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Stay With A Chef (Amit Pamnani)

I have been a chef for the last 20 years and it was always my dream to do something of my own like the majority of us do. But, what exactly to do was the question. Opening a restaurant or a hotel was an idea I wasn’t particularly keen on. It has a fair share of overheads and being well experienced in the hotel industry I was aware that 8 out of 10 restaurants fail and I couldn’t afford to fail since my own savings would be put on the line.

amitI then started this unique concept called, ‘Stay with a Chef.’ In this, I have bought this decent house which I have converted into a homestay, a culinary homestay if you prefer. Guests come here for a 3-day package, out of which, the first day is spent in taking a food tour of the city. In this case, it is the city of Indore in Madhya Pradesh. The city food tour includes various eating joints, though not necessarily expensive, snippets about their history, how they became iconic and part of the city food culture. The day finishes with a night food market tour of a place called Sarafa. It’s a jewellery market by day and a foodie haven by night, a must visit if you ever come to Indore.

The second day, I take them to organic farms nearby and make their hands dirty by actively involving them in sowing the seeds of various fruits and vegetables, accompanied by in-depth knowledge about organic farming and their benefits.

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The third day includes a workshop where they get to learn the various delicacies which they have tasted in Indore and they themselves get to make them hands on.

This happens for the guests who pay for their stay, but as a CSR activity, every Saturday, I hold cooking classes for people like maids, or young people who are on the lookout for some suitable job for them. These cooking classes are absolutely free of cost and by doing this; I feel solace in giving a part of my knowledge back to the society.

I have designed my entire home with food pictures, a massive food clock, it has a state of the art modular kitchen for cooking classes and demos, and there is a large culinary map of Indore in the welcome lounge. The whole place looks to welcome a person who has come to Indore just to know its gastronomy.

The work that I do is not that profitable monetarily, but it has given me a certain place in the society which a lot of people would envy. Moreover, the work that I do has given me self-respect and I look upon myself as a person proud enough to describe my life as being a truly successful one and that’s all the reason to believe I LOVE MY WORK!

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