The second guest of our interview series "What's Cooking" is Ms. Priyanka, a textile engineer turned foodpreneur! Sounds interesting. 😊 Let's know about her interesting journey from being an engineer to a foodpreneur .
Petpuja: Welcome to the blog Priyanka! It's a pleasure to have you on the series. Tell us something about yourself. How did you zero in on home cooking as business?
Priyanka: Thanks for inviting me to be part of petpuja.com ! A Mumbaikar by birth and a textile engineer by education.I have done my B.Tech in Textile Engineering. I had moved to Ahmedabad to join my first job with a textile group immediately after passing out. Destiny brought me to Ahmedabad for a specific purpose. I found my soulmate here. Soon we became parents of a beautiful princess. I took a sabbatical in the interest of my baby. Just like every mother, it was difficult to go back to work without a proper family support system. We are a nuclear family and our parents were equally busy at their places and could not come to take care of the baby for long time. In the interest of the little one, I decided to be a stay at home mom till some reliable arrangement is made .
Food for me is second life. Since childhood, I love eating and cooking different foods. As I am at home, I got time to focus on this passion of mine. With time, I saw an opportunity in my housing society for home cooked food. There were many bachelors and students who needed meals on regular basis. I decided to give it a try. With more orders coming in , my humble beginning took shape of a serious business.
Petpuja: When you were so fond of food, why had you not opted for some related course like hotel management?
Priyanka: I wanted to study Hotel Management or something related to food but in those times, being chef was not considered a good career opportunity. My parents were of the opinion that it's better to be an engineer than a chef. I succumbed to the parental pressure and ended up being a textile engineer. But now as I have started this enterprise, my parents also had a change of heart. They are happy with my decision and support me in whatever way they can.
Petpuja: Did you had any fears before taking that proverbial "first step"?
Priyanka: None, as I was beginning to pursue what I had always wanted to.
Petpuja: What is the USP of your products?
Priyanka: Fresh, healthy and hygienic. We procure fresh vegetables and fruits on everyday basis. Hygiene is maintained similar to the standards as one is cooking for the family. I have a proper cleaning protocol setup for my helpers. We use less oil and home made spices, which is the basis of healthy food. We give special emphasis to the client's taste. I have detailed discussion with first time client to know the preferences and we keep a note of it.
Petpuja: How is your journey as an entrepreneur? Was the ride smooth or bumpy?
Priyanka: I started as somebody who was pursuing my passion and as time progressed with increased recognition and appreciation, this journey till now has been exciting. Setting up any business is a continuous learning process. It's the same with " home food service" business. One has to upgrade all the time. I am always working to learn new cooking styles and add new dishes to my menu. With growth of my enterprise, I felt the need to learn management skills hence I did my MBA also. I am better equipped to manage my business professionally. Just like marriage, growing an enterprise is an ever evolving process. As ups and downs in marriage is easy to handle if there is love. Similarly, if one is in love with what he or she is doing, it's challenges are easier to handle.
Priyanka: My kitchen mainly serves senior citizens and bachelors in "direct to customers" category. I have tie ups with corporate for regular meal orders. I also take party and event orders too.
Petpuja: Which is your favourite cuisine? Which cuisine is your forte?
Priyanka: I am well versed in Marathi, Konkani, Punjabi and Gujarati cuisines.
Petpuja: What are your future plans?
Priyanka: I want to scale up my operations to cater to large populace and bigger institutional demands. Apart from this, I am planning to enter packaged food items segment too.
Petpuja: These days people are very health conscious. What is your take on making healthy meals?
Priyanka: It's of utmost importance to me. That's why I named my business "Ruchika Health Rasoi" because I always wanted to serve healthy food. Health is wealth, we all know, hence eating healthy food is of utmost importance. I have mentioned earlier about how careful we are in using lesser oil, fresh ingredients and home made Indian spices in our cooking. We all know about the health benifits of Indian spices. Who can forget that Indian spices were one of the major imports for which Portugese, danish and Britishers came to India.
Petpuja: What is the best compliment you have received till date which brings a smile on your face, when you think about it?
Priyanka: I did an event order which was spread over many days and had japanese visitors. The japanese food was outsourced and I was supplying Indian food. The Japanese visitors tasted my food out of curiosity. They liked the taste so much that they shifted to Indian food. That was a very happy, satisfying and proud moment for me.
Petpuja: How do you take critical comments from clients?
Priyanka: It may sound cliche,but I take criticism constructively as it helps to revisit the whole cooking process and make improvements. I feel that cooking is an ever evolving process like life and positive criticism can improve the process.
Petpuja: Have you taken FSSAI?
Priyanka: Yes, "Ruchika health rasoi is FSSAI registered. Ruchika Health Rasoi can be contacted through our website - ruchikarasoi.com or ph. no. 8155016517
Petpuja: How is your family supporting your enterprise?
Priyanka: My family is a big support. My husband has been a constant pillar of strength and support from day one. Without him, it would not have been possible. In fact many a times he doubles up as a delivery person too for our rasi , when the support staff is on leave or we need additional hands to deliver larger orders than routine. My little girl, who is just three also understands the importance of my work. She is a happy child and does not bother me much.
Petpuja: What is your message to women , who may be exploring home cooking as a business?
Priyanka: It's a good business ONLY if you love cooking. This business demands lots of hard work and many a times physical hard work, focus and perseverance. If it's done with sincerity , determination and with long term perspective, its a rewarding business. Do not get in to it if you want to make fast bucks because there is none in this business.
Petpuja: It will be great if you share some easy to make recipes for our readers.
Priyanka: I am sharing two very easy and tasty recipes - Veggies bread chila and choco balls.
Veggies Bread Chilla :
6 bread slices of any type of bread
1/4 cup Besan
1/4 cup Curd
1 cup finely chopped / grated mix vegetables ( capsicum, cabbage, tomato, palak, carrot etc)
1 medium size onion
1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 finally chopped green chilli
1 tablespoon finally chopped coriander
Salt to taste
1. In a mixie jar, add bread slices and grind to a fine crumble. transfer the content to a bowl.
2. Add all other ingredients and mix well.
3. Add water to make consistency of batter similar to that of uttapam.
4. Let it set for 10 minutes.
5. Heat a tava. grease with oil/ ghee.
6. Put 1 ladle full of batter on tava and spread it to the size of your choice.
7. Cook both sides and serve hot with any chutney of your choice.
Mint / coriander/ tomato/ tamarind/ khajoor chutney.
1. 8-10 crushed digestive biscuit
2. one cup milk powder
3. half cup coco powder
4. half cup coconut powder
5. 100 ml condensed milk
6. pinch of salt
7. few drops of ghee
1. Mix well all the ingredients. Keep aside for 5 minutes to set.
2. Grease your palms with ghee and roll out balls as per the size of your choice and shape.
3. Roll in coconut powder.
You can make choco sticks with toothpick too. :)
Thanks Priyanka for sharing your journey as an entrepreneur with Petpuja.com . I am sure, it's going to be a motivator for many women who will now be getting ready to follow their passion. All the best to Ruchika Health Rasoi from Petpuja.com