This young entrepreneur is teaching millennials easiest way of ‘Being Chef’

After graduating from NIT Jaipur as a mechanical engineer, Shubham Maheshwari like many of his peers bagged a high paying job in an American company and started off with his typical metro city millennial life. However, a few months into his job and living alone in a flat in Gurgram drew his attention to one of the most important issues bachelors face while living alone. COOKING A HEALTHY MEAL. Shubham not only took it upon himself but took charge of the situation and decided to resolve this issue for each and every one of his peers.


Thus, came into existence his ‘Being Chef” in 2014. He came up with a one-stop cooking solution for vegetarians ranging from Do It Yourself kits to home economic meals. Using his engineering skills in cooking this young entrepreneur summarized and simplified cooking in five minutes and eight simple steps. 


Today 5 years later his company is running at a run rate of 2 cr and has served more than 4,00,000 meals so far. ObserveNow caught up with Shubham where he spoke about his journey, his struggles and how his business is disrupting the food industry in India. 


Edited Excerpts from his interview.  


Q- How did the idea of entrepreneurship come up and eventually led to Being Chef?


A- I did my engineering in Mechanical branch from NIT Jaipur. I was born and bought up in Jaipur and was a big-time foodie. Post my engineering I got placed in a US-based consulting firm. India's office was in Gurgaon. I started staying with my friends in a flat. Our cook used to be very irregular and most of the time would end up making one out of 4-5 dishes. One day we thought of cooking ourselves using one of the videos on YouTube. When we went to the kitchen, we realized that it's not an easy task, at least in the current format. We made a lot of mistakes and ended up cooking something pathetic, but really enjoyed eating it. That was the time when I thought of an idea to make cooking easy, by inducing engineering knowledge in cooking. I started working on it, did market research, consumer demand analysis and left the job (within 8 months of joining it) to develop this product. 


Q- What you are doing at Being Chef how is it different from our Japanese. counterpart Cook Pad or US-based Blue Apron? What disruption are you bringing to the market? 


A- Being Chef is a company operating in the Food and Health Industry since 2014. Our aim is to make people healthy by providing them with a solution which is economic yet convenient. We have multiple product lines ranging from DIY cooking kit to fully prepared meals. All products are developed to solve the problems in their respective section. Cook Pad is a different company altogether. They are working in space of providing recipes which can be cooked at home. 

After going to cook pad you have to go to the market, source all the ingredients, process them and then mix them and then only you will be able to cook a dish. The total time involvement is too much for a millennial. Blue Apron, on the other hand, is taking cares of a few steps. They will send you all the ingredients required to cook a recipe. But still, you have to process them (cut/chop/make pastes) which still takes around 35-50 mins (depending on the recipe). 


We provide convenience at a different level altogether. Using our Magic Box (that's what we say to our DIY cooking it), you can cook your favourite meals in just 5 mins & 8 easy steps. Even a 10-year-old kid can cook any dish using our kit. All you need to have is a pan and a laddle. We send all the ingredients (from oil to garnish), already processed (cut/chop/paste), in the right proportion, customized as per your taste, along with a simple 8 step innovatively designed recipe card. All you have to do is follow the steps and the magic happens thereafter. 


Q- How many customers have you served so far? 


A- We have served above 4,00,000 + meals so far. We have also successfully served 17,000 + people in a single day in one of the most operationally complex events in Gurgaon. Looking at our operational efficiency, at such a large scale we were being awarded the opportunity to serve them for consecutive years too. 


Q- How do you summarise end to end cooking in 5 minutes and 8 simple steps?


A- After 6 months of research and multiple beta launch in 2014, we developed this product as per the customer need. Our technique is a secret best kept by us and for us. 


Q- From a mechanical engineer to a food entrepreneur, how did you manage to convince your family to begin with "Being Chef"? 


A-   It was a little difficult journey. They were very sceptical about this initially. There was nothing like this and thus the feasibility was a big question. Whenever I used to meet them, I showed them the need around. I passively made them understand the need for this product and also my plan to develop this. 

It took me 3 months of constant effort to convince them. Also, they got so convinced, that they only became the investors in this venture. So, it was a great experience to turn them 180 degrees around. 


Q- Two tips to young entrepreneurs?


A- Tip 1: Nothing is impossible. All ideas are worthy. What matters is your execution. So never get demoralized by the world's comments. Take risk with your calculations and then just go for it. 


Tip 2: Things take time to move. You cannot control the environment. So instead of thinking about things which are not in your control, just do what you wanted to do in your start-up. Neither ups nor downs are constant. So enjoy the journey and live every day to the fullest. Your energy will drive your company and the people around you.  

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