People assume I must be a huge foodie, to have started a website like MealTango. But here’s the cold- hard- bitter- truth: I was NOT a foodie!!
Do I have a greater understanding of food now? Sure! But the motivations behind starting MealTango were not for a want of fancy food. Read on to know more.
Rewind to 2005. I sat in a Boeing 777 on a rainy day in Mumbai. I was flying to the USA for a short assignment. Little did I know that this six month assignment would extend into a six year one.
Like every good Indian traveller, I was carrying a ‘Prestige Pressure Cooker’ in my bag, and I was confident I would learn to cook, or at least get by on pizzas, sandwiches and Italian food in general… After all we ate out at all those restaurants, right?
But I soon realised how unprepared I was for food.
Cooking, I soon realized, may be pleasurable and relaxing for some others. But I hated it. With a passion!
Eating out every day proved to be inherently expensive. Even boring. And the food at the Indian restaurants… just wasn’t the same thing. It came to a point where every time I boarded a flight to India, I was thinking… “Home Food!”
And so all my meetings with friends back home in Pune, India, would be over a freshly made home fare: Daal chawal and pickle, idli chutney with butter, hot tea with pakoras, or a North Indian peas pulao dinner.
And each time I returned I dearly missed the delicious flavours from back home.
Eight years on, I had now moved to the UK, completed an MBA from a well known university, and was now working in London. My wife, Neeta, joined me (hoorray! she cooks and loves to feed me!), and we started hosting travellers in our home through sites like 9 flats, couch surfing and Airbnb.
We then had a host of international travellers who crashed with us. One day, however, an Indian movie producer dropped by.
On this day, Neeta was making an irresistible Indian breakfast – Aloo parathas, served with butter, pickles, and tea.
So I asked our traveller friend if he’d like to join us. To which I got a delighted “yes, sure!”
And as he dined with me, we noticed how much he was savouring each bite.
Later that evening, when we were roaming our neighbourhood in Angel, London, Neeta said, “Why don’t we do something so people can easily get authentic dishes from homes wherever they go”.
Given how much I’d missed good home food, and remembering how our guest had dined with gusto – I couldn’t have agreed more.
After some deliberation, we decided to embark on creating what’s now called “MealTango”.
Home chef Perzen (aka Bawi Bride) with Damodar (CEO, Reliance Retail), Bela (chef), Jyot (Social Entrepreneur), Sangeeta (Author), Rochelle (Author), friends and Founders Saket and Neeta!
And so, like I said, I was NOT a foodie. Just a plebeian who loved flavors from back home.
Until next time….