Food = Emotions

This article was originally published on

So what do you want to do after graduating from IIT?”, a close friend asked with an expectant look. As a reflex, I replied, “Build a startup! Would love to create something interesting in the food space.” It wasn’t a childhood dream or a mindless banter, and the more I thought about industries that interested me, the more I was convinced that food sector was one of the most exciting areas to be in. 

That was circa 2004.

Cut to 2014 and Holachef was born. All the homework, observations and market analysis through the years did not prepare me for what I learned as I became a stakeholder in this vast, and largely unorganized, industry. Food sector was still an interesting space, but some of the challenges that lay on our way had little to do with scaling or expansion. Food, as I now realize, has a lot to do with emotions.

Since the beginning, we had a simple vision for the Holachef brand – to become an extension of one’s personal kitchen. What did that mean for us? It meant we not only had to serve great food but also touch an emotional chord through the food. Are you wondering which are these emotions that I talk of are? Read on!

“I like it spicier” vs “It was too spicy for my taste!”

Imagine getting these as reviews for the same dish by the same chef on the same day. Everyone likes their food in a certain way. In most cases, that ‘way’ is how mom used to make it. Believe it or not, we all have a distinct image (and taste and aroma) in mind when someone mentions the humble kadhi-chawal or something equally intrinsic to the palate.

More than standardization of recipes; we learnt that it is the localization and personalization that can play a potentially huge role in creating a flutter in the F&B space. For far too long the industry has thrived only on standardization and niche specialties; more so when the value proposition is that of providing ‘food for daily consumption’

“I am bored of this food!”

No surprises there – we eat at least thrice a day, every day. Food is something that most people look forward to when they need something to lift their mood up or simply to break the daily monotony. Boredom can set in within no time. At one point mom used to ask you, “So what do you want to eat now?” and you could tell her what your heart (and taste buds) desired. But how many of us enjoy that liberty now?

To be able to deliver variety in daily menus without compromising on quality or nutrition is of significant value when it comes to a food business.

“I feel guilty ordering outside food every day.”

We have all been in that situation when over-indulging in outside food has left us feeling less responsible about ourselves. It raises questions about our (seemingly unhealthy) lifestyle.

A food delivery service that can take away the guilt from ordering-in every day – now that’s quite a challenge we have at hand.

Getting a mother to approve our food for her son or having a wife’s confidence that she can rely on our food for her husband’s daily consumption is the Holy Grail for us. Achieving that is what will create a successful people’s brand.

 “I love to explore new cuisines when I travel.”

More often than not, food is what makes a travel experience complete. You visit a new region within your own country or a foreign land, thrice a day you explore the local cuisine on your vacation. And once back, you crave those dishes and remember them with their authentic taste. Can a food service recreate the same taste and fulfill those cravings? Can we offer original Mediterranean flavors and French taste to remind you of the wonderful holiday you once had? There’s our big opportunity.

“The food just spoiled my mood!”

Eating something which does not taste the way you want it to; or craving something but getting to eat something totally different can potentially ruin your mood for long. Being in the food business made us realize that we are actually in the business of creating happiness. Our food can make or break someone’s day – and that’s a lot of pressure to work with.

“Food ordering can get frustrating!”

Can you relate to these situations?

1)      Ordering-in food for an impromptu house party but spending over 30 minutes in taking down what each person wants to eat.

2)      Calling food for two (say, you and your spouse) but while you want to eat Chinese, the spouse is craving Continental. You might decide that ordering from multiple restaurants is way too cumbersome for a weekday dinner so one of you end up compromising on your preference.

3)      Wanting to order-in a scrumptious pizza but having to spend over 15 minutes in building the order (way too many tempting choices that makes it hard to decide)

Can a single food ordering service solve all of these problems at once? Can we offer contrasting varieties, a simple check out and add value to the customers’ life without wasting too much of their time? That’s the problem statement we work with every day!

“The food made me nostalgic!!”

When the food brings back memories from the past – reminding one of mom’s cooking or a travel experience, or even an exciting house party, that’s when it creates true happiness. How we get there is something we learn every day and the learning continues.

Every customer feedback and suggestion that we get makes its way into our decision making process.  Perfecting a standard product is one thing, perfecting something new every day is totally different – especially when it has so many emotions attached to it. The only way to get there, we realized, is by putting in emotions of our own – our undying love for food and our passion to share it with everyone else.

Holachef strengthens ‘food-print’ in Mumbai

Original story: IndiaInfoLine

In the endeavor to be the new-age Mumbaikar’s choice of extended kitchen, Holachef today announced the expansion of its ‘food-prints’ from prime Mumbai locations to the suburbs of Navi Mumbai spreading horizons across more 100+ pin-codes now. Holachef has already started delivering in Nerul, CBD Belapur, Seawoods and Sanpada. Service is slated to start in  Ghansoli, Kopar Khairane, Millenium Business Park, Mahape, Vashi and Turbhe areas of Navi Mumbai on 24th June.

Continuing its proven success story of over 1 million food deliveries till date, Holachef will make the food connoisseurs and picky eaters of Navi Mumbai now relish delicious home cooked meals, stuffed with tasty, healthy ingredients, served hot, right at their doorstep anytime, anywhere.

Founded in May 2014 and launched for customers in September 2014, Holachef offers great home-quality food menus for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner prepared by best culinary talents in the city. The deliveries are made in one-person meal format at a time slot pre-selected by the customer. From Mexican to Middle Eastern and from Kashmiri to Chettinad; Holachef caters to many palates with food made from the best quality ingredients in state-of-the-art kitchens. The stellar chefs have impressive culinary skills and experience which reflect in the food being served.

With interesting consumer engagement drives to newer products and services, Holachef continues to focus towards reinventing consumer-centric campaigns that fulfil a working professionals daily nutrition requirements whilst taking care of their taste buds. With a fine balance between quality and health aspects of a wholesome nutritious home cooked meal, the company currently consists of easily the widest range of food menu offerings in the country.

Holachef strengthens food-print in Mumbai

From 2000 orders per month in 2014, Holachef has grown to 1,00,000 orders per month in 2016. With over 1 lakh unique consumer base collectively in Mumbai and Pune, Holachef on an average receives maximum orders from Lower Parel, followed by Powai in Mumbai and Balewadi in Pune. Holachef has emerged as the most sought after a meal and snack ordering brand amongst the consumers owing to its superior quality food, an extensive variety of menu options, ease of ordering, affordable price points, numerous payment options and the delivery system.

Speaking on the announcement, Saurabh Saxena, Founder, and CEO, Holachef said, “Holachef started with the innovative concept of making chef-crafted fresh meals accessible to consumers.  Holachef was conceptualized with the sole objective of catering to the daily food-ordering needs of busy Mumbaikars. We had been receiving a lot of requests from Navi Mumbai about starting our services there and after the phenomenal response in Mumbai, it was only a natural extension for us to establish our presence in fast-growing Navi Mumbai.”

Online Food Ordering Trends in Mumbai: Holachef Survey

Mumbai is best known for its local trains, street-food, complex geography, multi-lingual population and multi-cultural lifestyle. The city is a melting pot of contrasts which adds to its vibrant way of life. Being the financial capital of India, Mumbai is home to people from all corners. Thus, Mumbai is a hot-spot for restaurants and food services that provide food from various parts of India and the world to cater to the needs of Mumbaikars who crave their regional Indian food and wish to explore the global cuisines. Given the fast paced lifestyle in the city, Mumbaikars are increasingly opting for ‘ordering-in’ of food instead of ‘going-out’ to eat. If the trend is to be believed, the ordering-in phenomena will continue to grow while the going-out phenomena will maintain a status quo in the coming years.

Holachef, one of the most popular online food ordering services in Mumbai, has delivered over 1 million meals in the city since it first launched in September 2014. Holachef serves breakfast, lunch, evening snacks, dinner and packaged munchies, condiments.

Basis the actual ordering patterns across the city, here’s a sneak peek into what our average Mumbaikar prefers when it comes to ordering food online.

Survey report published on Financial Express

Did you think women often opt to order food online to evade entering the kitchen? Well, that does not seem stand true for Mumbaikars at least, a new survey indicates.

Holachef, a Mumbai-based online curated food delivery service, has found that more number of Mumbai men than women order food online. (Reuters)

Did you think women often opt to order food online to evade entering the kitchen? Well, that does not seem stand true for Mumbaikars at least, a new survey indicates.

Holachef, a Mumbai-based online curated food delivery service, conducted a survey to understand food ordering online trends and demands of the city. And results show that more number of Mumbai men than women order food online.

The survey was done between April 2015 to March 2016, and the results of the data are based on analysis of 525,460 food orders from 184,072 users — of which 44.9 per cent (around 82,648) were men and 55.1 per cent (101, 424) women.

According to the study, though the number of men were less as compared to women, 57 per cent of men prefer to order food online and 43 per cent of female users order food online.

Men might be ordering more, but women spend more. Women tend to order food amounting to Rs 360 per order while men spend Rs 270 per order.

The survey also reveals that Mumbaikars enjoy experimenting with food choices for lunch but let nothing come in the way of her/him and ‘desi’ food options when it comes to dinner.

Another pattern that came out with the study was that the people of the city prefer to stay away from the kitchen for most part of the week.

Startup India: Views & Expectations

By Saurabh Saxena

(This article was originally published on

Saurabh Saxena, Founder – CEO, Holachef

I have been a part of the startup ecosystem in India since 2006 – as an entrepreneur as well as an angel investor. Having been on both sides, I have had an opportunity to see this space evolve over the years. Since then, there have been many changes that have propelled this sector ahead. Thanks to the internet and connectivity, things move a lot faster today than they used to. In fact, so many startups, including Holachef, are possible because of the way things have shaped up in the IT sector.

Today, the Indian startup sector is thriving and has a lot of brilliant minds as part of its ecosystem. What I have always appreciated about this space is that help is always at hand when you need it. The entrepreneurs in our country are always willing to share their knowledge or extend their wisdom to others who might be taking their first steps into the sector. Also, it’s a close knit community in India and hence connecting the dots is almost always possible. Startups and entrepreneurs reach out to each other to open up win-win avenues which is always a positive step forward. I have experienced such generosity of many entrepreneurs along the way and I continue to seek their guidance when needed.

That is not the only challenge for this space. Starting a business in India has so many barriers and the processes are far from being simple. While this may not deter businesses from starting, it definitely slows down the process. Finding the first few customers is also one of the biggest challenges faced by every startup. However, the biggest strength of this sector is that in terms of technology and innovation the Indian start-up ecosystem has only just begun.

So far we could not have imagined an Uber or a Facebook coming out of India but I see that changing in the coming years. Technology and innovation will be at the crux of the Indian start-up sector.  Needless to say, we need more innovative minds to lend themselves to this space. Not just in technology, but on the whole, finding a suitable team is a big problem that all start-ups face. Perhaps working for a startup does not seem very lucrative to many and that needs to change. In fact, a host of new start-ups are in the business of finding suitable hires for other startups, which I think is great.

I believe there is a lot the government can do to channelize the resources in the unorganized sector towards a more startup-like structure.  Even in smaller Indian towns, so much innovation is left to be done in terms of raising money, marketing, use of technology and internet for business. India has a long way to go and support from government will play a key role in nurturing and expanding the sector. If they could build more incubators, accelerators and even give directives to B-schools about pumping up their entrepreneurial-cells, things would move a lot faster. There should be a provision for seed money to newer startups, especially in sectors that it wants to encourage such as healthcare, environment, farming, travel, etc. By investing in more startup-focused events, the government can provide a great platform to connect new ventures to their first set of customers.

Year 2015 has been full of ups and downs for the Indian startup sector, but 2016 is going to be all about consolidation. There will be mergers and acquisitions, focus will be more on building products and less on burning cash towards large scale marketing. We can expect more money from foreign investors coming into India this year. Another important trend to watch out for will be trickling down of many urban startups into smaller Indian cities. That will be a big game changer. There’s so much growth potential out there, it’s amazing.

The startup community is eagerly waiting to see how the PM’s StartUp India, Stand Up India program will unfurl. It’s a great step forward and we are hoping it will bring about some change for the better. I am confident that existing entrepreneurs will pitch in and take this campaign forward in the right direction. Having a young startup of my own, I see this as a very encouraging step forward because I understand the struggles a new venture faces. Any help is extremely valuable.

On the whole, we have a lot to watch out for and I believe the stage is set for an exciting play of events in this space.

Holachef: Chefs’ cuisines at your doorstep

Ratan Tata-backed foodtech start-up looks to ride on the growing delivery market

Aaj khane mein kya banega? (What do we cook to eat today?) This daily challenge of what to cook, and who will cook, led Saurabh Saxena and Anil Gelra, both alumni of Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, to find Holachef Hospitality in September 2014.  Holachef, which brings cuisines from master chefs’ kitchens to your doorstep, has been a hit with users.

The company, which recently raised an undisclosed amount from Ratan Tata, says it is bullish on the market. In June, it had raised Series-A funding of Rs 20 crore in a round led by Kalaari Capital and India Quotient. Prior to that, in February, Holachef had raised a seed fund of Rs 2 crore from India Quotient in the form of convertible notes. “It all started with a personal need. What to cook was a challenge day in and day out and there was too much dependency on domestic help. Else, we ended up ordering a lot and going out a lot. When we spoke to people around, we learnt we were all in the same boat. That was the genesis of Holachef,” says Saxena.

Business Standard – 26th October 2015

To Saxena, it is like living a beautiful dream. He says when Holachef had been launched, everyone had been sceptical and the start-up hardly had found chefs to come on board, as people were not sure if customers would order when there were so many restaurants.

On the day of launch, the portal did two orders and in the first month, 110. “We have now come a long way and are doing 2,000 orders a day, roughly translating to 4,000 meals per day,” says Saxena.  According to him, it was the signing of a sous chef from Taj Banquets that proved Holachef had arrived. A sous chef is the culinary chef, appointed under the executive or head chef in any kitchen.


Within a year, Holachef expanded to eight localities in Mumbai. In Powai alone, where it began its services, it has 70 chefs. In all, Holachef has around  250 chefs on board. It has also initiated operations in Pune.

“Today, the level at which we are operating, there is a lot of inbound interest from the chef community. There are celebrity and sous chefs, wanting to come on board. These are exciting times for us,” says Saxena.  The start-up has plans to expand to new localities, but it doesn’t want to spread too thin. It would like to first make its existing operations perfect. “Once we become absolutely sure of our processes, it will become easier for us to expand to new locations,” says Saxena. For Holachef, technology is crucial to its business model. It enables seamless processing of orders, back-end automation in predicting  demand, and planning deliveries better.

Anand Lunia, founding partner, India Quotient, says Holachef can scale up without a lot of capital and manpower. “Chefs cook on their own, invest in equipment and are happy with a variable pay. Holachef is now ahead of competition, and it continues to double every two months. The team at Holachef is only of one year and has been making the right moves.” The food ordering market exists in smaller cities, too, and Saxena thinks the start-up can expand to 20-30 cities in India. “We also plan to take Holachef international,” says Saxena.


The real competition for Holachef would come from people cooking at home. If one does not have the time or interest to cook at home, Holachef comes as an alternate form of supply.

Holachef combines the best of all worlds. It has a large, daily-changing menu while maintaining authenticity of taste because they have so many specialist chefs, working for them. It maintains quality, which marketplaces sometimes flounder with. Holachef has mastered the logistics, packaging, and quality control,” Lunia adds.

For now, publicity has only been through word-of-mouth. “We are active on social media as a new-age technology company, and we try to understand social media as much as we can. Paid media should come when people can’t discover you anymore and we are still being discovered.”

Saxena kicked off his entrepreneurial career with Mexus Education, while Gelra was earlier with Sodel Solutions.

Saxena says the idea is to provide a great mix of delicacies from around the world – all prepared by Holachef’s chefs. Also, they need to be able to design menus because that’s crucial to the portal’s everyday offering — a new menu each day!

The chefs who come on board at Holachef need to have professional experience, along with expertise in a certain cuisine.

How Saurabh Saxena’s app made Ratan Tata invest in it

(This story was published in ET Panache on 21st October 2015. You can read the original here.)

Like the rest of us, Saurabh Saxena, CEO and Founder of Holachef, has had problems with domestic help. “What she cooked wasn’t necessarily what we liked,” he says, laughing. But, unlike the rest of us, he turned his frustration into something productive. Holachef, launched in September 2014, connects you to chefs to enhance your dining experience right at home. The company has a customer base in Mumbai and recently expanded to Pune. Earlier this year, they received Rs 2 crore in seed funding from India Quotient. In another fundraiser, led by Kalaari Capital, they raised Rs 20 crore in Series A funding. And then came another biggie. Holachef managed to catch the eye of Ratan Tata, who invested an undisclosed sum in the startup. ETPanache catches up with Saxena, the man behind nearly 3.5 lakh meals, to find out about his love for ghar ka khaana, his inspiration and just who he would like to call over for dinner. And of course, he’ll be ordering in.

You have been in the startup circuit since 2006, starting with Aakar Knowledge Solutions. Tell us about your switch from an educational startup to Holachef?

Even though I was in the field of education for seven years, there was a problem in the F&B market that I felt that I could solve. I reasoned that my friends and I were facing the problem, so why not try to solve it?

How did Holachef come about?

My wife and I are working professionals. Cooking and the kitchen are the last of our concerns. The domestic help wasn’t great and eventually we used to order in and go out to eat way too often. There was no place which offered quality food that’s not greasy. So, yes, in a way our domestic help was a breaking point for us (laughs). We couldn’t expect her to bake lasagna for us, so we can’t really blame her though.

Do you remember your first customer? Do they get special treatment at Holachef?

Our first order was from a very close friend of mine. I gave him a call and told him, “Boss. Download the app and place an order.” It was more of a command (laughs). He ordered South Indian fare. Nowadays, I don’t need to command him, but he does order frequently from us.

How did you build your army of over 200 chefs?

That’s the best part! Within the F&B industry there is a huge and thriving amateur industry. There is a good supply of chefs skilled in various cuisines, both at the amateur level and professional level. At the top restaurants, you remember the dish and restaurant but not the chef. With Holachef, they get direct exposure for their cooking. Getting them on board was difficult at first but once chefs started realising that this was workable, it all started coming together. Some of the chefs who have been with us from the start have served more than 20,000 meals. Our chefs come from Taj, ITC as well as a lot of home chefs.

How often do you and your wife use Holachef?

We use it every day. We’ve shut down our home kitchen.

What were the challenges you faced when you started? And what are the challenges you’re facing today?

Convincing the chefs that this was an alternate way of looking at the supply chain was one of our initial challenges. Now the problems are more operational. Making sure everything is consistent across customers, making sure the food is what the customer wants.

How did you first go about raising funds for Holachef?

Initially, the co-founder and I put in money. But we were fortunate that quite a few people had our food and were keen on the idea. That’s how India Quotient came on board.

How did Ratan Tata hear of Holachef?

I was fortunate to meet him at one of the events Kalaari had organised. We got talking. Given his experience in the hospitality industry, he had an amazing level of insight and asked us great questions on how we were planning on taking things forward. The conversation lasted close to 45 minutes. After that, we heard back from his team that he was interested.

Did he order any food?

He did check out the website at the presentation. But he hasn’t ordered food. I did take oatmeal cookies and some delicious South Indian condiments for him for the meeting, but I don’t think he ate it (laughs).

Has Ratan Tata sat in on any meeting? To what extent does he provide guidance?

With a person like him, it is more about the small interactions you can have with him. It’s not like he needs to sit on the board or attend meetings.

What is the best advice you’ve taken away from conversations with him?

That companies are built with a lot of effort and thought. He said while there is a lot of strategy, there should also be passion. Transferring that passion from the top to bottom is a priority.

Who would you like to call over for dinner?

Rahul Dravid. I would not make anything because if I cook, he would run away. I would have our chefs serve him authentic regional cuisine — food from Bihar, Maharashtra and so on. I will also be glad to host Ratan Tata.

Who are the startup entrepreneurs that you will be looking out for?

We have to look for real problems with our customers, not just a buying habit or trend. I look forward to startups in healthcare. There are a few in the personal nursing space and I think that is a phenomenal idea. Simply because we all have elders at home — personal healthcare is so difficult to find. If a startup like this succeeds, it will make a tremendous improvement in people’s lives.

What one must know before wanting to join a start-up

(This post was first published in Business Standard. You can read the original article here.) 

Holachef founder Saurabh Saxena wrote this email to a prospective employee. After reading it, he decided to join — more than ever

Dear Enthusiast,

I am glad that you have shown interest in joining Holachef. However, before you come on board, I want to be 100% sure that you have set your expectations right for working in an organisation like ours.

is a start-up; full of many dreams and uncertainties. As a start-up, the only thing that matters for growing in the right direction is the attitude of our people, our team.

The willingness to get hands dirty, the ability to be a good team-player, the enthusiasm to learn something new with every challenge, the competence to build and mentor a team, the maturity to deal with frustrations, the intent and the thought that patience is the key, the acceptance of the fact that people make mistakes and that no one is born with perfection are some of the most important qualities you must have before you step into the start-up ecosystem.

There will be times when things won’t go as per the plan, disappointments will be at an-all time high and criticism will surround you. There will be times when your ego will be hurt. It’s the ability to digest all of it and still move forward that defines a start-up. Agility and flexibility need to be ingrained in our blood. Learning from every disaster is the only way to exist. And let me remind you, there will be many disasters along the way.

Team goals become individual goals and vice versa — that’s the kind of environment we need to create. Personal whims and fancies play absolutely no roles. Mediocrity is unacceptable. And there has to be a way to improve on a daily basis and strive for excellence.

Short-term business needs may not sync with the company’s long-term vision. Processes may be vague or may not exist at all. Hiring can be a painfully long and frustrating process. Budgets may sometimes be tight while there may be moments when the only thing on the mind would be ‘survival’. Expect to be the most crucial screw in the organisational structure once in a while; and sometimes be prepared to feel that your role is not a priority for the company at all.

‘Trying’ may not be an option – it’s only ‘getting sh** done’ that matters.

Limits will need to be stretched and midnight oil may have to be burnt. At times, you will have to explain things to someone who doesn’t understand it at all. Perseverance is another virtue you will need in abundance.

Rome wasn’t built in a day nor were the greatest that exist. It takes time and sweat. It takes fights, bruises and blood baths. It takes courage.

Please be sure of what you are getting into beforehand.

Neither me nor Holachef has proven anything to anybody yet. We aren’t big, we are just a tiny blip on the radar. Where we go from here is entirely in our hands and depends on our attitude.

is founder and CEO of, a food-tech start-up where professional and amateur chefs can sell their meals

Saurabh Saxena talks about IIT, Holachef and more

This article was first published in Asian Age. You can read the original story here. 

What’s cooking today?

Conceived as a solution to this daunting everyday question, Hola Chef brings you culinary delights from a different kitchen every day of the week

At 16, Saurabh Saxena, the founder of Holachef, found himself battling a choice between academics and his passion. What followed was four years of studying metallurgical engineering at one of the most coveted institutions in India — Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai.

Saurabh Saxena

However, it turned out to be a period in his life which he likes to remember fondly and thinks is the reason for whatever success has come his way so far. “I was very much interested in sports, but in my final year of schooling, I had to choose between academics and athletics. I chose the former,” recalls Saurabh.

Hailing from Udaipur, the city of lakes in Rajasthan, Saurabh has built a successful food start-up, Holachef that offers different menus from different kitchens every day. Based on pincode locations, Holachef provides customers with food from their closest kitchens, adding to the variety and options since each has a distinct taste. The kitchen could be that of a professional chef or a homemaker.

Although he was confident of it becoming a successful enterprise right from the time of its launch in last September, a recent 20 crore investment from Ratan Tata has certainly been an icing on the cake, feels Saurabh.

“I was very fortunate to get through IIT. With so many aspirants applying for Joint Entrance Examination, I think, one needs to have certain amount of luck to get through as well,” he says.

Telling us about how Holachef came to be, Saurabh says, “The idea came from a very personal crisis. We realised that food is a big problem for working people in Mumbai. If there’s no food at home, then we have to order from somewhere, and you cannot have restaurant food everyday. You either need to make it on your own or hire someone to make it for you,” he points out.

For Saurabh, the years at IIT were his most defining years where he got exposed to different people and ideas. “Some of our role models were my seniors,” he says, but cites the young entrepreneur Kashyap Deorah as his mentor.

After graduating, he took up a job at a law firm working on intellectual property rights. “That was a very interesting chapter in my life. I learnt a lot while I worked within a small set-up” he recalls. But it wasn’t until 2006 that he came up with his first venture. “The wish to do something on my own was always latently present. But after a point I realised that I had to take that plunge.” In 2004, he founded his first company, Aakar Knowledge Solution, which provided products and services for schools. “At that point we realised that a lot can be done in the education sector, where there was a wide gap in the methods of teaching. Our efforts were to bridge this gap in whichever way possible. A lot of my batch-mates collaborated in that venture. But then it was acquired by Mexus Education. After that I worked with them for almost five years,” adds Saurabh.

It was at the tail end of his tenure with Mexus that he finally found a new idea to work on — one that he would later name ‘Holachef’. “The problem was genuine, and we figured that not many people have done anything about it. The idea was to primarily an answer to the dreadful question we ask daily: What’s for food today? So we decided to introduce a service where one will get quality food made with ingredients and methods that they would use for their own food,” he says.

“The biggest challenge for us was to convince the chefs to work with us,” he adds. But thanks to the appeal of the idea, it wasn’t difficult to lure them in. “From the very beginning when I heard of Holachef, I wanted to work with them. They are giving opportunities to new chefs and one gets enough independence to work in their own small kitchen set up; we also get enough space to experiment, while keeping the dishes less complicated,” says chef Shahzad Variava, a dessert specialist for Holachef.

After recently lunching services in Pune, Holachef’s trajectory seems to be gaining upward momentum.

“Currently, we are focusing on going deeper in Mumbai, because this is a genuine and more rooted problem in a city like Mumbai,” explains Saurabh.

Meeting with Tata:

We were in talks with him since June and finally things fell into place. Meeting Ratan Tata was, needless to say, quite an experience. The fact that he acknowledged our endeavour is a boost in itself. Though it was never quite informal, the kind of questions and points that he raised during our meetings were an impactful learning experience for us. He is a man who has spent so many years in the hospitality sector, so with every statement, he shared his years of experience.

Giving lessons to young guns:

“The only thing that I have realised from my experience is that there is no such thing as the right idea, right time and right place. One needs to take the plunge, and only then will they find their way. Ideas that are in your mind are much different than the work that you have to do at the ground level. And ideas will keep evolving and this is the school of thought that I come from,” concludes Saurabh.

Holachef associates with Robin Hood Army

The best things in life are meant to be shared.

A thought that we, at Holachef, closely believe in apart from our love for great food and the desire serve hearty meals to everyone we can reach. All this is possible because of our stellar chefs who are consistently trying to bring the world on your plate.

We felt that while we cater to palates that are forever-evolving in taste and desire, there are some who find happiness and satisfaction in simple, warm, nourishing meals.

When we connected with Robin Hood Army and discovered the amazing work they had been doing with street-dwellers in Mumbai, we knew we wanted to be a part of their wonderful story. The Robin Hood Army is a group of over 500 friends and colleagues who work across India and Pakistan for providing food to the less fortunate. Every night a total of almost 5000 hungry people across 14 cities in India like Delhi, Noida, Mumbai, Bangalore, Jabalpur and more are fed by volunteers of the Robin Hood Army.

Every Sunday, Holachef will be contributing freshly made meals comprising of dal rice / khichdi to the Robin Hood Army for distribution among the less fortunate who have made Mumbai streets their home.

On 26th July 2015, we made our first contribution and it brought smiles to so many faces – it was heartwarming. We would like to think the Robin Hood Army for facilitating this wonderful initiative and each of our patrons for they contribute to this initiative with every order placed on Holachef.

Glimpses from our first distribution:

#RHA #MumbaiThe ‘how to be cool 101’ lesson from the kids of the Thane Teen Haat Naka:)A big thank you to our newestpartner Holachef along with our absolute constants – Aye Dios Mio for the yummy food which was distributed around Mulund and Thane, Andheri and South Bombay!

Posted by Robin Hood Army on Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Robin Hood Army Volunteers

Robin Hood Army Volunteers

Teen Hath Naka, Thane

Teen Hath Naka, Thane

Teen Hath Naka, Thane

Teen Hath Naka, Thane

Opposite R Mall, Thane

Opposite R Mall, Thane

Opposite R Mall, Thane

Opposite R Mall, Thane

Opposite R Mall, Thane

Holachef Van

Holachef Van

Holachef Van

Originally, surplus food from restaurants is collected by volunteers of Robin Hood Army and distributed among the poor and the hungry. A simple, thoughtful and wonderful concept indeed. They do not accept monetary donations and simply need your time, as they state.

With a goal of eliminating hunger, they are always welcoming of more volunteers, restaurants that want to contribute and residential societies that would like to get involved. Their decentralised model of self-sustenance is quite simple and can be followed easily too. If you wish to associate with Robin Hood Army, send them a message through their Facebook page and they will revert quickly For more details, check