This woman has cooked thousands of free meals for the COVID affected
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on all of us. Especially the second wave saw considerable losses in India with rampant infections. Many good Samaritans came forward to do their part in healing and helping the world in such times.
One such woman is Anchal Chopra Bhalla from New Delhi. She has been cooking thousands of yummy meals comprising pizza, burgers, fries, pasta meals, Rajma chawal, Roti, Dal Makhni, Sabzi, and many other scrumptious combinations for people who suffered from COVID-19 and continues to do so for the needy. She has been even teaching cooking to a bunch of underprivileged people to make them self-sufficient.
LifeBeyondNumbers talked to the chef to know more about her philanthropic work.
She is the founder and director of Tastesutra, a cooking studio offering online and offline cook-along experiences. In pre-COVID days, her studio was flocked by tourists, groups, and corporate professionals for team-building workshops. Now Anchal conducts it all through virtual classes. Tastesutra intends to celebrate cooking and make people learn the beauty and variety of Indian cuisines.
Anchal has been cooking ever since she was a child, and doing good through food has been done by her for several years now. In April, when few near and dear were affected by COVID-19 and could not make their meals, Anchal decided to cook for them. Soon things magnified, and she started to cook for people she didn’t know personally, but they sure needed food.
“During the second wave, I realized that some of my friends and relatives were affected by COVID and so were unable to cook; that’s when I started sending out meals to them. Soon the beneficiaries, and others who heard about it, decided to contribute and make my food reach more people. And then Sainik Farm RWA, Dunzo, WeFast, etc. joined in, and we started to send hundreds of meals every day,” shares Anchal.+
Anchal then volunteered for COVID meals for India, and several NGOs and projects such as Bajaj Foundation, Good Food Project, Little India Foundation, and many more started to contact her. They chipped in to help her prepare many more meals for people in need and distress.
She wakes up early in the morning and cooks until late to prepare all the food. A team back at her studio, including her husband and mother-in-law, lends a hand in the whole process.+
“We change the menu every day and never compromise on the quality. When there is a requirement for adults, we try and make wholesome meals such as Rajma Chawal, Khichdi with sabzi, salad, etc. But when the food is for kids, I try and make it more interesting with pizzas, burgers, pasta, etc, just what my kids like to have,” says Anchal.
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And that’s not all. Before the second wave, Anchal called in a group of people to her studio who toil hard to meet their ends, pick rags, and do all sorts of jobs. She took elaborate classes and taught them to cook many cuisines, empowering them in the process. Anchal recalls the instance of a 19-year-old boy with hearing and speech impairment who now works as a chef in a restaurant after attending her class.
“The boy was working in a photocopy shop initially and didn’t want to learn cooking, calling it the woman’s job. I somehow managed to convince him to learn for a week. And then he continued to learn till months. Today, when I see him work at the restaurant, my heart swells with joy,” says Bhalla.+
“Cooking is something that I enjoy and making these meals have brought a lot of happiness to me. The best feeling is when you’ve made somebody else happy. The journey from cooking for a few to hundreds daily has been so fulfilling in the past few months. Thank you to my family and friends who have supported me all throughout,” she concludes.
Kudos to her efforts.
This was story was first published on Life Beyond Numbers.