Published: 27th October 2018
Pasta Alfredo with zero cheese? This couple just made eating healthy in Bengaluru look super sexy
This food start-up is awesome because of their health quotient. We talk to the power couple behind PurpleBasil to find out what their process is like
Food start-ups are all the rage today. Especially when they serve food that's super-healthy and offers diet plans that can help people get their doctor's charts look better — delivered wherever (as long as you're in Bengaluru). The story of how PurpleBasil came into existence is an interesting one. Dhananjai Raja Kuttikad and his wife Rashmi Ghale, had no experience working in the food industry, until they decided to take the plunge. While Dhananjai has worked as a lawyer for various firms, Rashmi has worked as a quality analyst at GE. A few years ago, they came down to Bengaluru from Hyderabad and decided to make changes in the food they consumed every day that would impact their lifestyle.
Dhanjai recalls how they started experimenting with food and recipes, "After a couple of days we got bored of consuming food which was branded as healthy when it actually was not. None of the food brands were making it easy for consumers to eat healthy food on a daily basis. I felt that they were only focussing on marketing their food and not providing a proper, balanced diet. We realised that there were many like us who would like to have healthy and nutritious food every day. In order to make it interesting, we came out with a concept of healthy food that tastes like fast food."
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The couple did not come out with recipes overnight. In 2015, they started their journey of researching recipes in various cuisines and tried making them using alternative ingredients, Meanwhile, they also tied up with a lot of food experts and consultants to get it right. "Ambica Selvam, a food stylist, was our initial food consultant and she is still our good friend. A lot of trial and error happened during this time with the recipes at home. Although we had replaced some ingredients with the alternative ones, we wanted to retain the taste and this took some time for us. At the end of the year, we decided that we have a good product — one that we could launch in the market," says Rashmi.
But it wasn't just healthy. It also looked and tasted pretty darn good, "The food that we make should look beautiful, taste good and should be healthy enough to provide proper fibre, proteins and nutrients. For example, we make pasta with alfredo sauce without cheese or butter, but it appears the same and tastes yum." With 70 unique recipes in their list and more being added every day, there's always a lot of variety for foodies. "Getting bored of food is really easy. Hence, every day we give new dishes to our customers. What we do is give our clients a great food experience and that's why we have a very high percentage of repeat customers," explains Dhananjai.
We named it PurpleBasil because it reflects the character of everything that we do and serve. While Purple stands for the premium customer experience which we deliver, basil means the freshness of every meal that is cooked in our kitchen
Rashmi Ghale, Co-Founder, PurpleBasil
They started the food journey in their apartment in Yemalur using the simplest marketing tool. Rashmi says, "We had put up a board in our apartment saying that if people would like to taste something different they could WhatsApp us. The orders started trickling in. We were only three — a chef who would prepare the food, Ambica would give suggestions and I would personally deliver it to their doorstep. Later, we moved to a small space in Bellandur."
Interestingly, Dhananjai's first customer was an American expat who ordered food for 40 days straight during her stay in Bengaluru. She came forward to invest in the business and that is when they went on to expand and started a small kitchen at Kodihalli in September 2016 — and then another at Kammanahalli. "Our goal was to create a brand and further to scale up the business. We have signed a master franchiser and very soon, we will have a franchise outlet in Mumbai. Another customer of ours also came forward and we are almost ready to have another outlet in Nagpur. Similarly, there is an outlet which is coming up in Salem too. Our next destination is Pune."