It has been an intriguing journey for Nagpur based Leena Dixit. It was in 2018 when Leena got shortlisted in a Women’s Start up program and decided to take her idea of Nativ Chefs ahead. Providing a great opportunity for home chefs to unlock the wealth of great regional cuisines, Nativ Chefs offers home cooked meals to all those who love authentic and homemade traditional dishes. The online food brand in the form of a website and app, one can order and enjoy up to 16 different traditional cuisines as of now including 120 different delicacies from Maharashtra, Bihar, Himachal, Bengal and many other regions.
Leena Dixit an alumnus of St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, was working as an Assistant Manager, Human Resources, at a leading IT company for more than seven years. She enjoyed her work, but her passion was for food and with food platforms serving traditional cuisines, she has kept her passion alive.
Leena says that ‘I always wanted to do something in traditional cuisine, something innovative and with the help of women. The day I was shortlisted for the program, I had decided to start my own business.’
It is not only about having a good idea, and getting awards and funding. The way one structures, scales up and markets the business matters the most. Leena Dixit knows it and her passion has paved the way for a long-term vision. In the last two years Nativ Chefs has on boarded 60 home chefs, first training, inducting, making them ready to address the probable quantum of requirements and then adding them to the Nativ Chefs’ team. Today 45 more are in the pipeline. Leena Dixit works with food consultants to identify talented home chefs, often known for their renowned dishes among their friends and families. The chefs have to go through rounds of scrutiny, and onboarding process with Nativ Chefs. Once the home chef is classified, the home chef has to undergo a training program.
‘Ghar ka Khana’ always has an emotional connect with everybody no matter who you are and Leena Dixit, with Nativ Chefs has taken people back to their roots invoking the memories and the magic of the food served by mother and grandmother. From the website, app which is the first point of contact for the customers to the actual food, presentation and the packing, everything is done in a classy and aesthetic way. A card accompanies the traditional fare to give the description of what the customers are going to have. This definitely adds to the excitement and curiosity. The emotional connect, the taste and the aesthetics is like a winning formula for Leena.
On a pure business front Leena Dixit is satisfied as a lot of Home Chefs are enjoying their work, earning a lot of appreciation from the customers and making money. It’s like a culinary movement of Home Chefs’ as Nativ Chefs tries to scale up by adding more cuisines, more home chefs and expanding to more cities. On the other hand, satisfaction for Leena also comes from the fact that Nativ Chefs is dishing out food that is homemade, healthy, hygienic and made with a lot of love from a mother or a grandmother. There is no age limit for any home chef. We have home chefs from 35-65 years of age, many of them in their second innings says Leena.
Best selling delicacies of Native Chef
They currently accept orders through their website, app, call or whatsapp. Once an order is placed, they pass it to the chef and finally the food is collected by the delivery associates and directly delivered to the customer. From 16 cuisines and 120 delicacies the best selling Nativ Chef dishes are Litti Choka from Bihar, Ukadiche Modak from Maharashtra, Puran Poli from Maharashtra, Dal Pakwan from Sindhi community, Macher Jhal from Bengal, Rajma Chawal from Punjab, Dal Bati from Rajasthan, Hyderabadi Nizami Chicken from Andhra, Saoji Chicken from Saoji community.
Nativ Chefs coming to Pune
From Nagpur, Nativ Chefs is ready to expand in Mumbai and Pune. The induction of Home Chefs is already happening and people from Aundh, Baner Pashan and Kalyani Nagar are in for a delicious traditional culinary treat.
Although I used to enjoy my time in the IT industry, Nativ Chefs is what I have started from scratch and my endeavor to constantly improve keeps me on toes day in and day out, signs off Leena Dixit.