BENGALURU: The pandemic has seen many don the chef's hat, and it’s no surprise that home chefs are on the rise. “So, a lot of them have been asking me for recommendations, and I have been suggesting what is often used at hotels,” says Prashant Puttaswamy, executive chef at Cantan and Fatty Bao.
He was referring to the cheese of Vallamborsa Cheese Shop in KR Puram, which is run by Father Michael. While they previously sold only to businesses, including the Taj the Group of Hotels, The Oberoi and Olive Beach, they have moved to the B2C model. People can now place orders on their phone via call or WhatsApp, and have it delivered by Dunzo. Some of the varieties include homemade parmesan, grated buffalo mozzarella, burrata (which has a molten centre and should be consumed at one go), fresh olive-stuffed bocconcini, ricotta cheese and mascarpone cheese.
But the situation is grim for Father Michael whose company used to manufacture 100 kg of cheese a day, which has now come down to 10 kg a day owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. They make 11 varieties of cheese and have dropped one of their popular choices, goat cheese. “Karnataka focuses on goat meat and not milk hence, we depend on Kerala for supply. However, with borders having been affected, we had to drop the production of goat cheese,” he explains. They now plan to start their own goat farm near Hosur.
“The inclusion of the B2C model is to sustain business and the farm that we plan to start is because of the issues we have been facing. To make 100 kg of cheese, we require about 400-500 litres of milk. It has not only been difficult to procure buffalo milk during this pandemic but quality too has been inconsistent. The feed is important as taste and aroma depend on that,” he says.
He is no newcomer to the business, having travelled to Italy to learn the art of cheese making. Each variety of cheese, he believes, has a character and needs to be treated accordingly. Even as the ride may be rough, Father Michael after starting the B2C option is certain that they are back on track. Tanmoy Savardekar, chef consultant who has worked on international cruises and has experienced an array of authentic Italian cheeses, finds the cheese – his favourite being Bocconcini – authentic in terms of flavour and texture. “I even use the whey in making dal, chapatti dough, etc as it has milk solids and enhances the flavour,” he says.