The rise of the home chefs
Gone are the days when homemakers/ mothers would put a meal on the table just for their families. The concept of homemaker, a wife, a mother has changed immensely over the past few years and how. Today, across the world people are waking up to the facets of managing a home, which is far more challenging than perhaps running a company.
One of the major aspects of running a household is to put good food on the table for the head of the family, read: patriarch, the in-laws, children and the extended family. Most of the times, such a talent would go unnoticed until now…when the world gave such talented women of substance to showcase their talents as a home chef.
As safely as it can be put, it doesn’t hurt the sentiments of traditional in-laws who don’t want their daughters and daughters-in-law to step out and work.
More so, cooking is no longer considered a woman’s job anymore. More and more men are entering the kitchens and women prefer men who like to cook, after all, it’s all about sharing the household chores.
Cooking is now considered art and for some, it is very relaxing. It doesn’t matter anymore if you’re a man or a woman and if you think you’re good at it, you take it to the next best level – donning the hat of a home chef.
As celebrity chef and food author Reetu Uday Kugaji says, “Food is a complete stress buster. In this busy world of monotony, cooking is the only thing that makes us happy. Creativity keeps our minds occupied and works towards innovations. This is one of the reasons why people are moving towards cooking.”
Kasturi Sen, a Mumbai based home chef shares, “Cooking isn’t a boring chore anymore that people loathe doing. It has become a way of relaxation, a way to unwind for people coming back home after a hard day’s work. And for many homemakers, it is a way to showcase their immense talent. In this fast-paced stressful world with long working hours, cooking provides welcome relief. Frozen meals are passé now because people have realised that instead of heating up frozen food or eating out of a box, a delicious meal can be easily whipped up in the same amount of time.”
There’s also a recent trend with people changing their jobs and professions to take up cooking as a full-time profession. Earlier people would think that if they were not trained in culinary arts, they couldn’t cook professionally, but that’s not true any more.
“There are times in our life that we want to do something different, something that’s more gratifying and appreciable. Something to do with creativity and I believe that’s what is bringing the trained and well-established doctors and engineers to become home Chefs. I believe if the Home Chefs start with their own outlets or join some of the eminent restaurants this concept does work out extremely well. The consumer gets a home-made food feel which is indeed in demand today and as a Chef, I can foresee it forever,” explains Chef Reetu.
“I will speak for myself in this case. I am a content writer by profession having done my Masters in Journalism. Only once I got married and started cooking for my family, friends and kids did I realise my passion for cooking and baking. Though the love for food has always been there, it took me marriage and kids to realise that this passion can be turned into a profession,” smiles Kasturi.
So how has the change started taking place? As Kasturi explains the trend started more than 100 years ago when in 1890 the first dabbawallahs began delivering home-cooked meals to office goers. Off late, the growing trend of cooking has definitely been due to a spurt in cookery shows on television.
From TV shows that showcase only recipes, now culinary game shows like Master Chef, Top Chef and My Kitchen Rules have turned into the entertainment industry. Gone are the days when you would wait for your favourite cookery show to appear on TV. Now you can select from an array of cookery channels that showcase recipes and food from all over the world throughout the day. Apart from shows on TV, there are many YouTube channels where you can watch videos too.
Over the past couple of years, there has been a steady increase in the number of apps that deliver home-cooked food. People are realising the advantage of home-cooked food over restaurant food in terms of nutritional value.
And what do you think inspires someone to turn into a home chef? Love for food, eating and cooking, prove to be a major inspiration says Kasturi. As a homemaker when you realise that it is difficult to be stepping out of the house to do a 9-5 job, turning into a home chef is a brilliant option, where you can pursue your passion from home and also get paid for it.
Things don’t come easy as even what you love to do comes with its own share of challenges as experienced by Kasturi. “The major challenge I faced while working as a home chef for an online food delivery company was to balance between time spent in kitchen and time with kids. The best part of working as a home chef is being able to select your days of work. I was able to balance my time by selecting to work thrice a week,” adds Kasturi.
However, Chef Reetu cautions that “Maintaining the quality and quantity of food along with profits and diversification is the biggest challenge for home chefs if they are truly to compete with the intensively trained professionals.”
To overcome the challenges one needs to identify his or her own strengths i.e. a complete SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) is a must.
Not only that, what type of cuisine are you focusing on, who is your target clientele, how much time can you invest for this and of course what’s your budget all come into play and not to forget, but a bigger challenge is also to retain the clientele after they have consumed the food prepared by you once.
For those of you who’re still contemplating on starting a home-chef enterprise here are some tips from Kasturi:
- It’s never too late to start working as a home chef. In fact, if you start late, you are equipped with years of experience.
- Keep yourself updated with the current food trends.
- Watch cookery shows to give you inspiration.
- Never compromise on the quality of food.
- Visit your local haat/ market to find the best ingredients.
For the Bayside Journal.
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