With Cooking in her DNA, Anjali Patak cooks up new fashion for Flavour Diaries
31st, March 2018 - Featured entrepreneur
Flavour Diaries is an interactive space for foodies located in Bandra, Mumbai. Flavour Diaries allows for hands-on cooking classes to explore, learn various flavoured cuisines.
In an interview with Startupsjourney, Anjali speaks about being a foodie, her experience and Flavour Diaries
You hold a business degree and have an immense amount of experience in the family business. Could you tell us something about yourself before Flavour Diaries?
I have always been a huge foodie and recognised my calling in life from a young age. Every conversation around the family dining table centred around food and the food business my parents were building – Patak’s. I loved hearing tales of their travels and my mother’s recipe testing and always knew I wanted to be part of their legacy. I spent many school holidays working at the office and gained invaluable experience for the life I was to pursue.
What was the eureka moment? How was the idea of Flavour Diaries conceived?
I had always wanted to own my cookery school after thoroughly enjoying a previous cookery teaching job for Jamie Oliver in London. I would visit India often, and Mumbai was always my first port of call before flying to other cities for food-related work. One of my business trips was over a weekend, and as I searched for fun foodie activities in the city, I was sorely disappointed with my choices. I love learning new skills and have been a firm believer you can never learn enough in our lifetime. I had my eureka moment! I thought ‘Wouldn’t it be lovely to have foodie fun with like-minded strangers, learning from an expert in a beautiful kitchen’. This sparked the genesis idea of food events, chefs table experiences and cooking with friends. I felt compelled to explore this further, and within six months I had packed my bags and moved from London to Mumbai.
How has the journey been so far, what are the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
The journey has been incredible. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions; test of personal tolerances; and I’ve encountered more challenges than I ever imagined. My first learning was at the beginning of Flavour Diaries when I was building my space. I did not anticipate the level of micromanagement necessary to conquer my low-level OCD. I spent longer on site than I had hoped but it was indeed worth it. I’ve never felt prouder of what I built, and I am grateful for all my hard work and perseverance. Each new day brings new challenges, but each one makes me stronger and resilient to the next.
You have been raised in the UK, and your family is known for taking Indian cuisine all over the world whereas you are doing just the reverse by infusing international flavours in India. What are the differences you have seen between the two places concerning the food habits and the market?
England has an incredible food scene and has become more International in its food habits over the recent years. I feel India is the same and is embracing International cuisine. India also heroes local cuisine and there are many talented chefs and restaurants sharing a recipe from our ancestors. This is the main difference between the UK and India. At Flavour Diaries I wanted to share my recipes, recipes from my ancestors, recipes from my past, and recipes for armchair foodie travellers. I use flavours from my childhood, techniques learnt from culinary school and recipes I have created from my experiences and travelled to infuse Mumbai with tastes from around the world. I want India to see food through my eyes.
Can you throw some light on how correctly Flavour Diaries work? How do you manage to minimise the wastage but still keep up the freshness and quality of ingredients?
Flavour Diaries is a low wastage operation, and we use leftover ingredients for staff food. This is common at most restaurants. We also create a lot of nutrient-rich power juices for those veggies that are just past their best. I am getting into composting and will soon be using other food waste to ensure we get closer to zero food waste. I buy all ingredients from the best vendors in town to ensure I have the best quality for my dishes. Recipes only taste as good as their ingredients!
Which strata of people do you target for the classes? Who are your customers?
I’ve always been a firm believer that there is a foodie inside each of us and there is something for everyone at Flavour Diaries, whether it is a children’s class for those little master chefs, a cookery class for hobby cooks, groups of friends that want to have foodie fun, or guests wishing to have a chefs table experience sharing a meal together.
Could you please tell us something about the open kitchen concept you are implementing?
Flavour Diaries is an interactive food events space designed for guests to indulge and delight in International cuisine. We share recipes over hands-on cookery classes, host chefs table experiences and offer British Afternoon Tea.
Which achievements do you consider to be the most motivating and turning points in your life?
Before Flavour Diaries my most significant achievement was writing my cookbook ‘Secrets from My Indian Family Kitchen’. I will always remember the day I ripped open the package containing the first copy hot off the publishing press. Seeing my recipes come to life on a page was an indescribable feeling. I will never get tired of receiving lovely messages from cooks across the world who try my recipes and share their joy, and I still love seeing the International translations of my cookbook – it is every food writers dream. Writing a cookbook has opened many doors for me, and it leads me to Mumbai to start my biggest adventure – Flavour Diaries.
Can you tell us something about your books? What do they comprise of briefly?
My first cookbook was co-written with my mother over a decade ago to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our family food business – Patak’s. My latest book shares recipes I love and have loved during my food life, using spices to add flavour. Not only does it share recipes but you will also find photos from my family album and recipes passed down through the generations in my family. It is a recipe memoir packed with bright food pictures and yummy recipes from cuisines around the world.
Who do you think is your biggest competitor in this industry and what is your unique selling point that outclasses other competitors?
Our only competitors would be other establishments offering cookery classes. In Mumbai, Flavour Diaries is the first school to offer hands-on cookery classes, giving all my students their cookery station and delivering professional tuition in a luxury environment. We have built a strong reputation offering a truly fun food experience with innovation, and I look forward to our exciting future ahead.
What are your future plans and targets?
I hope to take Flavour Diaries to other cities in India and eventually take us overseas. I am also working on my next cookbook and am continuing sharing my recipes and love of food through the media and television.
Website: Flavour Diaries
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