The boom in food delivery apps business in India has been a game changer for home chefs. Today, being a home chef is a growing business opportunity, catering to the millennials’ need for ‘ghar ka khana’. These are home delivered via apps as well as private pop-ups for regional cuisine, custom curated sit-down meals and catering events.

India’s rapidly growing food technology space has provided an opportunity to many women who are working from their own kitchens. They cater to the growing demand for regional cuisine, healthy food, organic meals, customized vegan or gluten-free meals, etc. SheThePeople.TV is kick-starting its latest home chef series — ChefsAtHome, which traces the trajectory of their finger-licking journeys. Join us to know how home chefs are spearheading a new revolution from their kitchens.

But before we bring you some of the country’s finest chefs, let’s discuss why home chefs are a great opportunity for women.

A recent study by the International Labour Organisation in South East Asia says, “A significant proportion of women usually engaged  in domestic duties in India reported willingness to accept work if it were made available at their household premises.”

Why It’s A Great Idea

  • Being a home chef is itself empowering. One could have total control over inventing something new in the kitchen. For those who are not eager to work under someone, all you need is to grab the chef’s hat and start up. So, the old saying fits here perfectly – my kitchen, my rules!
  • Students/tourists from all over the world long to taste India’s famous regional dishes. And, home-style authentic food is what they want. It could be a gastronomically pleasing route to a deeper connection worldwide. Hence, the food market grows.
  • Between sumptuous food and friendly banter, home cooks are socialising on social media and online delivery platforms. The digital space is helping them grow the business.

Becoming foodpreneur is easy but for the business to grow, one needs to experiment with dishes to make it non-stereotypical

How Do Women Start?

Going online: Mumbai-based Kalpana Talpade left her full-fledged job to become a home chef and started up Pop Up Kitchen from her residence. It’s been six years since she has started channel Kalpana’s Kitchen on YouTube. And, how did she start? “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!”

READ: Catering to your sweet tooth: India’s Best Pastry Chefs

Thinking out-of-the-box: “I had started this concept at that point of time when there were no home chefs and all believed in dining in hotels and restaurants. Today, many other women in the city have started this business. I feel very happy to know that they have become successful entrepreneurs,” says Deepika Kamnani, founder of Leela’s Kitchen. Deepika serves authentic Jain food or true blue north Indian cuisine in Thiruvananthapuram, capital of Kerala.

Numbers Don’t Lie

The home chef business is new and trendy. It is pegged at a whopping ₹2,47,680 crore by the National Restaurant Association of India. It is projected to grow at 11 per cent to reach ₹4,08,040 crore by 2018, The Hindu Businessline reported.

Also Read: All-Women Eatery In Udupi A Hit With Foodies

What Does It Mean for Entrepreneurship?

Studies say “home chefs are cooking their way to riches, making between 50-60% of every transaction on websites that offer home-cooked food”.

Besides moolah, does this space offer satisfying growth to entrepreneurs? Reetha Balsavar, Home Chef and Founder of Tossed and Dressed,  says it is a win-win industry for people who need a second chance in life. She said, “For me, it was a post-retirement plan that helped me know more about the organic culture in the field. And for the rest, my work experience speaks for itself.”

For Najma Abdulla, Founder of Mamma’s Kitchen, being home chef means going break-free. Coming from a conservative family, she faced societal restrictions in every step. Now based in Bangalore, the food entrepreneur says, “I have always been passionate about cooking. I wanted to take care of my home and children, while also wanting to have an income of my own. Becoming a home chef felt like the right way to combine both wishes.”

On the other hand, for Nidhi Mer, Founder of Flavors of Nidhi, coming from a different culture, married into another culture and staying far from family with a kid, starting out from her own kitchen seemed the right option. “When my daughter was 3 and going to nursery, I had enough time to spent or look out for other opportunities for me. I wanted to explore the entrepreneurial adventure without stepping out of the house. I also wanted to stay close to my kid. During these times, one of my cousins introduced me to PinStove which was perfect suit for me. I registered as HomeChef and have never looked back.”

READ: Love, Sugar & Dough: Meet 5 Moms-Turned-Homebakers

Read More Stories By Ria Das

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