Suddenly, every gourmand worth his salt is talking the home chef language. These talented people are elbowing out restaurants by dishing out food of their motherland and cooking from lost recipes. And technology-driven platforms are cashing in on the trend.
Rampur, Shahjahanabad and Purani Dilli ka khana
“We are promoting the Rampuri, Shahjahanabadi and Mughal cuisines by cooking in hotels across the country and at residences of diplomats and Bollywood celebs,” says Osama Jalali. “We are from Rampur and we have old khansamas who cooked in our haveli. My mother learned from them. We also researched on the Rampur cuisine from books at the Rampur Reza Library. I also met the Nawab’s family and extracted old recipes.”
Jalali recently launched a chain of eateries called Masala Trail serving street style Indian non-vegetarian fare. Some dishes that find favour with fans are Hari Mirch Keema, Gosht/Mutton Ka Halwa, Rampuri Taar Gosht, Adrak Ki Kheer and Aloo Ka Zarda.
Nath is a home chef based in Guwahati who has been doing extremely popular Assamese pop-ups with EatwithIndia. At her events, the menus are an eclectic mix of everyday as well as traditional dishes that are dying. There’s the very traditional dish Anguli Pitha (steamed rice flour dumplings resembling fingerlings) being served as a starter or Kumol Chawal (an indigenous variety of rice which requires no cooking) served as a savoury.
“Many of our regional cuisines are not even documented but just passed down from generation to generation, which remains in the family,” she says.
Bharat Ka Khana
A popular home chef and caterer in Kanpur, Tandon believes that the authenticity and the taste of the dish prepared by home chefs are far superior to the nitty gritties of plating and presentation that some restaurants focus on.Some of his best dishes are Aloo Mangodi, Meat Saagwala, Palak Paneer, Pindi Chana, Chhaachh Ki Kadhi, Meat Ka Halwa and Shahi Kheer.
South Indian Cuisine
Based in Chennai, Bala uses only authentic ingredients in her regional preparations. Her recipes are passed on from generations, and it’s a nostalgic family cooked meal that is striking a chord with foodies, which she mostly does under EatwithIndia.
“I’m also training home chefs who will showcase to the world food from regions such as Konkani, Syrian Christian, Nagercoil, Madurai, Odiya and Palakkad,” she says.
Specialist home chef Avantika Garg focuses only on the Bengali sweet Sandesh, and serves it to people in Delhi-NCR. She is a chef registered with FoodCloud. She says, “Customers love my Mango Sandesh (in summers) and Nolen Gur Sandesh (in winters).”
Dutta is based in Noida and specialises in Bengali cuisine, and has been hosting pop-ups almost every month for foodies. She says, “Each menu is carefully curated according to the season. The hot favorites are Shukto, Kosha Mangsho, Cholar Daal, Potol Posto and so on.”
Dutta thinks platforms such as EatwithIndia, Commeat and FoodCloud has helped many home chefs go out and show their skills to the world.