Customer Cravings Amid Coronavirus

India is under a 21 day lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. We spoke to avid food lovers to see how they are handling the situation.

Right from making use of most ingredients in the kitchen to reprocessing food items to create innovative and fun dishes, cooking from home has become more intense, creative and therapeutic. People are trying to replicate the flare of items served in restaurants while combating with their anxieties of the ongoing lockdown. There is no need for panic buying, since using every ingredient and food item to its maximum potential results in fewer trips to the market for purchases.

Peels of citrus fruits can skip the bin and instead be used along with jaggery for preparation of homemade pickles. Potato skins and carrot peels can be stored and prepared into stock for clear soups and aromatic gravies.

Due to the mandated shutdown, this pandemic has affected the businesses of food establishments, including those who are purely running delivery services. However the food cravings and hunger pangs for loyal customers still largely exists and is likely to increase.

Jane Fernandes, MBA Student from Mumbai says, "Post this lockdown the first thing I want to eat is a Shawarma, since it is not something I can easily prepare at home." She goes on to say that she often orders food online and did so recently but has a sad experience, "The other day I ordered food from a restaurant I have really been missing, the order was accepted by the restaurant. I waited for around 45 minutes with no update, later I called the delivery partner and they informed me that the restaurant was closed. Disappointed, I ended up frying some nuggets instead".

Freelance Interior Designer and Illustrator, Danette Gomes is making use of this time by getting creative not only with art but also in the kitchen. Knowing these are sensitive and challenging times she said, "We made a white sauce pasta on Tuesday, and there were some leftovers, so we used the same pasta and converted it into a spinach and mushroom bake. We mix around different dishes to keep our food exciting. For example, a Chana Masala Gravy can be served as a Chana Masala Sandwich the next day.” While satisfying the need for a variety of food indoors, she further adds that she will continue to patronise food outlets when services resume.

" Personally, I would not have any apprehensions eating out after this passes over, when all of this is over I want to eat the smoked chicken and chilli pizza, along with a beer."

A professional chef, Shinaya D'Silva is sure that restaurants will bounce back post this pandemic. She states, "I don't expect anything different from them (restaurants) in terms of operations, people are surely going to eat out, I know I will definitely begin with street food. Maybe some vada pao or chaat or some kebabs too."

In the midst of this temporary situation, food cravings are fulfilled in a number of ways. Recipes and instructional cooking videos which are very popular online and are a good source of guidance for the culinary enthusiast at home. However, the hospitality industry can be assured that customers are looking forward to visiting them once again.

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