WOMEN’S DAY Run by Saas-Bahu duo, ‘The Chhaunk’ sells authentic Bihari cuisine

 WOMEN’S DAY Run by Saas-Bahu duo, ‘The Chhaunk’ sells authentic Bihari cuisine

Manjari Singh and Hiranyamayi Shivani, Co-Founders, The Chhaunk

This Women’s Day we profile some women entrepreneurs who started small but have nevertheless carved a niche for themselves

Upasana Kaura

Saas-Bahu duo Hiranyami Shivani (HS) and Manjari Singh (MS) founded The Chhaunk, a cloud kitchen in July last year. Based out of Gurugram, it specialises in serving authentic Bihari cuisine. Beginning with one customer, The Chhaunk today has four outlets and 49 orders per day, a majority of which are repeat customers. Excerpts from an interview:

Tell us the story behind The Chhaunk.
HS: It all started last year when due to covid I was unable to travel to my hometown. I was “detained” in Delhi with my daughter-in-law Manjari. Calamity brings opportunity, it is said and s it happened with me. Since I enjoy preparing traditional Bihari food, I thought of starting an outlet for it.
Home-cooked food has a lot of appeal, and its demand rose after the pandemic struck. So we decided to offer traditional Bihari food to food lovers. We chose to serve street food to individuals who enjoy Bihari cuisine, and it gradually evolved into a cloud kitchen known as The Chhaunk, after the chowks of Bihar.

How are you different from other cloud kitchens?
MS: Well, Bihari cuisine is available in several restaurants around India. But when it comes to the traditional taste, I feel my mom-in-law recipes rule the roost. I call her the mother of Bihari food as she has all of the authentic Bihari recipes passed ojn to her for generations. Some of these include Champaran Mutton, Handi Chicken, Thekua, and Litti-Chokha.

Chhaunk authentic BIhari cuisine
The traditional Litti is much in demand

How do you ensure food hygiene?
MS: We follow all covid19 protocols when delivering food. There is no decoration in the food preparation to commercialise it, but it is kept exactly as it was when visiting a house in Bihar. We are affiliated with the “Favola” brand of food packaging materials. We are a 100 per cent green company and don’t use items that are harmful to the restaurant ecosystem. The packaging is completely plastic-free and completely biodegradable. In addition, we use glass packaging to provide lead-free, safe, and leak-free food. The container is also airtight for the overall convenience of the customer

Any reason that you opted for only Bihari-Food?
HS: Bihari cuisine is the most diverse cuisine but most misjudged, I think. The main reason is because we are from Bihar. But then, we have noticed that when it comes to Bihari food, most people think it is just Litti-Chokha. However, Bihari cuisine is pretty diverse, and people simply need to learn more about it. People who are not from Bihar state misunderstand the traditional food culture. We wanted to break these myths.

What all challenges did you face?
HS: There were many challenges, like food preparation, internet delivery, handling too many orders at once, and a lot of work pressure. Initially we handled everything together, but now we have split our work obligations. I handle kitchen and take care of food preparation while Manjari takes care of orders and looks after finances.

What are your future plans?
MS: We plan to open new stores in cities like Mumbai, Jaipur, Pune, Goa, and Bangalore, besides a few more in Delhi-NCR. We want to have at least 50 stories across Indian in the next three years.



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