Most of us want to whip up exquisite dishes made on Masterchef and other cooking shows. The chefs create a beautiful recipe and we are eager to recreate them for dinner. And then starts the search for the ingredients. From one outlet to another we drive in search of it. I have given up too many times for lack of ingredients to create the dish that I intend to. The other issue always is buying large quantities of spices, vegetables and not knowing what to do with the left overs.
The concept of iChef aims at satisfying your craving for that fancy meal. One fine day, craving for some gourmet food and I decided to look up online to see if I can get to sample something different. I stumbled upon iChef and I was amazed with the concept. iChef is not just your regular restaurant delivery service but channelizes your inner Nigella or Ramsay. It puts the ‘i’ before the chef quite literally. You are the creator of the dish and they provide you with all the ingredients and recipes to cook them at your own pace at home.
With such curiosity I decided to order the two best-selling dishes of the week, Kung Pao Chicken Tacos and Khow Suey. Now Khow Suey is an unique recipe because not many restaurants actually serve it in my area and also the ones I have eaten around aren’t as authentic as they should be.
The delivery came right around dinner time. Neatly packaged ingredients with fresh herbs and sauces. I quickly opened the yellow curry paste container and it tasted fresh. The kaffir leaves and other veggies were all crisp and fresh too. They send you the exact recipe to follow step-wise along with the ingredients and this makes cooking the dish so much easier. While the pot of water was put to boil the noodles on the stove, I sat down to cut the carrots, capsicum, chillies for the Khow Suey.
Once the noodles had been cooked and drained & after cooling with cold water, they were kept aside. To the pan, added the cut vegetables with addition of all the spices and Pre-mixed curry paste. Added coconut milk and the stock powder which were part of the kit. Once the mixture had started to thicken, the noodles were added to be cooked along for a few minutes. Garnished with Basil and peanuts to enhance the taste and I had a complete meal ready in less than 30 minutes.
iChef is an inspiration of it’s US counterparts like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh and brings the same fresh gourmet food to reality in Mumbai. Sneha Arya, the person behind ichef decided to share with us more about iChef. Below is some excerpts of the talk I had with her.
FD: What made you launch iChef?
Sneha: After I graduated from university and came back to India in April last year, I found a gap between demand and supply of gourmet ingredients. I would often plan dinners at my house where I wanted to make something fancy to wow my guests but found it extremely arduous to do so in India. I particularly remember that for my birthday, I wanted to make a Mediterranean salad which needed feta cheese and zaatar spice, both of which were extremely hard to find. I ended up finding zaatar spice only in Crawford Market which came at an exorbitant price of Rs 1500/Kg. I only wanted to use 50 gram but the minimum packaging I had to buy was 1 kg so I was left with 950 grams of an extremely expensive spice that I never used again.
After doing some research online, I came across the meal-kit delivery concept that was extremely popular in the West. I asked a couple of my friends in the US to try one of these services and they absolutely loved it. My brother, Chirag Arya, had recently started a chain of restaurants called Wok in the Box so I already had a foot in the door.
FD: How do you select the recipes and who curates them?
Sneha: We list 6 different recipes every week – 3 veg and 3 non veg. We decide our recipes two weeks in advance. The chef and the management team together ideate on the recipes and we shortlist meals on a variety of factors. Some of the factors are analytically drawn from past dishes, seasonal ingredients, global festivals, recipes trending online and popularity of cuisines. We have two full time chefs, Shehzade Daruwala and Ajit Mhatre who have extensive work experience and exposure working with different cuisines.
FD: From where do you source your ingredients because we noticed the extra care which was taken to maintain the freshness of the ingredients in the meal kit?
Sneha: We believe in working with the local community and all the vegetables and fruits are supplied by local farms directly. For exotic dry ingredients, we work with a range of major distributors across the country.
iChef definitely makes for a very unique concept of bringing the different cuisines of the world under one portal: made by you, for you. Imagine surprising your date or your friends with your cooking skills to their surprise. We have also tried their Buffalo Chicken Wings and Kung Pao Chicken Tacos and have been elated every single time with the results. They change their menu every week thus giving a chance to be trying our hand at different dishes every other time.
Visit – iChef.in
Contact – 022-65680555. They deliver all over Mumbai.
Drop in a comment to tell us how your experience was if you have tried them.