Last week the Bawi Bride Kitchen rolled out its biggest order yet.
We served 80 hungry people about 25 litres of Dhansak and I was a pretty happy girl. That night, I went to sleep with a grin on my face, dreaming about the day when I become the next queen of Parsi wedding catering. I dreamt about becoming the next Tanaz Godiwala, churning out more than 4000 meals a day during the Parsi wedding season without a drop of worry on my face – a girl can dream right?
Of course, in the cold light of morning this all felt very pie-in-the-sky until I stumbled upon the promo of the new series called Mega Kitchens on Nat Geo. Forget catering for 4000 people, these amazing kitchens apparently feed an average of 40,000 to 100,000 people a day!
Excited to learn more, I tuned into the first episode yesterday night and boy was I blown away. This one was all about the Shirdi Prasadalaya and how their kitchen feeds 40,000 people a day, with the amount doubling on special occasions when pilgrims of Sai Baba flood this small town in Maharashtra.
Feeding that many people would sure use up a lot of LPG I thought – my mind wandering back to my ever lasting fear of the gas cylinder running out just when I need it most.
However, the show went on to share that the coolest part of this Mega Kitchen wasn’t how many people it fed but instead it was the technology they used to cook the food. The Shirdi Prasadalaya has collaborated with solar expert Deepak Gadhia to create a giant sized physics experiment. In the same way that a magnifying glass can be used to concentrate the sun’s energy to burn paper, this Mega Kitchen uses 73 solar dishes installed on its roof to generate 3,500 kgs a steam on a single sunny day!
Recently, there’s a lot of talk on ‘Food-Tech’ that gets bandied around with the introduction of platforms like Hola Chef and Tiny Owl and new ones being launched practically weekly. But, when you see a show like Mega Kitchens you realize what food technology is really about. Its not about developing yet another app to deliver food to a hungry call centre employee. It’s about figuring out how an abundant natural resource like the sun can be used to cook 700 kilos of vegetables in under two hours. And, its about developing a machine that makes 2000 rotis in an hour!
I’ve always been a fan of Nat Geo’s show Mega Structures, which showcases cool inventions like the worlds’ largest port to ultra luxurious hotels. But, as a cook my heart lies in the kitchen. After watching this first episode I’ve come to the conclusion that Mega Kitchens is definitely a show that I’m going to tune into every day (it’ll probably help me more than my current Game of Thrones addiction, that’s for sure!).
I hear that next in line is the Hubli kitchen of Akshaya Patra, which cooks approximately 15 tonnes of rice, 4 tonnes of pulses and 8 tonnes of vegetables daily serving up 150,000 children across 1000 schools and after that it’s the TAJ SATS and the Indian Railways Kitchens, all using some amazing innovations and feeding miraculous numbers of people.
In the same way that Steve Jobs used his calligraphy class to later develop what we now know as fonts, maybe this Bawi Bride too will use Mega Kitchens to learn how food tech can be harnessed to serve up fresh Patra Ni Machchi to every tummy that demands it nationally or to cater to four – scratch that – twenty Parsi weddings a day!
The dots only connect looking backwards and besides, a girl can dream right?
Mega Kitchens premiered on Monday 22 June, 2015 on Nat Geo at 10pm. The show runs from Mon – Thurs so try to catch one this week to learn more about India’s coolest kitchens.
Disclaimer: This post was done in collaboration with NGC