Ever since the pandemic altered our lives, we have seen an outgrowth of creative synergies all around us enabling better lifelines of help and eking out a standard of life in a time of deep uncertainty.
In the new normal, everything is going digital and with that, we have the new concept of cloud kitchens. Cloud kitchen, focused on food delivery rather than dine-in services, enjoys popularity in an age of social distancing with interlinked virtual kitchens set up all over Dhaka ensuring easier delivery of the savoury dishes as demanded by customers.
"Garnished" exemplifies the concept of cloud kitchen pushing the limits of culinary creativity and business acumen at the same time. A cloud-platform, which connects home cooks around Dhaka, it helps to make customised orders on food and delivered right next to your doorstep.
As the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns set in, young people, driven by nudge of creativity, started to hone their culinary skills uploading the pictures of their cooked recipes online garnering huge responses on social media.
Young girls celebrating the grandeur and vibrancy of food made all these yummy dishes. Slowly by slowly, all these talents were formulated into a Facebook group where everyone, regardless of age and background, uploaded pictures of their dishes making it a community of foodies and cooks.
The group founded by Noor Afsar Siddique, Sifat Siddique, and Tasnim Jarin Ahmed helped to galvanise cooking enthusiasts all over who got a platform to showcase their styles of cooking and the dishes themselves. As the group grew over times, orders started to pour in helping in the gradual commercialisation of the business. More engagement meant an opportunity for people to grow and bring the restaurant home.
This was an excellent opportunity for many women, who had to take up the reins of the family, as many family members were reeling from lay-offs and salary cuts due to the raging pandemic. Women became a massive force in driving the orders and selling their products, which helped them as a window of a new opportunity to earn a living as well as to live their passion.
With no fixed location, home cooks are connected through the internet and delivery services are offered by outsourcing through third party delivery services and in-house delivery that is done by Garnished personnel. As both customers and cooks have familiarised themselves with the delivery services on hand, it gets easier for seamless communication.
One of the most exciting facts about the demographic of workers in Garnished is that it has many young people who are willing to engage with the world through their culinary skills. The mixed demography of cooks range from any age above 16 till 40, allowing a brilliant cross-pollination of culinary ideas from the new and the old to intermingle in unison.
Starting with desserts like cakes and donuts to all kinds of savoury dishes, the prices are fixed by the cook. As the popularity increases over time, trained chefs from Old Dhaka have joined in to provide richly layered and heavenly cooked home cooked family meals like biriyani and other rich foods, which are often sought after on weekends where family get-togethers happen. This is quite gratifying for many women who spend their time in the kitchens even when others are enjoying at home.
From a Facebook group to user-friendly brand of food delivery service, Garnished has expanded its operations over time with apps and websites under way to allow automated services in the near future. A Garnished Photo Studio is in the cards as food photography enjoys a spike in interest these days. With customised orders available, Garnished hopes to bring in chefs with preliminary training to work for them giving them a new mode of employment working from home as well as to empower more women to commercialise their skills, helping all parties to make a living in such difficult times.
Photo Courtesy: Garnished