People PRABALIKA M. BORAH meets city-based entrepreneurs who are driven by a passion to make a career in culinary business. Some of them even gave up their well paid cushy job in pursuit of what they feel will bring them happiness
Authentic Bengali cuisine
Call of Bengal
This is what happens when a techie husband goes all out to help his wife realise her dream. She loves to cook, while he loves to eat. And while they love to eat they also love to ‘show off’ authentic Bengali food. Meet Sumita and Indraneel Ganguly whose journey to cook and feed people began some years ago when the couple decided to give a star property a taste of what they felt is lacking in the so called commercial Bengali food scene. “We went and met the chef and spoke what we felt. The chef was convinced, said he would think about it and asked for our numbers. What followed in the next couple of days was a real shocker — we received a call from the hotel asking if we could cater for a special team of delegates! . We then realised it was a business proposition. Initially we were a bit nervous, but we did not waste any time in committing ourselves and said yes. It was a crazy moment but we immediately got into planning the menu, complete with a Bengali dessert. After that there was no looking back. We are now the Bengali food consultants for that chain.
Love for Greece
When Balram Nayankar announced to his wife Saloni that he is going to finally turn his dream into a reality, Saloni had a mixed reaction. She was excited and a bit nervous. Excited because both being foodies had the same dream and nervous because it was a big leap. Blue Door was the outcome of their couchsurfing trip to Greece and that’s when they fell in love with Greek hospitality and the way Greek food is prepared. An engineer by ‘no choice’, Balaram always had his eyes set on doing something different but was waiting for the right moment. “After that stay in Greece we went back again because we longed for Greece again and again. And while there, we did a lot of community cooking with the family we were staying. It was like an exchange programme in cooking. This is where we learnt that Greeks love to stuff their vegetables with meat and meat with vegetables,” says Balaram.
While the rest is history, Balaram loves to make things clear. “My wife did the interior and I manage everyday work. We love working together and filling up at for each other wherever we can. She has been a huge support,” adds Balaram who comes to work with his lunch prepared by his wife.
Offering healthy options
Soups and Salads
Soujanya Reddy was a techie who would be pained at her colleagues’ reaction to ordering lunch at work. “Eating submarine sandwiches everyday was a punishment of sorts for them. And all that they could do to add variety was add or remove the stuffing inside and opt for a different set of sauces. This was the cost for opting to eat something healthy,” says Soujanya Reddy.
This techie’s support has been her husband who helped the chef in her to come out. “My husband Vamshi’s support was all that I needed to pursue my passion. He didn’t let me lose hope and pushed me to join a Culinary School. After completing my course I worked under a lot of chefs in the US and that’s where I learnt more about cooking and eating fresh and what a bowl full of salad can do to our health and appetite,” says Soujanya. After that the couple shifted base to India. For Soujanya there is no thinking twice about taste and quality. Strict use of local ingredients and seasonal produce is the healthy mantra for her. Soujnaya makes use of local green leafy vegetables and vegetables for her soups. So how about gongura or a gangabailu soup? “You name it, we have it.”