As a child my Sundays would be incomplete without Nair aunty’s sambhar wada. Nair aunty who? - The sweet lady who stayed on the second of our apartment. When in kitchen, aunty would rustle up the meanest rasam and rice, put together finger-licking-good meen curry and fix dosas like a bawse! And every time she would d cook, she would come over to our house with a portion and ‘Renu (my mother’s name), aaj yeh try kar’ – in her South India accent reeking Hindi. As a gesture to thank her, maa would send her puranpoli or gole-bhaat or simple bharle vange. The best part – This fond len-den of food between aunty and maa soon had the entire building join them. And me? Well, I got to try a new cuisine every now and then without going to the restaurant and cuisine-specific places!
Isn’t this a story that resonates with us all? We have all been a part of this ritual within our family or apartment or even friend circle!
But over the last few years, we youngsters started eating out more. Families started opting for Paneer Lababdar over the plain-jane Paneer ki sabzi at home. Food became a trend which the social media banked upon with fancy hashtags #Gastronomy and #Foodgasms. Eating out then became all about dining experiences and what was left vacant was the dining table back at home.
With an aim to bridge this gap and preserve the authentic recipes which have been handed down generations after generations, ‘Nativ Chefs’ started an online food-delivery service which delivers caters authentic food cooked by home chefs – a first in the city. They intend on serving not just the lesser-known dishes from your regular cuisine but also bringing home to the cuisines from nooks and corner of our diverse country.
For team ‘Nativ Chefs’, the aim does not just limit to serving delicious food. They have set out to bring back wholesome, home-cooked meals back in fashion and the reviving the fading ritual of sit-down meals with family within the confines of your own home.
Leena Dixit Gundewar – the woman behind ‘Nativ Chefs’ – was a regular IT professional with a cushy job and a fulfilled family. But it was a couple of years ago when decided to step down from her IT role and step up on an entrepreneurial journey. She was amongst the 100 entrepreneur who were selected by IIM Bangalore for their Women Start-up Programme conducted by NSRCEL. After a year-long mentorship and training, Leena floated her start up in 2018 out of IIM Nagpur’s campus. Today she stands strong with a network of almost 30+ home chefs and a team to make the operations happen.
“I decided to focus only on home cooked traditional food because I feel that food made at home and out of same kitchen that cooks food for one’s family has honesty. It is nourishing not just to the body but even to your mind and soul. We are trying to connect different people with food as a medium, connecting them to the roots and helping them explore our diverse culture. We did not just want our customers to eat; we wanted to make a difference in what they eat and the way they are served what eat,” says Leena.
Aligning with Leena’s perception and vision, these home chefs have doubled up their house kitchens as a kitchen for cooking their speciality dish, which ranges right from chana-chiwda to mutton dhansak.
About the ‘native’ chefs:
Remember how the senior citizens’ home in ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ was called ‘Second Innings Home’? Well, Nativ Chefs believes that one doesn’t really have to wait to get into their sunset years of life to follow their passion. The start-up has given an opportunity for many homemakers, working women and even a few men to take their passion for cooking a notch higher. For these chefs the founder is where they draw they inspirtaion from, for she represents the ‘What happens next’ when you follow your passion and make something good of it. Like her, each of these 30+ chefs have a story of their own and a reasons one too many to be a part of the Nativ Chefs family. For some it is to become financially independent while for some others it is about chasing that dream which was once ditched for reality.
One such home chef Rutuja had tears of joy as she recounted the story of her first order. “I had received my first order of thalipeeth via Nativ Chefs. I remember being quite excited about it. What I did not know was that my husband was equally excited. He took a day’s leave from his office and helped in boxing and packing the thalipeeth. This will be etched in my mind and heart for the longest time,” smiles Rutuja.
The chefs undergo mandatory training sessions where coaching is provided on various aspects such as hygiene-maintenance, quality of ingredients to be used, cooking and food delivery management etc. This way Nativ Chefs maintain the services and food quality be up to the set benchmark level.
How to order?
With a plethora of delicious dishes available at Nativ Chefs, it is only logical to succumb to the temptation and order off your choice. All one has to do is call before 10am to place your lunch order and before 5pm to place your dinner order. One can also order via their website. Nativ Chefs promise to make and deliver your order to perfection and we all know good things take time. So place your order and put your feet up and relax while one of their home chef’s rustle up a wholesome meal for you.
If you’re a ‘confused sperm’ kinds (reference: Vicky Donor da!) and cannot decide what to order, let the ‘Perks of the day’ section help you. ‘Perks of the day’ is where a day special dish is picked and offered at a special discounted price. I mean, what better than having authentic home-made meal and at a super affordable price!
Garelu with Kodikura
Wish to be a part of Nativ Chefs?
Are you passionate about cooking? Have your grandmum’s secret recipe which you can cook and feed the foodies of Nagpur? Got an expertise in cooking that authentic, long-lost dish? Then Nativ Chefs has just the right kinda opportunity for you! One can get associated with this start-up by registering as a home-chef. All you have to do is visit their website, leave your contact information and details about the dish your specialize in. The good folks at Nativ Chefs will get in touch with you immediately and take the prospect further.
Not a chef but wish to be a part of this awesome-sauce food start-up? Then find yourself buzzing on the phone number provided on the website to know about the internship opportunities they offer! Perks? You get to taste all sorts of delectable food and get to see the smiles of the happy customers!
Nativ Chefs is organizing an event ‘Indian Treasures Traditional Buffet’ on June 1st where a buffet comprising of 20+ traditional dishes will be served. From ‘Rawan pithla’ of Maharashtra to Himachal Pradesh’s traditional dish ‘Siddu’ to ‘Macher jhol’ from West Bengal are just some of the dishes that will adorn the limited seated dining fare. For registrations, call – 8830355387 / 9112700597.
Image credits: nativchefs