Hello, Foodies and Buddies!
Welcome to the final Chef of the theWeek column for the month of May where Chef Geeta from Goodearth Kengeri takes her rightful place in the spotlight! Chef Geeta is one of the top chefs on the entire platform and she has completed nearly 2000 Meals on FoodyBuddy!
We caught up with Chef Geeta for an insightful interview and it was quite an amazing experience.
In her own words, Chef Geeta described her start on FoodyBuddy saying, “The society where we stay is a bit off the mainstream city tadka. There are not many viable food options around, as it is on the outskirts of the city. So, a neighbour of mine and I came together with a plan to start a community initiative of a pop-up cafe. Each house in our amazingly planned society, tells a story with its rustic space. So the plan was that anyone who likes to cook could host neighbours as per their comfort and interest. Being full-time professionals, we were not able to give the time we would have wanted to refine the process and operations. One day I was discussing this idea with one of my colleagues and she happened to mention Foodybuddy. I came home and did my research and it was a eureka moment. Next thing I remember is having discussions with the community members and the FoodyBuddy team!”
It is through Chef Geeta’s efforts that FoodyBuddy is such a resounding success in Goodearth Kengeri and the residents are able to enjoy delicious homemade food regularly!
And despite having sold nearly 2000 Meals, Chef Geeta’s passion has never waned. She has been inspired to continue selling from a place of caring.
“Being raised in a joint family I got to learn a lot about herbs and spices and their medicinal use as my grandfather was an Ayurvedic doctor and used to treat patients suffering from chronic diseases who used to visit him from all across the country. My granny was the most wonderful chef I knew and she would prepare the meals in accordance with the treatment my grandfather used to decide. I was her favourite and was in the kitchen playing with things when I was as little as 3 years old. Later, I went on to do my graduation with a major in food science and nutrition. Having this zeal to explore new food not just to eat but to prepare, I always have cooked for friends and family whenever an opportunity presented itself.”
“Thanks to FoodyBuddy, I have the platform to explore the food and express myself through it further. The community I live in also plays a big part in inspiring me. The ideology of the community is echoed in the concept of FoodyBuddy at so many levels that it receives a warm and swift welcome. Being the one to introduce FoodyBuddy in the community, I feel an onus to ensure that the initiative keeps going on and at the same time in doing my bit for the cause that everyone should have access to home cooked healthy food,” explained Chef Geeta.
Chef Geeta is an avid chef and she told us about her specialities and favourite dishes to make.
She said, “My favourite is regional country food. I love to learn and prepare the regional dishes of India while keeping an authentic taste. There is so much beauty in preparing a variety of dishes with the same ingredients. Trying your hand at age-old recipes, and understanding the value of the process, time, utensils and techniques in these old recipes is mesmerising!
“I love making Sweets, Curries, Breads, Chaats from different regions of India like North Karnataka, Bihar, Mangalore, the Godavari Region, Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat, UP, and Maharashtra. That’s the reason, I don’t generally offer standard dishes again and again. Cooking so many different things, sometimes they get accepted but other times the tummy wants what it has tried and tested!”
What a wonderful perspective on the art of cooking 🙂
Chef Geeta also has a unique way to keep her Foodies’ interests at the heart of her cooking. Speaking about her most popular dishes, she said, “There are a few dishes like Chaats, Snacks, and Salads that are enjoyed a lot. However, as I enjoy cooking different dishes, I offer a ‘Combo of the Day’ option to my Foodies. Here, they have the full freedom to customise the combo and so it makes it a favourite both for me and the people. There have been times when the same person has ordered it for a month to try out all the options that I will offer in the combo!”
Chef Geeta cares a great deal about her Foodies and they certainly reciprocate the sentiment. Speaking about special interactions with her buyers, Chef Geeta said, “Oh, there are so many. Foodybuddy has really brought that appreciation box in my cooking life!
“People in our society are so generous and all of us chefs are grateful for that. I believe that you can not cook at your best 100% of the time. But till date, I haven’t come across anybody anytime who has said anything negative though praises follow through all the mediums like WhatsApp group comments or testimonials on the app or personal messages, face to face recognition, and so on.
“One time someone posted in a group that getting a dish from me is like buying a ticket from the tatkal railway. The window is short and you have to be at your best fastest skills to get it,” she said with a laugh.
She continued, “I am grateful that as many dishes I intend to prepare, are always well-received by people. Sometimes people surprise me by making my favourite dishes for me. It becomes overwhelming many a time.”
“Many of the parents who order say that their kids eat double the quantity when I cook for them when they thought their kid was a fussy eater. With my Phulkas people say that I use a special Aata or that I use a circle cutter to make them all round and of the same size. Some have even come to watch me make them.
“However, interactions that moved me a lot are when once, kids from the neighbouring families wanted to have Phulkas. Now thinking that 4-5 kids below 10 years will eat only a little, I prepared 15 Phulkas. By the time I was done with the 15th, the Phulka box was empty. I realised then that these kids are not going to stop and so I ended up doing 15 more Phulkas. Their parents told me that nothing would make them happier than their kids eating this heartful!”
“The Second most wild moment has been when someone changed the date of a gathering when they got to know that I am travelling and not available to cook. They said they wanted to serve my food to their guests and so would delay their coming rather than miss my food. I could not believe someone could do that for my food.”
Absolutely amazing stories, Chef Geeta! Thanks so much for sharing them with us 🙂
When asked about what advice she would have for new Buddies, Chef Geeta said, “Make sure that you are into it for the love and joy of cooking. It is the only way you would give your best every day despite all the setbacks, challenges and tiredness. And only when you give your best in terms of quality, taste, quantity and service, your food will be cherished and bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart.”
“Compliments, money, communication, recognition and all such things are the perks of doing it and not the reasons. The burnt hands, hours toiling work, standing for the whole day, running to shops at odd hours for ingredients, delayed or early pick up requests, continuous engagement with people can only be done on a daily basis with happiness if you enjoy what you are doing,” she concluded.
Chef Geeta also sees food as a very real possibility in terms of her future. “Till very recently, I had been in a full-time profession. People around me think my calling is in the food sector. I’m currently relishing my break by exploring my passion for food and I am enjoying cooking for my people here,” she explained.
And finally, Chef Geeta provided some closing words. She said, “You guys are the best in supporting and providing a useful platform. Keep up the great work. All the power to the team!”
Thank you so much for such kind words, Chef Geeta, and a special thanks for providing us with such detailed answers and insights! Everyone here at FoodyBuddy wishes you all the very best going forward and thanks you for being such a special part of our journey 🙂