Tribune News Service
Amritsar, November 20
Work from home has acquired a new meaning for city-based home chefs and bakers. With the pandemic hitting the lifestyle in Amritsar, foodies are now preferring to dine in rather than dine out, choosing home chefs and bakers to cater to their taste.
Mushrooming restaurants and pop-up cafes in the city have become a thing of past, thanks to Covid-19. As many eateries decided not to reopen for business, home bakers and chefs saw it as an opportunity to be a part of the changed market dynamics.
“If the raw material supply was 5 per cent to home bakers before the lockdown, it has now risen to 40 per cent, post lockdown. The number of people enrolling to learn culinary skills has increased manifold. This is a result of lockdown-induced lifestyle change,” said Arundeep Singh, culinary expert and food coach. “Anyone with a flair for culinary skills can easily earn up to Rs 50,000 to 1 lakh in the festive season alone,” he said.
From dining out to dining in, home bakers are being preferred for convenience, health safety and customisation. “Provision of delivery is the most important aspect these days as people are avoiding to go out. People trust home bakers and chefs for food hygiene and quality and freshness of the products. Also, while operating from home, you don’t have to look after the overhead expenses, or staff management and pre-order bookings make things a bit organised,’ shared Priya Seth, a home baker and owner of The Cakery.
While the lockdown made survival a challenge for many young and upcoming food entrepreneurs, many have now taken the home-route. Masterchef fame Drishti Nanda, whose restaurant had to shut shop due post lockdown, is now continuing with her home –cooked food business. She has also shifted her culinary education academy to her home. “Running a restaurant requires a lot of logistics that were simply not possible to sustain post lockdown. Home baking or food business cuts down costs of investing in staff, running a big kitchen and lot of other overheads. Also, post pandemic, people are preferring house parties and ordering in food from local home based chefs. This creates a sustainable market for many while keeping their pockets full,” Drishti said.
Combining her passion for cooking and knack for seeing a business opportunity in the time of crisis, 21-year-old Jasmine Kaur turned a food entrepreneur with her own baking business. She deals in baking customised desserts, which are vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free.
“The culinary habits of people have completely changed after the Covid-19 pandemic. People now want healthy food prepared in hygienic conditions. Ever since I started home baking, I get five to six orders every day and sometimes the number goes up to 15 orders in a day,” she said. Planning to expand her skill set by learning French baking from overseas culinary institute, Jasmine wants to open a French food café.
While it creates a steady business opportunity, the new trend also brings out the talent in many. Priyanka Goyal had been the star chef among her family and friends before the lockdown gave her a chance to shine as a pro. “I began making salt and sweet delicacies such as kachories, dry fruit laddoos and other niche items and delivering them on a pre-order basis. Gradually, my orders started increasing and during Diwali, I distributed 250-300 boxes of savories alone. I never launched myself as a chef, but now, I have been able to build my own small food business,’ she said.
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