Home-Cooked Meal Is Now Greatly Valued
Forbes India|May 21, 2021
The pandemic has also brought with it an improved focus on hygiene, use of technology in dining, rise of cloud kitchens and resurgence in popularity of Indian ingredients
Sanjeev Kapoor

I have been part of the food & beverage (F&B) industry for over three decades. I have seen many changes, some good, some not so good, but never could I have imagined that there would be an event in my lifetime that would put India’s F&B service industry in dire straits. Business has been put to ransom by the pandemic. But I still continue to believe the virus is just another hurdle in this race of life.

It may be a temporary bump and would surely cost a lot, the cost being not only money, but also lives and livelihood. I would say that this is a ‘detox programme’ designed by nature, and each one of us will come out of it stronger. It will take some time to get back on the road and resume businesses at the same pace again but there’s no reason to believe that it won’t be back to normal. People have started to adjust to the ‘new normal’ and we have seen some huge modifications in our industry.

Let’s look at some key trends that have emerged during the pandemic and continue to flourish:

HYGIENE, A TOP PRIORITY

When we talk about the food industry, the main concern for most people since the pandemic began is safety. One of the most appreciated changes is sanitised services at restaurants, which in my opinion, should be continued now and forever. Right from the pani puri walas to renowned chefs at fancy dine-ins, everyone is wearing gloves, masks and hairnets to ensure maximum safety and sanitisation. The staff is trained to frequently sanitise surroundings and tables for guests at restaurants. Even at gatherings and weddings, waiters are trained and equipped with solid supplies to serve the guests most hygienically.

CONCEPT OF ‘NAKED KITCHENS’

The next trend that is exciting and is here to stay is the concept of ‘naked kitchens’. This is where the kitchen has a full-public view and people can see food being cooked in front of their eyes. This view will level up the public’s confidence in that particular eatery and give them a sense of satisfaction while enjoying their food. For the longest time, one of my biggest concerns of dining out has been unhygienic kitchens in our country that are below acceptable standards. I am extremely thrilled about this new concept and I strongly believe that it should be continued and followed everywhere. I hope, wish and pray that this trend grows exponentially.

HOME-COOKED FOOD = THE REAL DEAL

Cooking is therapeutic and this pandemic has proved it. When the country was in a state of complete lockdown, everyone donned their aprons and experimented in their kitchens. These ‘quarantine chefs’ came up with new and exciting trends which were ‘gram-worthy’. And even after the lockdown was over, people kept this trend going and preferred to eat home-made food instead of dining out or ordering restaurant food. I feel that everyone has understood and realised the true value of a simple home-cooked meal. This newfound respect for home-cooked food is here to stay.

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