From Home-Chef to Master-Chef

“Rupa, can you make masala khichadi today? My stomach is upset”, an old shaky voice screeched from the bedroom.

Aai, missal banauyana! Let’s eat spicy missal today!”, a young girl cried.

“No Aai, make spinach today. I want to be like Popeye!”, the boy cut off his sister.

“Make whatever you want for dinner, but for dessert, I am craving for some rasgulla, what say dearie?”, Rupa’s loving husband Arvind cooed from the bathroom. Rupa giggled at all the suggestions and joked about running a hotel and not a household. The loving home erupted with roaring laughter and such was the life of Rupa Arvind Bhide. 

She was a homemaker and she enjoyed cooking; trying out new dishes and posting them on her social media. All her colony friends and relatives loved her scrumptious meals and appreciated her culinary skills.

The happiness of the Bhide family had reduced, however, when the pandemic hit their beautiful home. Everything had suddenly turned gloomy and dark. No one laughed, everyone was on their phones, scrolling down the endless tunnel of the internet. For Rupa, this was as saddening as for the world. As for any chef, Rupa also thrived on the noises of relish when people realised the minute nuances and appreciated her food. Not having her family notice her effort sometimes left her with a hollow. 

Without another option, Rupa also started spending more time with her phone. “If you want more people to notice you and shower you with likes, you need to up your IG game!”, Shriya, her 15-year-old child, often chimed while she was clicking photos of her food. ‘IG?’ she wondered. ‘Instagram Ma!’ came the fed-up response. She would laugh at her daughter then, but the lock-down inspired Rupa to dig deeply into her Instagram account. 

One day, she saw her friend’s account filled with her home-cooked food pictures. She saw the likes and comments that followed her posts, and a spark ran through her. She knew, in all humility, that her food looked and tasted much better. Instagram involved aesthetics, decoration, and a precise recipe to share with the readers, all of which Rupa was great at. The decision was hence made. She was going to create an Instagram page for her food. 

The preparation started. She looked through all her diaries for the recipes that she had written down over the years. Nostalgia filled her up, and she began to enjoy the journey even without sight of where this would take her. After reading through hundreds of pages, she zeroed in on making a peppy paneer Pizza right from scratch, including the bread base. 

The next question was to get all the necessary groceries and vegetables. LoveLocal, the online platform that Rupa relied on for all her food choices, came in handy for this too. She ordered pizza-special mozzarella cheese and yeast from her reliable neighbourhood shop listed on the platform and also used it to buy the vegetables and paneer she was going to need for the dish. The exquisite Italian herbs also came in handy, and her faith that LoveLocal was the best place to find grocery stores in Mumbai was reinstated.

LoveLocal helped her save time that would otherwise be spent in going from shop to shop to look for the right vegetables and groceries. Once her order arrived, she carefully framed all ingredients and began the process. Soon, she finished baking her cheese burst pizza, topped with olives, cherry tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, baby corn, and paneer of course. As the first one came out of the oven, her family members were dragged to the dining table as she was plating it to take a picture. 

Rupa smiled as all of them gathered around her, waiting for her to serve. Rupa gave her phone to Shriya and told her to click a superb photo of the dish from different angles. Delighted, Shriya lifted the pizza and everybody unanimously gasped at the stringiness of the cheese.

Rupa continued to click candidly as the family enjoyed the Pizza. She posted those pictures along with the photos of her home-cooked Pizza and received raving reviews and likes. This journey continued and Chinese, Mughlai, and continental recipes filled her Instagram page on a regular basis.

Her family was happy to have delicious delicacies every day and the comments and engagement on her page helped her get the feeling of appreciation she had been missing for a long time. She could easily source all necessary ingredients from LoveLocal and all her energy was preserved to do what she loved most, cooking and feeding her loved ones. Soon her Instagram page became a benchmark for all home chefs and that was exactly a by-product of the love she had for food!