Just when you thought you had seen all there was to see in speciality chefs, food and tech and startups … there is a new trend emerging, one that aims to bring people together and not just order remotely and be done with it. We all have certain cuisines we just love or want to lay our hands on but get a chance only once in a blue moon like when there is a Parsi colleague’s wedding and you can finally feast on their extravagant sweet and spicy flavours. Or you are dying for the original taste of Coorgi pandi curry but would have to cart yourself to Coorg every time you dream of it. Even the more easily accessible Tamilian feast served on a banana leaf seems to be losing its way to mass wedding cooking tastes.
So now we have… chef hosted meals! I recently came across two ventures that are attempting to bring people together for good food, great stories and a whole lot of authenticity.
LikeMind aims to give chefs a chance to cook food they are passionate about and host people in the warmth and comfort of their own homes. Similarly it lets strangers and acquaintances become friends and bond over a cuisine they love or want to experience. At Likemind.in you can view the upcoming events and book a seat at the table or as a host you can create your own event for others to discover and sign up for.
You can explore the event details including a note on the experience you can expect, the Chef’s bio and the menu. Typically the events are for 2-3 hours and booking in groups of 10 people.There’s also a note on the event format covering how the Host Chef would like to run the event – minimum number of guests, whether the host and family will join at the table and what you can expect.
Arguably this is a much richer experience than just finding a restaurant that serves the food you are looking for. The idea is to genuinely expose the guests to the nuances of the food and culture associated with it and let strangers form a bond over a good meal. I must admit, as a Host, you would really be signing up for a bunch of strangers at your home and hoping that the guests are true connoisseurs of food but here is some bit of connect and verification that happens before the event with the organiser, host and guests interacting over phone etc to share more details about each other.
Another similar venture is DoorNo., it “connects guest diners with local hosts over home-cooked meals.” Through their app or site you can explore food related events listed by local hosts and held at their home or a small restaurant or maybe even a public space. The idea is to create a social dining community over a common love for food and friendships. DoorNo uses an invite code system where you need to be invited by someone who has already been a guest, to help pre-screen the guests. Their website also has more detailed information on the safety aspect and how hosts and guests are pre-screened and their Facebook profile and verified ids are used to authenticate. The profile of hosts is leaning a little more towards professional chefs and the nature of events include events for small groups like classes or tours also.
They even had a Walk and Breakfast by Samar Harlankar (Editor at Hindustan Times, regular Mint columnist and author of Married Man in the Kitchen)! What’s not to love!
So now Bangalore is home to the new social dining experience. It looks like a wonderful way to connect those who love to cook and share their culture and food stories with those who are looking for a home-cooked, special menu and a chance to make new friends. Some of these cuisines may not be commercially viable as a full-fledged restaurant in your city and it also allows the host to let you experience unknown delicacies and treasures unique to that place but not available in a regular restaurant.
To talk to the author over the phone, click here.