The Cloud Named Food

Tanya Brooks

Food has no time, no occasion, no religion and no boundaries but then why should you be deprived of satisfying your hunger for various reasons that are well known to all of us who live in the quick developing Guwahati. Food is that very expression of contentment that no person should ever be deprived of, no matter where he is stuck or whatever the time is showing on the clock. This love for food and its need is understood by a few food fanatics in Guwahati, who have changed the very notion of the food business by introducing Cloud Kitchens. To dwell more into what it is, how it works and much more we have two supremely loved cloud kitchens on our menu, and their owners shall be serving us some lip-smacking answers to fill our urge of knowledge about a cloud kitchen.

The first platter will be from Zaffraan.in

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Why a cloud kitchen?
Starting with a cloud kitchen just made sense to me because I could use the skills I already had in management and in food at one place. I did not have to go with a full- fledged restaurant which would be expensive and a risk. Rather, I invested in a fully stacked kitchen and found some really talented chefs with a ton of experience to start a kitchen without the added hassle to just give out quality food. The aim is to serve quality food to the patrons by all means.

How did the inception of the idea happen?
Food has always been a passion. But I never thought I’d have a career in food until I saw what was happening in Guwahati in the current times. The food culture in the city has been booming in the last few years! The people are extremely welcoming of new cuisines and they’ve been experimenting so much more. The arrival of delivery services and social media changed the game completely and now it’s a whole new experience. It’s never been easier to enjoy good food and that too right at your very doorstep. It was very inspiring and I knew that now would be the best time to do it, so after some research I settled on North Indian and Mughlai cuisine, partially because I’m biased towards these cuisines.

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How do the kitchen dynamics work since it’s just based on delivery?
Running a cloud kitchen is in a way like running a restaurant with a few changes in the organizational structure. The main difference is that a restaurant will typically be active during meal times; lunch and dinner being the most dominant hours. They may have a lull in between those hours, with many even shutting down to serve the lunch and dinner crowd exclusively. We are active from 12:30 pm to 10:30pm without a drop. Orders come in and orders go out, the chain is continuous so there’s always a pressure in the kitchen which may get heavier once traffic picks up. Efficiency is the key to get the order done within a short period of time, usually under 20 minutes, while taking every step possible to keep the quality and taste of our food as best as it can be. This can be very hard to do which is why we put a lot into prep time in the mornings. We have three specialists in the kitchen who take care of the Mughlai food, North Indian curries, and the tandoor respectively. Helpers are there to assist them with their work and then a person who takes care of all the utilities, i.e the packaging, kitchen inventory and so on. We also have a food consultant who happens to be a very talented chef to help me with quality control while I take care of all management responsibilities and order co-ordination. We do have an in-house delivery but only around the 3kms radius of the kitchen while the Zomato delivery team takes care of the rest of the city. At this point, I like to think of us as a well-oiled machine ready to take on any challenge.

What is the speciality that you are bringing to the menu?
Our menu mainly serves an array of North Indian and Mughlai dishes. In non vegetarian starters we have special items like Murgh Badaaami tikka, Zaffraani Murgh Malai tikka, Chapli kebabs and Galouti kebabs with Ulta tawa ki roti. For the vegetarian lovers we have the veg sheekh kebabs and Dahi ke kebabs as our specialities.
Now in the curries we have a list tat includes Zaffraani Murgh Malai curry, Dal Gosht, Raara Gosht, Diwani Haandi and Nargisi Kofta, which we have taken special care in the preparations. There’s a lot more on the menu but it wouldn’t be prudent to list it all out. However, we do differentiate ourselves on quality and authenticity. I can guarantee that there is no compromise in these two aspects.

Launched on 23rd of August, 2019, founded by Nishat Hussain, Zaffraan is your answer to North Indian and Mughali cravings. Located in 25, Neelkamal path, Hatiagon chariali, Guwahati, we can be found on Instagram and Facebook,, and can reached via WhatsApp and calls.

The next platter is from Unbox Guwahati

10Why a cloud kitchen?
Fancy term for sure but a cloud kitchen because it allows you to focus on just the food, which should be the prime focus of any food outlet.

How did the inception of the idea happen?
It has a story to it. So, one night I was sitting with my ‘now business partner’ in Guwahati and we were extremely hungry and trust me, being hungry past 12pm in Guwahati was like a crime a year back because if you don’t go out to few particular places you should be mentally prepared to sleep hungry. Lack of options was the basic reason. We were talking about why nobody is doing anything about it and then it struck us, if nobody then why not ‘WE’. Eureka! And that was it. The start of an amazing yet challenging journey.

How do the kitchen dynamics work since it’s just based on delivery?
I have worked in a 5-star kitchen before so comparatively it’s almost the same but it does changes depending on the rate of orders we get. The only thing we don’t focus on in the kitchen is the ‘plating’ because what’s the point, right? Similar to most kitchens, we have got the same kind of machineries, the rush inside the kitchen is the same, the hotness of the oven is evident, the exchange of words, yes of course. Thanks to Gordon Ramsay! Basically everything, except any sitting areas and expensive decors, other dynamics are very much similar to a commercial kitchen plus we have an extra packing area. You can name it the exchange counter like that of a commercial kitchen.
What is the specialty you are bringing into the menu?
Butter chicken, chilli chicken, noodles, rumali roti, paratha, they are everywhere! I wanted people to get introduced to comfort food. So we specialize in continental cuisine, comfort cuisine, a tiny-winy bit of Chinese and Indian meals cause here in Guwahati, no dinner is complete without rice and dal after all. Our pastas are recommended. We are trying to change people’s concept about white sauce-red sauce pastas. We want to tell people that there is so much more than just red sauce-white sauce pasta. And I think we have been successful in delivering. We like to get creative with our food every now and then.

Launched on 17th of August, 2018, founded by two friends Parag Dutta & Karan Singh Panwar, Unbox Guwahati is a ‘Night Cloud Kitchen’, the first of its kind. The only cloud kitchen who delivers from 7pm till 4:30am in the morning. Their business solely runs on Instagram, WhatsApp and via calls .their additional feature is delivery of sanitary pads and condoms along with orders.

Keeping the excitement going, and the taste buds tinkling, I have a special mention which has got me really excited. A cloud kitchen which will soon be launched, hopefully before the arrival of Ma Durga coined as Chutney & Sauce- The Guwahati Pantry and started by the well known food connoisseur and chef of Assam who needs no introduction in the food world- Sanjukta Dutta.
A quick word with her on the menu she has planned and the competition she shall face.

What are you bringing to the menu?
I have been in the food industry for over 7 years now and I have closely worked with restaurants of the city and also have witnessed the changing trend in eating out and also how palates of people of the city have developed over the years. So, I brought these experiences and my market research into this new project of mine and based on that I have innovated the kitchen and categorized it into Indian, Tandoor and Chinese Cuisine.

20How do you think you can cope with the competition?
Competition is everywhere and it is indispensable part of any industry if you reflect upon. Yet every competition thrives and survives. The Guwahati market is not just huge but also rapidly growing by the day and the requirements in terms of food delivery varies from continental to Chinese to Indian. Based on that very fact, we also know that we have something very new and fresh to offer to the city which most of the cloud kitchens are not doing and our innovation is our USP.
Can’t wait!
This article has definitely gotten me hungry. Hoping it has worked up your appetite too.
Bon Appetite!

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