Cooking Up A Storm (At Home): 16 Homegrown Food Businesses Set Up Amidst The Pandemic - Homegrown

Cooking Up A Storm (At Home): 16 Homegrown Food Businesses Set Up Amidst The Pandemic

It has been six months since we were drawn to be subject to the indoors. As exciting as it may have seemed then, the urge to want to wander outside is at an all-time high at this point. All across the globe, we saw similarities in the way we coped with the confinement — DIY projects, TikTok dances, banana bread, and fancy coffees, binge-watching all that Netflix has to offer — we did it all.

One of the constant occupations that have continued topping all our lists, however, is food. We have all at one point in time or another tried to cook up something that clearly way out of our league for us. While some of us have now made peace with the fact that it’s best left to experts, some others have realised a new passion. The lockdown and quarantine have given a chance to many home chefs and cooking enthusiasts to turn their passion into occupation and kickstart their food business. Doing so is no easy task, either — preparation, managing orders, cooking, packaging, and delivery are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to aspects that have to be kept in mind whilst starting a new business.

From dal-rice to burgers, and roti-sabzi to lasagne, homegrown food businesses have the world to offer!

In a bid to introduce you to the delicious world of safely-cooked and safely-delivered home-food, we have put together a list of home-based food businesses across the country. Give yourself a break from your routine and treat yourself to food crafted with love and care.

I. Boju’s Kitchen

We know you have uttered the words, “I really want momos” more than once during this lockdown. Boju’s Kitchen is here to cater to those needs. Chitrangada Gupta from Delhi says, “Even during the lockdown while everyone in Delhi was struggling to learn how to make momos at home, I was lucky enough to be around my mom and Naani for whom making momos was as easy as breathing.” After a friend suggested the idea of selling them, Boju’s Kitchen was born. If you’re in Delhi, you can now fulfil your momo cravings without having to hit the streets.

You can find Boju’s Kitchen here.

II. Avisa’s Home Popup

Mutton Masala, Dal Gosht and Pav, and Chicken Korma with rice are just a few of the things Avisa’s has to offer. Much like the rest of us, owner Avisa Keskar says, “No food for soul and sustenance of creativity was getting harder.” She has a culinary and nutrition background using which she tries to spread ideas of clean eating whether it be non-vegetarian, vegetarian or vegan. Speaking of how her venture of clean and home-cooked food excites her the most, she says, “I am absolutely in love with life as of now and I love serving people in any and every way possible.”

Avisa’s Home Popup is based in Mumbai and can be found here.

III. Yallah

The longing for a heavy, juicy burger or a fulfilling pizza never dies down. Realising he may not be the only one with this, though, Carl Pinto from Goa began his venture, Yallah. “I started Yallah as a means to make fast food (with my own twist) more accessible to the people of my area as I saw an increasing demand for homemade food,” he says. Giving a playful touch to fast food, Yallah always has one wishing for another one. Sliders, pizzas, hummus and pita and even desserts — they’ve got it all.

They deliver to Betalbatim, Majorda, Colva, Benaulim and Margao.

You can find Yallah here.

Image Courtesy: Yallah

IV. Lettuce By Anushka

Lettuce by Anushka is about all things healthy, nutritious, and delicious. A law graduate and a certified yoga instructor, Anushka Singhal began her food business with the idea of making healthy alternatives and wholesome dishes available to people. Explaining the importance of clean eating, she says, “Each recipe is researched properly. Special attention is paid to the various benefits of its ingredients to our body because one’s diet affects not just their physical well-being but also their mental health.” Lettuce By Anushka serves you a little bit of everything —Chicken Curry, salads, Khao Suey and some delectable baked goods too!

You can find Lettuce by Anushka here.

V. Majja Ni Life

With a vast menu with options of dishes like Chicken Dhansak, Mutton Sali Boti, Waldorf Salad, Cheesy Bakes and many more homemade delights, Majja Ni Life offers a little bit of everything. Pratik Udhwani, the owner of the venture, says, “Since most of our jobs were at stake and a lot of them were sitting with leave without pay, we decided to start with a home-cooked meal delivery service.” They have options of side salads and desserts as well.

Majja Ni Life is based in Mumbai and can be found here.

VI. Hundo Pizza

Inspired by the urban slang ‘Hundo-P’, meaning 100 per cent sure, Hundo Pizza is every pizza lover’s one-stop-shop. Ronak Rajani, Chef Kabir Moorjani, and Chef Om Nayak are the masterminds behind Hundo Pizza, and they create new-age pizzas with traditional as well as modern techniques. With freshly made dough and sauce, perfect cheese-to-topping ratio, they have a wide range of pizzas for vegetarians and non-vegetarians — Margherita, Four Cheese, Funghi, Greca, BBQ Chicken, Pepperoni, Bacon Carbonara and Chorizo. They even have a vegan Margherita option! Hundo is delivery-based and also has a drive-through option. Chef Om says, “Under the current circumstances, as restaurants turn down the flame, alternative business formats in the F&B industry are flaring. We surely believe that with the present pace of lifestyle and economy being slow, delivery & drive-through will continue to thrive as the new way of dining.”

You can find Hundo Pizza here.

Image Courtesy: Hundo Pizza

VII. Calcutta Food Co.

This Kolkata-based home-food business goes above and beyond to ensure that each dish that is sent out is 100 per cent hygienic and safe. Utsha Das and Rohan Sur, founders of the Calcutta Food Co., say, “It’s a lot of extra steps and we feel that each one of us in the society must do our bit to fight this pandemic. So, there is constant sanitising and double-checking the standard hygiene process.” Mutton Dum Biryani, Honey Chilli Fish and Khao Suey are a few of their preparations. One look at their grilled prawns and just like us, you would feel like devouring it then and there.

Calcutta Food Co. can be found here.

VIII. Delish Catering

With a menu that teases each of your cravings, Delish is a homegrown food business that offers dishes you didn’t know you craved. Juhi Parekh, owner of Delish explains her vast menu, “We have covered all cuisines from Italian to Mexican, Spanish to Greek, Indian to South African and more! We believe that your taste buds deserve to be satisfied with whatever you crave!” Burrito bowls, Zucchini roll-ups, Tibetan noodle bowls, and different types of hummus are a part of what’s up for grabs.

Image Courtesy: Delish Catering

IX. Kameal’s

Covering cuisines of Indian, Italian and Goan, Kameal’s came to be as it was time for Kamille Kyla Packard’s passion for cooking to take the form of a business. She says, “I decided to start Kameal’s to share some happiness around through my food and help people get through this time together.” From Kheema Pav to Roast Chicken, and Goan Sausage to Caramel Custard, Kameal’s provides the perfect meal to treat yourself with.

You can find Kameal’s here.

X. Struggle Butt

Ever felt the need for some extra spice, or a deeper flavour while eating a meal? Struggle Butt solves just that problem with its range of jarred condiments. Eshan Rastogi explains his inspiration for beginning this venture, “From mukbangs, I went down the youtube hole of Kimchi recipes and the techniques of fermentation. I then decided to make a small batch at home and test it out.” After the success of his first trial batch, The condiments include Green Chilli Jam, Veggie Kimchi, Korean Kimchi, Chilli Oil and Scallion Oil.

You can find Struggle Butt here.

XI. Home Food Studio

Anupama and Rajan Mehra, masterminds behind Home Food Studio have been in the hospitality industry for over 40 years. They had a plan to begin such a venture much before the lockdown, but its onset pushed them to dive into the deep end. After they moved to Mumbai, Anupama realised the importance home-cooked food holds in people’s lives and decided for it to be their food of choice for the business. Food is what they know best, but starting Home Food Studio was a plunge. Anupama says, “Just waking up one morning and deciding we want to give this a shot, knowing very little that something like this could kick off from our home itself as a business, it was pure intention and determination.”

You can find Home Food Studio here.

Image Courtesy: Home Food Studio

XII. Chef Vansh Khanna

Professional chef turned professional home-chef due to COVID-19, Chef Vansh Khanna began taking orders from friends for a few dishes here and there, which has now turned into a full-fledged home food business. Professionally trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney, he makes everything from handmade pizzas to Butter Chicken. His family helps out in various ways to keep this venture going. “It’s been almost four months and I must have completed more than 1500 orders from my home without any staff, just with the help of my family,” he says.

You can find Chef Vansh Khanna here.

Image Courtesy: Chef Vansh Khanna

XIII. Bageechi

Specially curated Mathur food that features dishes such as Mutton Kofte, Pardah Biryani, Mota Papad Arvi and Bedmi Aloo can be found on Bageechi’s menu. Run by Venu Mathur, this venture was a long time coming and was finally a reality as the lockdown saw an increase in demand for home-cooked and hygienic food. Referring to ‘Daddy’s Dal Meat’, a mutton and urad dal dish, Venu says, “My food is inspired by what was cooked at home by my elders. My father was a great cook who specialised in non-vegetarian items and there is a special dish that became a family favourite.”

You can find Bageechi here.

Image Courtesy: Bageechi

XIV. Shruthi Chadha

What had begun as a way to provide meals to elderly people and people that were stranded during the lockdown, is now Shruthi’s home food business. Her ‘Ghar Ka Khaanaa Weekdays’ provides all things homely including Baingan Bharta, Paneer Bhurji and Peas Pulao. Taking a complete 180-degree turn, she also cooks up a mean Bibimbap along with that. Shruthi also bottles up and sells flavourful kimchi and bacon jam.

Shruthi Chadha is based in North Goa and her page can be found here.

XV. Saturday Surprise Society

A little surprise can go a long way to break the seemingly never-ending monotonous feeling this pandemic had afforded us. Saturday Surprise Society, which operates out of Cochin, delivers a limited number of pre-ordered, extremely indulgent handmade surprise boxes every week. Each box contains savoury food as well as sweet goodies. This venture is Shruti Ramachandran’s brainchild and she says that each box is built around a story. She says, “Each box serves two and has a little story included that ties all the elements together. It started with ‘Campfire for two’, which included a little poem about the perfect campfire, and a dish representing each element.”

Saturday Surprise Society can be found here.

XVI. Hommies

Bringing Rajasthani food and slow-cooked curries to the fore, Hommies by Surbhit Saxena began during the pandemic as a means to feed the people of Mumbai the food he missed. Surbhit says that Rajasthani cuisine is not defined by the spiciness, but the different combinations of various spices. On what makes the food special, he says, “We make our food with a lot of time and love – without cutting corners.”

You can find Hommies here.

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