A culinary overhaul with right approach
Every calamity has a silver lining—a moment for introspection to think about how to make a better world in the new tomorrow. For food and its business, that moment is now. Chefs, restaurateurs and diners like you and I, must all make a course correction, and explore newer ways of dishing out and eating better quality food.
One bright spot that we are seeing is the emergence of small businesses catering to the gap for high quality food. Home cooks and niche start-ups are cooking up a storm with long-forgotten Avadhi recipes, desserts in jars, butter chicken or momo variations and sourdough breads that have become a national obsession this year. This kind of food was not available to us easily off retail shelves or in restaurants before the pandemic.
Most of us, for instance, were quite happy to eat packaged “double roti” (the name is a throw back to English-introduced, factory-made sliced bread, a novelty for Indians who gave it that name since the leavened bread swelled to double its size on baking), one of the worst, maida-laden foods nutritionally.
With so many young Indians finding time to bake at home during the pandemic, growing your own sourdough culture has become the foodie statement of 2020. For those who have not jumped on to the bandwagon, there are enough home bakers to keep us supplied, not to mention small delivery outfits like Wheaty, started recently by the redoubtable Varun Tuli, restaurateur and wedding caterer.
Like bread, momos are a snack whose quality has drastically improved during the pandemic with many home businesses now offering hygienic and authentic dumplings instead of tandoori aloo-ed bastardisation that had ruled North Campus binges. Then, there is the emergence of serious regional Indian dishes in meal kits. Siblings Rishiv and Tarika Khattar were stuck in Mumbai cooking for themselves during the lockdown, when they thought of a plan to convert regional Indian recipes into simple to assemble meal kits. Their small business Makery.in is thriving and its kottu parotta is better than at any restaurant.