Meet the top 10 finalists for Maggi India and IFN's Apna Food Business campaign
How a campaign created a platform for home chefs to pursue their culinary goals
It's safe to say that the pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on lives all over the world. While this has had catastrophic impacts on the economy and changed the way we live, for some, it has given them the luxury of time. Several people have had the opportunity to kick back and do things that they've always wanted to do. In the food space alone, this comes through in the rise of home chefs and small businesses.
To celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit of home chefs and budding food entrepreneurs, Maggi India launched a competition in collaboration with India Food Network to give you the ''Desh Ke Liye 2 Min - Apna Food Business'' initiative. After experiencing rigorous online food modules, conducted by industry experts, exams and a thorough selection process, we have finally reached the last leg of this exciting adventure.
Out of the 10,000 applications that came in, 10 made it through. And this is your chance to get to know them and be a part of their journey.
Kavya Cherakulam: A big foodie herself, Cherakulam grew up watching her mother cook and following Indian YouTube food channels. Talking to us about how she feels to be part of the top 10, she says, "It's like a dream come true. I have never participated in any online contest, but when I saw the advertisement for the Apna Food Business Challenge, I immediately registered. I am very excited about this opportunity.''
Anubha Gupta: After working as an academician for 18 years, Anubha Gupta found her true calling in the kitchen. "To be shortlisted in the top 250 out of 8000 entries was a huge achievement in itself. This, followed by online sessions with industry experts was a great learning, too. Being part of the top 10 has really boosted my confidence,'' she shares.
Tejal Ganacharya Rao: Rao started her food journey during her time in the US. Craving the taste of home, she started experimenting in the kitchen and soon discovered that it brought her great joy. "I started experimenting with ingredients and realised that I enjoy cooking as much as I enjoy eating,'' she says. When asked how she came up with her unique Maggi recipe, she says, "White sauce pasta has always been a hit in my family and I like to add my own twist. I combined coconut milk and pasta and that's how the recipe emerged."
Tanaya Das: After seeing both her parents' passion for food, Das, too, grew fond of cooking. Her mutton chaanp recipe–which Das spruced up with Maggi's magic masala tastemaker cubes is what led her to the final. "I am stoked. I worked really hard in every stage of the contest and it's been worth it. I can't thank Maggi and IFN enough,'' she tells us.
Ananthalakshmi Ragi: ''My first cooking memory goes back to my school days where I took part in a cooking contest,'' Ragi recalls, who finds herself heavily inspired by TV cooking shows like MasterChef India. Talking about the competition, she says, ''Getting selected to be among the top 10 out of 8000+ participants, across India, seems unreal. I am on cloud nine.''
Shanta Netram: Netram grew up in an old and large family house in Meerut and traces her love for food back to her childhood, where she observed the women in her family cook everyday. "Food was about sharing happiness, long conversations and genuine appreciation in my home," she shares. Talking about the Apna Food Business initiative, she adds, ''I would say, for every genuine home chef like me, this is a great acknowledgement.''
Shreya Mundra: Mundra's interest in food only grew with time. For her unique Maggi recipe, this participant made Mexican theplas with one of Maggi India's most loved products, the Maggi 2-Minute Noodles. "It felt so surreal seeing my name on the website when the top 10 were announced. For the first 30 minutes, I kept rechecking the website just to make sure I wasn't dreaming," she says, speaking about making it to the top 10.
Heba Qureshi: Watching her mum experiment with various recipes is what fuelled Qureshi's passion for food. "To have my talent recognised on such a huge platform motivates me to work harder towards my goals. This competition provides me with the opportunity to boost my career,'' she tells us.
Prashansa Satapathy: From mimicking chef Sanjeev Kapoor with her set of plastic utensils to making it to the Top 10 of the Apna Food Business competition - it has been an enthralling journey for this participant. Elaborating on the experience, she says, "I don't have the words to express my happiness and gratitude. I am thankful to Maggi India and India Food Network for creating this platform and helping me shape my thoughts to start my own food business.''
Sarvangi Gharat: With a career as a beautician, Sarvangi never imagined following her dream of a career in food. "The lockdown pushed me to start my own food business as there was no other source of income. And with time, I started enjoying the process even more,'' she confides. "I never imagined accomplishing something so big in my life. It motivates me to continue working harder,'' she adds.