For 21-year old Sherwyn Couto from Pomburpa, a graduate in media studies plans to move to Mumbai to gain work experience didn’t yield much success owing to the sudden coronavirus pandemic that brought the world crawling to its knees.
However, having a liking for grilled food, along with an attachment for business, Sherwyn decided to get things rolling to keep himself occupied during these uncertain times.
And then, ‘Golden Grillers’ was born, along with the assistance of a friend Lennon and other family members, who gave Sherwyn the much-needed impetus to begin this journey.
“Grilling always fascinated me from a young age and so did the idea of having my own business. Hence, I started Golden Grillers since it combines both my interests of grilled flood and business, as well as keeping me occupied during these weird times,” says Sherwyn. At Golden Grillers, he offers mouth-watering burgers through either take-aways or home deliveries, while for the sweet-toothed, he now even has smooth and delicious chocolate mousse.
For many youths, the pandemic not only meant a pause of career plans, but it also meant altering existing ones. And as such, many Goan youths have ventured beyond their comfort zones, experimenting with their lives and careers. To some, cooking and entrepreneurship have rekindled some hope within them amid the trying times of the pandemic.
The covid-19 induced lockdown resulted in many having ample spare time to experiment with various things, and cooking surely was the most tried and tested of the lot.
For Sian and her sister Shroann, cooking has always been something they absolutely love and being taught to be ‘independent’ they never shied away from trying new recipes. With encouragement from close quarters, along with a pinch of ‘close family time’ during the lockdown, ‘Moti’s Chef’ – a joint venture along with their parents – was initiated.
At Moti’s Chef based in Old Goa, the family has introduced delightful snacks, along with delectable meals. “We believe that every recipe only has a soul when you cook it with love,” says Sian.
“What was initially taken up as friendly assistance of cooking for friends, has now taken a new turn to introduce ourselves to the entire world as Moti’s Chef,” she adds.
Shania Fernandes, who also loved cooking, would spend her time trying a new dish every day, however, the business was not something she really considered.
“I began with the easy foods and then eventually tried the more difficult food items. That’s when it struck me that this is what I love to do and I would want to continue doing,” says Shania.
Her food venture is however aiming not just at savoring one’s taste buds, but also bringing in foods that are rarely experienced in Goa.
“I try bringing foods to people that they have never tasted before or are rarely found in Goa.” Being a French student, and also laying down the foods she was planning to offer, she chose to title her food venture as ‘Mélange’ – a French word meaning varied mixture – which rightly fitted her business idea of offering a fusion of foods to Goans. She offers a unique delicacy – ‘quiche’ – much unheard of among the Goan menus.
“Explaining the whole dish was a task because people kept referring to my quiches as pizzas and they would expect it to be like a pizza with a bread base. But there were others who read my page and understood what exactly is a quiche,” she says. At the onset, Shania has been taking it slowly but has plans to include Goan cuisines too in the future.
For Navamya Acharya, ‘Acharya’s Kitchen’ has evolved from an idea she shared with her mother. Like the others too, the pandemic provided her the perfect time to roll out her plans for this food endeavor.
“Due to the lockdown for the past seven months, I kept pursuing this idea to my mother of beginning this as a part-time job since she also would get bored over time. After much thought and discussion, we gave it a shot,” she says.
Being a south-Indian, her mother prepares tasteful south-Indian food, while her aunt pitches in by preparing desserts and snacks of different types. With a helping hand from all in the family, the kitchen – fuelled with its South Indian flavours – is able to satisfy several taste buds.
For 23-year old Elvin Coutinho from Curtorim, business ideas set rolling a little bit prior to the pandemic. Although beginning early this year, the lockdown in March-April provided him the perfect opportunity to work on marketing his brand ‘Guilty Pleasures’.
A perfect wedding cake for his cousin’s wedding provided a kick start for his business idea, and since then, there has been no stopping, as his perfect cakes are widely loved by his happy customers.
“Everyone encouraged me to do something after they loved my cousin’s wedding cake. And hence, I opened Guilty Pleasures. I’ve managed to get good traffic to my page, and this just set off well as I started receiving a lot of orders,” says Elvin, who is also an integrated student at the Taj.
At Guilty Pleasures, Elvin hopes to satisfy customers with the best results, and looking at the great success rolling out, he hopes to scale further and open a store in the near future.
Golden Grillers, Moti’s Chef, Mélange, Archarya’s Kitchen, and Guilty Pleasures are just a tiny pinch amid the entire world of young food entrepreneur’s that the state has witnessed over these last few months.
And, with several first-generation entrepreneurs in the making, the future appears to be bright, as creative minds, backed with the right support and skill set, have made these complex times bright for many others.