Like any other quintessential Punjabi family, the Sonis love their food – not only eating it but also feeding their favourite dishes to their friends and family with dollops of love. However, for the 87-year-old Gurdeep Soni this love for food turned into a business opportunity during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. “I was quite depressed in the second wave of the pandemic as there were a lot of people suffering in my own family and some even succumbed to the virus. Moreover, the news created a lot of anxiety and it brought my morale down. To take my mind away from all the negativity, my son Timmi helped me to set up a home kitchen and this led to the birth of ‘Dadi’s Kitchen Tales”, shares Gurdeep Soni aka Dadi while talking about what led her to become an entrepreneur at the age of 87
The home kitchen started with an offering of just one dish – ‘Chane Bhature’ – which is even today the most bestselling food item. “My son is a member of a Whatsapp group of city’s foodies – Gang of Foodies. Before the second wave, they had come over and tried my Chane Bhature. So when the dish was put up for orders on the group, it instantly got a great response. Gradually the items on the menu increased with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian snacks, main course dishes as well as desserts being added to the menu”, tells Soni.
In addition to Chane Bhature, some of the bestselling dishes on the menu include Dahi Bhalla, Dal Makhani, Dhaba Mutton, Tikki Chole, among others. Cream Chicken and Bread Pudding are some latest additions and some popularly in-demand dishes like Laal Maas have also found a spot in the menu. As a special feature, a day-long paratha festival was also organized by Dadi’s Kitchen Tales a few months ago in which Keema Paratha, Anda Paratha, Paneer Paratha Aloo Pyaz Paratha were up for grabs. “ The parathas were a big hit and that day we ended up making and selling around 110 parathas”, shares Dadi.
On being asked how she manages to put in so much effort in the kitchen and pull off several food orders at this age, the octogenarian entrepreneur says: “It is mostly during the weekends that we have a lot of orders. My entire family including my son, daughter-in-law and grandson support me in this venture. They help me carry out the different tasks. In fact, all decisions related to Dadi’s Kitchen Tales are taken together by our family.”
Talking about her tryst with food and cooking, Dadi shares that she learned most of the cooking from her mother but it was only after she got married that she started doing it regularly. Her son, Timmi Soni adds “My mother’s love for food and feeding others is such that even today if I tell her in the middle of the night I am craving something, she will get up and make it. She got this trait from her own mother. ” Ask Dadi her favourite dish to eat from the menu and she laughingly says: “I love eating junk like pizza, noodles and burger.”
An avid foodie and Founder of Gang of Foodies, Arvind Malhotra shares: “Some members of the Gang of Foodies had once visited Timmi Soni’s home for lunch and we were served Chole Bhature lovingly prepared by Dadi. I suggested that these should be up for sale as well and Dadi was more than happy to cook. The USP of Dadi’s Kitchen Tales is that it offers fresh and home-cooked food.”
With the menu now growing, Dadi’s Kitchen Tales also caters for parties and small events of up to 15-20 people. Dadi’s inspiring story reminds one of the popular adage: “Age is an irrelevant number unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine.”
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