Six ladies cooks at a chef’s desk

A couple of ladies cooks in Hyderabad met to dine, unwind, and talk about work and loopy orders

A couple of ladies cooks in Hyderabad met to dine, unwind, and talk about work and loopy orders

Taking a break from the kitchen, six ladies cooks met over lunch at Simply South, Jubilee Hills, hosted by chef Chalapathi Rao. Chalapati wished to salute feminine cooks for making a mark in a male-dominated trade. The crew at Simply South wished the cooks to chill out on a working day, eat on time and meet up with fellow professionals. Among the ladies current have been two skilled cooks, two house cooks and a chocolatier. There was sous chef Sanjam Chattwani of Trident, Hyderabad, pastry chef Tulika Singh of ITC Kakatiya, Chocolatier Deepa Reddy of Fonce, Home Chef Anjum of Anjum’s Kitchen Craft, Home Chef Samyra Ruheen of Ruheen’s Kitchen and first-ever GraspChef India- Telugu (Season) 1) winner Okay Krishna Tejaswi.

Chef Chalapati says, “There are apprehensions about women entering the commercial kitchen owing to a number of factors, including the long working hours. However, women have entered this field and made a mark too.”

With so many chefs at one table with a common interest, can a discussion on food and recipes be far behind? Apart from exchanging some pro-tips to make garam masala, their favorite dishes and work, the women also wanted to learn about Chalapati Rao’s chicken recipe without tomato and chillies. Chalapati’s idea behind that recipe was to go back to the way our ancestors consumed food before tomatoes and chillies were introduced in India.

Talking about challenges at work, the women say the working hours are not an issue except when requests like grilled fish without butter and oil or requests for egg-less macaroons come in. The women also discussed at length, the vegetarian options in Indian cuisine. Chef Sanjam from Trident said she was taken by surprise with Chef Bala’s (a home chef from Chennai) raw banana fritter as a starter. “That was one dish that made me, a professional chef, think of the options we can innovate and rethink with Indian vegetables. The emphasis on eat-local is the right step towards going back to our recipes and ingredients.”

Chef Tulika from ITC Kakatiya stated her respect for house cooks has gone up due to the stress they endure. “Working from home requires multitasking. The home needs to be managed even while food orders have to go on time. Add to this, the stress of chopping, cleaning and sourcing the right ingredients. At restaurant kitchens, it’s teamwork and work is segregated, which isn’t the case with home chefs.”

Home chef Anjum, a lawyer, took to cooking on an enormous scale through the lockdown to assist neighbors. Now she takes get together orders and finds cooking extra rewarding than being a lawyer. Will she take into account swapping her chef’s apron for the lawyer’s cloak? She laughs, “I don’t think so.”

They have been all intrigued with Tejaswi’s journey to GraspChef. Her grit and willpower to pursue what she loves made her stop her job and overlook in regards to the different tutorial levels she had earned. She began as a house baker and likes to prepare dinner new dishes as a problem. Tejaswi says, “I try till the time I succeed and feel good about the final product.”

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