Hello, Foodies and Buddies!
We have a special Chef of the Week column for you this week featuring Chef Neeraj Maliwal – one of the most beloved chefs from Republic of Whitefield – and also one of the quickest to reach the 1000 Meals Sold Milestone on FoodyBuddy!
As we got started Chef Neeraj had a great quote to share with us. He said, “‘If a woman works full time, she doesn’t become any less homely and if a man enters the kitchen, he doesn’t lack ambition.’” We completely agree with you, sir!
We got started by asking Chef Neeraj how he got started on FoodyBuddy and he replied, “‘Have patience and wait for the things you want the most.’ While my wife was looking out to pick the right moment to stage my passion for cooking, FoodyBuddy knocked on our door and here we are. Out of my monotonous life of office and home, I always had the vigour to cook and make something distinctive in taste.”
And, all of us here are very thankful that you brought your amazing talents to our platform!
Having reached the 1000 Meals Sold Milestone so quickly, we quizzed Chef Neeraj on what keeps him motivated and inspired to keep selling.
He said, “While managing my office work along with home, it becomes difficult for me to spend good time in trying new dishes and continue being part of the FoodyBuddy team. By the end of serving my last order, I always say, ‘Bas ab thak gaya hu mein!’. And the moment I hear from someone saying, ‘Neeraj, we love your food! We would like to have it again tomorrow’, it brings that spark in me to stand on my feet again and prepare myself for the next day. Especially, when my wife says, ‘You are so passionate and that’s why you are my favourite chef’. She means it and it is the best thing to hear. I then feel lucky that I can keep my profession and passion alive together.”
Chef Neeraj is obviously talented but what are his specialities? He responded with a smile, “Specialty…Haha! I am not sure as I still feel my best is yet to come! However, based on people’s feedback and demand, I think Bread Roll, Hung Curd Sandwich, Chola Tikki, Rajasthani Khatta Meetha Poha, Crispy Corn, Paneer Bhurji, Rajasthani Daal Bati, and definitely, the drinks – Cold Coffee with Ice cream, Chocolate Oreo Milk Shake, and Buttermilk are my favourites. As I remember, once a small girl called me, saying ‘Neeraj Bhaiya, I love your Oreo Milkshake!’ made my day.”
And what about his most popular dishes?
“Most popular dish, I would say Rajasthani Khatta Meetha Poha and Bread Roll, which I feel people mostly demand and order, whenever I prepare. It feels immense pleasure when I receive a request separately for any of the dishes.”
Chef Neeraj is one of the most well-loved chefs from his community so has he had any special interactions with his Foodies?
“When it comes to interacting with the Foodies, I would like to share some stories that are unforgettable for me. In the initial days, one of our buyers was surprised to hear that I – a guy – cook. He came thrice to our house to ask, ‘Bhai, do you really cook? Like everything?’ and we kept on convincing him,” he said with a laugh.
Chef Neeraj continued, “I am from Rajasthan and Dal Baati is my favourite meal. Once a lady called me and said, ‘Your Dal Baati is the best in the whole world. People are missing a big thing in life if they haven’t tried it yet.’ I was overwhelmed. But, my biggest achievement was when one day, a senior citizen messaged me, saying ‘Neeraj! You have magic in your hands. I am a fan of your dish, Crispy Corns’. Such a senior lady appreciating my food left an indelible impression on me.”
From the stories above you can just how much Chef Neeraj’s cooking is enjoyed and appreciated!
Does Chef Neeraj have any advice for other new Buddies looking to make an impact on FoodyBuddy?
“I would give only two tips for a new Buddy. One, cook what you love and not just for the purpose of selling – only then will you enjoy the dish with relish. And two, bring your own forte and that’s where you will ace it!”
Great advice, Chef Neeraj!
And what future plans are in store for Chef Neeraj? He replied, “Through FoodyBuddy, people have started knowing my speciality in party snacks and drinks. It feels spectacular when receiving party orders. And thereby, moving in future, I want to keep cooking and share my dishes for kids’ parties with much conviction. I always feel ‘Cooking is the greatest gift you can give to those you love.’”
Finally, Chef Neeraj had this to say in closing, “I want to share a very important point here. Sometimes, its startling surprise to see my name as the only male chef on the list. But, it pokes me when people say to my wife, ‘You are so lucky. You have a personal chef.’ Nonetheless, I feel everyone has a personal chef in their house. This is a stereotype in our society that a girl should cook in the house but are we underestimating the skill of a man regarding cooking or it is difficult to accept a man cooking in the house? Instead of asking a girl, ‘Don’t you cook?’, praise the other talents of her. I would just request every reader, ‘Go home today and thank the chef of your house. Feel lucky to have them.’ And, if anyone of you does that, please leave a comment and if possible, describe their expressions!”
“Lastly, I want to thank the amazing cooks around me – my mother, my mother-in-law, and my two sisters. Last but not least, the one who holds my hand, truly believes in me, and takes me to my dreams, my buddy – Smriti, thank you very much,” he finished.
Thank you so much for such inspiring and loving words, Chef Neeraj, it was a pleasure to do this feature on you! All the very best to you going forward 🙂
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