KOCHI: Why waste a delicious piece of cake or a tub of payasam when somebody else would be happy to have it. This realisation made the residents of Nagarjuna Pearl Bay Apartments, Kadavanthra, Kochi, to form a WhatsApp group called Pearl Bay Kitchen (PBK).
This not only worked towards bringing the residents closer but also became a space where they could earn money by selling food prepared by them. The group has been active for the past one-and-half-years.
It all began when homemaker Bharathi G Nair thought of putting up a few pieces of red velvet cake she made on a WhatsApp group of the residents. “I didn’t want my children to eat the entire cake that I had baked. So I posted four pieces for sale. To my surprise they got sold within seconds,” says Bharathi.
The very next day, a few women came together and created a WhatsApp group only for the ladies. Today, this exclusive food group has more than 100 members. “PBK helped us to explore the hidden chef in us. Everyone has a speciality of their own,” said Bharathi, who cooks up delicious desserts.
Parippuvada, chips, unniyappam, neyyappam, ada, kozhukkatta, kumbilappam, pulisserry, vine, chocolates, donuts, cakes, pizza, brownie, biriyani and North Indian dishes are some of the trending items.
The items may command the market price or sometimes more. However, nothing remains unsold.
“Quality is assured since we make the food item for our household use,” says Kavitha Rajeev, a chocolate specialist. Even as the youngsters consider the group a space to unleash their creativity, the elderly have taken to it to keep them occupied. For Indira Sasi, a senior member, cooking is a hobby. She says, “The bonhomie is special, since it stems from the food we share. Such a vibe is not seen in many apartment buildings these days. The kids too are a happy lot, since they get to savour various delicacies.”
11-year-old Sookshmadhanav R Nair is one such fan. “Bharati aunty’s donut, Lyney aunty’s pizza and Indira aunty’s curries are my favourites,” says Sookshmadhanav. “Our children might be big fans of KFC and Dominos, but PBK, to an extent, has introduced them to ethnic food and children now prefer them as snacks in the evening,” said Reshmi Panicker, another resident.
The group has also brought out the hidden entrepreneur in many housewives. Asha G Nair’s H2A (Health To All) curry powders today have several customers across Kochi. “We are all aware of the adulterants being added to our food, but are forced to buy them since we don’t have an alternative. I came up with the idea to produce homemade masalas, while sharing healthy food through PBK,” says Asha, who is planning to produce it commercially in the coming years.