Today people are unhealthy, facing numerous diseases at a very young age, all because of their diet and lifestyle. We are trying to make their life healthy and simple through our products, says Shubham Maheshwari of Being chef.
I was born and brought up in Jaipur. I was more of a studious kid until I watched “Rang De Basanti” in my 10th grade. The movie inspired me to have a purpose in life. I thought about mine, and the only thing that came to my mind was giving back to society.
So, this led to the foundation of everything I did afterwards. I started participating in various activities. I did my graduation from NIT Jaipur. In college, I was active in societal work and connected with many NGOs. In 2011, I got the chance to coordinate the ‘India Against Corruption’ movement in Rajasthan.
During that movement, there was an event where I addressed 70,000 people. I was 20 at that time, had stage fear, and the pressure automatically builds up when you are responsible for so many people. Somehow, I fought my pressure, fear, and after that, I was a changed person.
After college, I was lucky enough to get into a U.S based consulting firm with two offices in India, one in Gurgaon and the other in Pune. I chose the Gurgaon office. For the first time in my life, I came out of my comfort zone.
Consulting is a good-paying job, but I guess money cannot solve everything. We used to struggle with our daily needs, nutrition, etc.
One fine day igniting the chef within us, we went into the kitchen to prepare the meal of our life. Holding a knife and wearing an apron with a brave face, we saw the cooking video, only to realise that cooking is not so simple. In a video, the chef has all the ingredients ready, and all she does is mix it and prepare the dish in five minutes. However, when you are cooking on your own, it takes 30-40 minutes to organise everything.
So, I wondered if we could simplify the process of cooking. When you are feeling hungry, the first thing that comes to your mind is Maggi because the Maggi pitch is that two-minute thing. We thought of easing the cooking process, making Kadhai Paneer as simple as making Maggi.
Within eight months of joining, I left my job to work upon this idea and build a product. I had the option to live a comfortable corporate life, but I was happy to come out of that zone and work on a problem.
When I was digging about this problem, I found almost all millennials struggling with their daily meals. I thought Roti, Kapda, Makaan are three basic needs. Food is such a primary thing, but it is not being sorted. It needed some edge, and I decided to do it full time and solve the entire food eco-system issue. I took the risk and left my job. It has been more than six years now. We started our venture Being Chef in 2014. That’s how I came into entrepreneurship, a different line from engineering and consulting.
Being Chef is the one-stop solution for your daily needs. We are disrupting two major industries: Cooking and Nutrition. Cooking has not changed for the past so many centuries. If you want to cook a dish, you will have to go out, source ingredients, cut-chop them, make gravy, etc., to finally make a dish. A lot of time goes into preparation. We want to remove the pre-preparation time, keep it simple and reduce cooking time to 5 minutes.
We are disrupting the entire industry that has not been touched in the last hundreds of years. In India, most people do not take nutrition seriously. The reason being it is too expensive and inconvenient to manage. So, we want to connect with the masses where it is convenient for people to have healthy food in 5 minutes.
No one ever did this anywhere across the world. We were the first ones to enter this segment. People even thought that it is impossible, but I could logically see how we can make a product. With a lot of iterations and beta versions, we were able to make a final product.
It was challenging, but the challenge was worth the product. While building a start-up, one should have a vision of the future, of what the world would be like in the coming years. Coming from a Marwari family, we always think of creating a self-sustainable model that is profitable and scalable rather than creating a cash-burn model.
There were many points in our journey where things were not working out, we were stuck in a problem, but we just stayed and tried again and again to find a way out. These challenges make your journey harder but also full of learning.
One of the reasons I overcame all my challenges is because of my team. Most of them have been working since the inception of the company. We have an open work culture with minimum intervention. The employees know their responsibility, and they are answerable to themselves. I do not want the work of the organization dependent on one person. So, every person has the power to make decisions.
We have been awarded a few times and the Government of India’s appreciation for our contribution to society. Recently we received the ‘Transformation of the Year’ award from Amazon in the presence of Jeff Bezos. We were the only boot-strapped start-up being appreciated by this award.
There are many ways to contribute to the nation, and I chose the medium of entrepreneurship. My purpose is to make everyone’s life easier and healthy. We want to work for the masses and be a brand that is present in everyone’s household.
So, this was the journey of Shubham, who has reminded us to work for a cause and thoroughly look after our health and nutrition. The team of BOSS feels immense pleasure in bringing out the story of Shubham to you all.