“Love at First Bite”

by Akankshya Mahapatra
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Saroja Choudhury- Rosy’s Kitchen

Not so long ago, the only reason people ordered food from outside was to take a break from the routine ‘ghar ka khana’ (homemade food). However, the growing fitness-conscious community, unhealthy lifestyle and the pandemic brought with it a rekindling of love for the same items most of us wanted to get away from. This has led to an evolution of home chefs who have not only restricted themselves to chicken or butter biryani but have also charmed their way into the customer’s belly by offering authentic home-cooked cuisines. One such home chef who has turned her love for culinary into an exciting food business is Saroja Choudhury. The founder of Rosy’s Kitchen’s only funda in life is ‘cook and serve it with love’. From Crab thali and Bamboo Chicken to Khira Suji Kakara and Biri Podapitha, her offerings are beautifully varied. Saroja’s incredible success story stands as a testament for the new and budding food entrepreneurs during these unprecedented times.

Fondly known as Rosy, Saroja Choudhury’s recipe of success has a lot to do with her food experimentation, social service instinct and good use of leisure time. Saroja got married at a young age after completing her education. It was on her first day after marriage when she was asked to prepare breakfast for her in-laws. Quite oblivious to the world of kitchen, she honed the culinary skills with the help of her mother-in-law. Saroja always wanted to create her separate identity and thus she found her calling in food. She began providing culinary training to 20 underprivileged students who later joined her to start a catering service from her residence. She began preparing authentic Odia cuisines and served them to people. The quality and unique taste of her food struck a chord with the people. She was flooded with orders to prepare various homemade cuisine and therefore she decided to start “Rosy’s Kitchen”.

Soon, Rosy’s Kitchen turned into a foodie’s delight as she began receiving orders from across the state that included doctors, bureaucrats, politicians, celebrities, etc. Thus, the shy-introvert housewife was transformed into a renowned food entrepreneur who hand-cooked food was always in demand not just in Odisha but outside the state as well. Saroja attributes her success to the sheer blessings of the Almighty, her family members and of course the customers who inspired her to take a difficult path at a time when women entrepreneurs have to still encounter numerous challenges to make their own mark. It should be noted that the concept of cloud kitchen was brought to the state by her. Saroja, who loves experimenting with new ingredients and recipes also took to food blogging to share her knowledge and experience on food. Saroja’s efforts to bring the lost Odia recipes to the forefront is truly praiseworthy.

Every time she takes up new Odia recipes and gives it a new twist in a bid to popularize it among the youngsters who are increasingly getting allured towards the unhygienic and unhealthy fast food. Today, Rosy’s Kitchen offers a bouquet of home-curated cuisines all made from natural ingredients. Some of her signature dishes include, Khira Poda Pitha, Malai Prawn and Biryani among others. The Puri king, Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb as well as the Odisha governor, Prof. Ganeshi Lal described her recipes as ‘love at first bite’ and are the sincere consumers of her hand-cooked food. Saroja, whose innate wish that nobody in the society should remain hungry, motivated her to religiously serve food to doctors and frontline workers who were battling covid last year during the lockdown period. Recently, one of her clients had offered Khira Poda Pitha made by Saroja, to Bollywood couple Ajay Devgan and Kajol. Not only did they fall in love with the taste but also went on to order 8 different varieties of Odia Cuisines for their lunch. It is being said that Saroja and her team are now busy preparing delicacies for Bollywood celebrities who have made a beeline to taste her recipes, especially the authentic Cuisines of Odisha. The feisty woman convinced her investors through a round of blind tasting, a host of Indian imported brands were kept with a few casserole of her flavorful delights, and in no time the investors were all gaga over her food.

Currently, Saroja is being supported by an efficient team of 20 staff who are giving it their all to put the Odia cuisine on the global food map. Inspired by the customer’s feedback, she is planning to expand her venture in the future.

The self-made food entrepreneur who fought against all odds to create her own identity, can the journey be any ‘sweeter’ for her? To that, she says, “The Art of cooking with love is always associated with women!”

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