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Smita Deo: A perfect example of how to deal depression by following your passion

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Smita Deo

A proper Bombay teenage girl who was influenced by her IPS uncle to join the forces to take her passion for cooking into his profession, she is Smita Deo, a well-known chef of our country.

Since his childhood days, she was a cook by excellence but was dreaming a career in Police field but her life was totally changed when she started dating Abhinay Deo and got married to him, who was the son of renown Indian actors Seema and Ramesh Deo, later on, Abhinay Deo became a director and filmmaker in Bollywood and making some amazing films like Delhi Belly, Game, Force 2, Gulaab Gang and Blackmail among others.

Her first impression on her in-laws was like that they thought Smita being a Carter road girl and from a well-maintained family doubted her cooking skills but after 3 days of her marriage, she was in the kitchen preparing meals for the family.

Her mother in law was very supportive and Smita grew a deep friendship with her mother in law and was treated like a daughter there. She used to live in a joint family of her in-laws in Juhu, but when Smita’s own family grew, she shifted into their own apartment in Lokhandwala in mid-2007. Then the downfall in her life started and she started feeling very cut down from everyone as there was on one to talk so that he could share her feelings. He got into a phase of depression and she also gave up her passion for cooking. For the next two years, she was struggling with her depression. But with the suggestion of Dr Vishal Sawant, her psychiatrist, she came out of her low phase and started her business in 2010 by starting a new company Our Little Bit which dealt in the retail of organic and homemade natural products but she was not able to do well in that and it stopped.

But her friends and husband supported her and immense encouragement from her husband made her write a cookbook(book of recipes) which got her back into her passion and she shared the stories of her childhood spent in Karwar in Karnataka.

She also has many cooking videos on a youtube channel named Get Curried. She loves making biryanis and authentic Marathi seafood like she loves Fried fishes.


Niyati Rao Crafting Culinary Delights and Inclusive Spaces

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Chef Niyati Rao

In the world of gastronomy, where flavours tell stories and each dish is a work of art, Niyati Rao has emerged as a culinary maven. At the age of 28, she is not only the Head Chef of Ekåa but also a co-founder of both Ekåa and KMC, two ventures that are redefining the culinary and communal landscape. Niyati Rao, along with her partner Sagar Neve, embarked on their culinary journey at a time when the world was grappling with the pandemic, and the hospitality industry was among the hardest hit. Despite the challenges, they founded Ekåa, a restaurant that defies traditional culinary boundaries.

What sets Ekåa apart is its unique approach to cuisine. Rather than being confined to a specific culinary style or genre, the restaurant draws inspiration from people, cultures, and ingredients. The result is a menu that reflects a rich tapestry of flavours, a culinary journey that transcends borders. One remarkable aspect of Niyati and Sagar’s venture is its profitability, even in the face of a pandemic-induced downturn in the hospitality sector. Their ability to not only survive but thrive in such challenging times speaks volumes about their culinary prowess and business acumen.

2022: The Birth of KMC

Building on the success of Ekåa, Niyati Rao and Sagar Neve ventured into new territory in 2022 with the launch of KMC. Unlike Ekåa, KMC is not just a restaurant; it’s an inclusive community space. Here, people can gather, converse, and hold exhibitions while indulging in creative comfort food. Niyati Rao’s journey in the culinary world is a testament to her vision and passion. Her ability to craft dishes that not only tantalize the taste buds but also tell stories is at the heart of Ekåa’s success. Each dish at Ekåa is a reflection of her culinary artistry and dedication to pushing culinary boundaries.

Beyond the culinary realm, Niyati and Sagar have ventured into creating inclusive spaces with KMC. In a world where connections and conversations are often digital, KMC offers a physical space for people to come together, share ideas, and build a sense of community. Niyati Rao’s journey as a chef and entrepreneur is still in its early stages, but it’s already leaving an indelible mark on the culinary and communal landscape. Her commitment to redefining culinary norms and creating spaces that foster inclusivity is a testament to her forward-thinking approach.

Niyati Rao’s story is one of culinary innovation and community-building. In a world that often emphasizes specialization, she and her partner have chosen to embrace diversity in both cuisine and communal experiences. Their ventures, Ekåa and KMC, are not just places to eat; they are places to connect, create, and celebrate the richness of life. As Niyati continues to push the boundaries of culinary creativity and communal inclusivity, her journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring chefs, entrepreneurs, and anyone who believes in the power of food and community to bring people together. With each dish she crafts and each space she creates, Niyati Rao is leaving an indelible mark on the world of gastronomy and human connection.

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Legacy Lives On The Journey of Sunrise Bakers in Dehradun

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Sunrise Bakers Dehradun

Nestled in the bustling lanes of one of India’s oldest cities, Dehradun, stands Sunrise Bakers—a testament to resilience and family legacy. With over six decades of history, this family-run bakery recently opened its second outlet in the city, marking a significant expansion. However, this milestone follows a challenging period for the business, marked by the unfortunate loss of two second-generation entrepreneurs, Amarjit Singh Jolly and Harmeet Singh Jolly, who were entrusted with the legacy passed down by their father, Harnam Singh Jolly.

A Family’s Commitment to Legacy

Sunrise Bakers is a living example of the adage “unity is strength.” The legacy began when Harnam Singh Jolly, seeking work during Partition, arrived in Dehradun. Recognizing the demand for bakery products, he established the bakery in 1956. In those early days, everything was handmade, as machinery had yet to make its mark.

Unique Bakery Ecosystem:

Sunrise Bakers played a pivotal role in the local bakery ecosystem. Beyond serving direct consumers, the bakery supplied biscuits to various small confectionery store owners in the region. These owners relied on Sunrise Bakers for high-quality baked goods.

Legacy of Compassion and Kindness:

Following Harnam Singh’s passing in 1979, his eldest son, Amarjit Singh, joined the business. Amarjit became the face of Sunrise Bakers, known for his compassion and kindness, traits that endeared him to every customer. His younger brother, Harmeet, provided unwavering support, both handling counter sales and engaging with customers personally.

Rising Demand for Rusks:

Sunrise Bakers gained significant popularity for its rusks. To meet the surging demand, Jagjit Singh, the third brother, established a rusk factory. This decision was prompted by customer frustration as freshly baked rusks frequently ran out of stock. The additional manufacturing facility allowed the bakery to scale its business.

Central to Sunrise Bakers’ success is its commitment to handcrafting many of its products. Even with the introduction of machinery, the bakery retains its artisanal touch, ensuring the quality and authenticity of its offerings.

Third-Generation Commitment:

Although members of the third generation of the Jolly family pursued different careers, their shared passion for the bakery remained unwavering. They were raised in an environment where the bakery was an integral part of their lives, instilling in them a deep sense of responsibility for preserving the family legacy.

Despite facing numerous challenges, the bakery remained profitable since its inception. In October 2021, Sunrise Bakers embarked on a path of expansion by opening a second outlet in Dehradun’s Krishan Nagar area. This expansion was driven by the need to cater to modern consumers and evolving market dynamics.

Innovating and Embracing Change:

Sunrise Bakers understands the importance of innovation to stay relevant. The bakery continuously experiments with its offerings, introducing options for health-conscious customers while maintaining the highest quality standards.

Logistics poses a significant challenge as the bakery charts its expansion course. Ensuring delicate bakery products reach customers intact is a top priority. Sunrise Bakers is exploring robust logistics partnerships and contemplating upgrading its packaging, albeit with the concern of potential price increases.

Embracing the Digital Age:

The bakery’s next step involves establishing an online presence and building a direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand. This transition requires enhancements across various business verticals, from manufacturing and packaging to delivery, all while upholding their commitment to quality and ethics.

As Sunrise Bakers embarks on this new chapter in its storied history, the legacy that began over 60 years ago remains steadfast, a testament to the indomitable spirit of family entrepreneurship.

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Karan Nohria Turning Dreams into Reality with Mumbai’s “Silly”

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Karan Nohria

Oprah Winfrey once famously said, “The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.” These words resonate deeply with Karan Nohria, a young and ambitious entrepreneur who has embarked on a remarkable journey of turning his dreams into reality. From his teenage years, Karan harbored a vision of creating a restaurant that transcended traditional dining norms, where people could be their authentic selves without the constraints of dressing up or conforming to societal expectations. This is the inspiring story of how Karan brought this dream to life through his venture, “Silly,” a unique and easygoing restobar located in Mumbai’s Khar area.

The Vision Behind Silly:

Karan’s dream of opening a restaurant where people could shed pretensions and simply be themselves took root during his formative years. He recognized that each person has a playful and carefree side, often concealed when dining at upscale establishments. His vision was to create a space where individuals could embrace their authenticity without worrying about dressing up or conforming to societal expectations. Silly, a fuss-free and easy-going space, was born out of this desire.

Silly’s Inception:

In March 2021, at the age of 21, Karan transformed his dream into reality by opening Silly in Mumbai’s vibrant Khar area. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions, the establishment has thrived, attracting patrons who appreciate its unique concept and welcoming atmosphere. Karan’s resilience and determination have been key to Silly’s success.

Overcoming Pandemic Challenges:

Silly emerged as a “pandemic baby,” with Karan initiating work in April 2021, just before the second wave of lockdowns. The restaurant officially opened its doors in June when restrictions eased. However, ensuring the safety of customers and staff was paramount. Karan’s commitment to adhering to safety protocols while maintaining a delightful dining experience has been crucial to Silly‘s ability to thrive during these challenging times.

Lessons from Real-Life Experience:

Karan’s practical approach to entrepreneurship was shaped by real-life experience. Following his schooling, he actively assisted his parents in their business ventures. These hands-on lessons proved invaluable, providing him with essential business acumen that exceeded theoretical knowledge. Karan believes that practical insights acquired from family and close friends running diverse businesses were instrumental in his journey.

Challenges and Competing in a Unique Space:

Silly is a bootstrapped venture, with Karan investing approximately Rs 6.5 crore, largely with the support of his mother. While the restaurant has shown impressive progress, reaching profitability may require additional time, especially with the looming threat of a third COVID-19 wave. Karan remains cautious yet determined. From a competitive standpoint, he views Silly as distinct, believing that each restaurant and café offers something unique. Thus, he is more focused on nurturing Silly’s identity than direct competition.

The Future of Silly:

Karan envisions expanding Silly beyond Mumbai’s borders. His immediate plan is to establish Silly in South Delhi, although the exact location remains undisclosed at this stage. Over the next few years, he aspires to take Silly to Hyderabad and eventually embark on a pan-India expansion, introducing people across the nation to the concept of dining without pretensions. Additionally, Karan is exploring the idea of pet day care services, a project currently in the ideation phase.

Karan Nohria’s journey from envisioning a restaurant that celebrates authenticity to founding Silly exemplifies the power of dreams and determination. Silly stands as a testament to breaking free from formalities and embracing individuality. With plans for expansion and a commitment to creating unique dining experiences, Silly is poised to leave an indelible mark on India’s culinary landscape.

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