One such new mom in town is Harsha Thachery. Harsha’s idea is to provide all the people who crave for home-food with home-cooked meals. The worst part about living away from home is definitely missing Namma Veettu Sapadu (our home food) and Harsha wanted to fulfill that dream. Harsha was from Kerala but lives with her husband in Bengaluru.
However, this idea started off as a pregnancy craving, says Harsha to The Better India. “It was during my pregnancy that I started to become more conscious of the food I eat. I wanted healthy food for my baby and me. At the time, I had a craving for tasty yet healthy meals. I searched a lot of menus for a really good, healthy meal but I couldn’t find even one. That is when I saw a market for healthy homemade food,” states Harsha.
It was her husband Jugal who persuaded her to begin a service to cater home-cooked meals but not just to pregnant women craving for good food but to anyone who misses their home’s food.
In the year 2014, during her maternity break, Harsha began a startup and named it Masala Box. “I looked up many names for brands and ended up choosing this one because it reminded me of my grandmother. She had what was called a ‘masala box’ — something that had often caught my eye when I was growing up. I remember it very distinctly,” says Harsha.
It has been six years and today Harsha has connected to several cooks in Kochi and Bengaluru and her startup has distributed over 1 million home-cooked meals provided opportunities to not just the consumers to the thriving home-cooks too.
As the first step, the former chartered accountant took a list of 100 home chefs in Kochi and after testing samples of their food, 20 chefs were hired. Soon, with the help of her husband, she created the website for Masala Box and it wasn’t long before the orders began to trickle in.
95% of the cooks at Masala Box and Harsha is mighty proud of providing them with a medium. “We are open to hiring any gender but we currently have more women chefs, who are also homemakers, on staff. These chefs pack the food themselves to allow ownership of the way the food is presented,” she adds.
Meals differ everyday and till date these home-chefs have served 500 different menus and dishes that are fresh and home-cooked. Harsha says that even though Masala Box offers a range of dishes, most of the orders received are for Biryani.
Harsha keeps in mind the physical and mental well-being of her freelance employees. She does not allow the cooks to prepare meals for more that three days a week. She believes that too much effort takes away the joy of their passion.
Due to the Pandemic, operations of the Masala Box in Kochi have been stopped, their Bengaluru operations still deliver over 1,500 home-cooked meals a day.
Masala Box distributes both South Indian and North Indian meals. The founder claims that both non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes are made using “top quality” ingredients, which are prepared using regional recipes by the home chefs.
We hope Masala Box soon expands to Chennai and Hyderabad as well for us to taste the magic!