns also find many takers. “It has even made to an airline’s Indian Cookbook,” Talpade says with pride.