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Vandan’s story is no short of an insane roller coaster ride with ups and downs, twists and turns. Just like his cooking, his journey has also been adventurous. Vandan is one of those few people who know exactly what they want to become in life since the very beginning. His passion for food is undying; his ability to cook is awe inspiring. Growing up, he idolized Sanjeev Kapoor, “I think he was the only tv star chef at that time” he remarked. “I was never interested in studying; always driven towards the kitchen I would ask my mother to let me be her assistant” His demeanor is light hearted. He is very frank and open about his journey. This made it an even more interesting story. When Vandan began cooking for us, I observed around him, the air of efficiency, the skills of a professional and the creativity of an artist. Just like a pot pourri Vandan’s personality is an amalgamation of different spices. He cooked Potato Rosti for us. I don’t know when or how, but as soon as the food was served to us it vanished in thin air. It wasn’t me! Okay, maybe it was me, but you cannot entirely blame me. The food Vandan served us was lip smacking, there just wasn’t enough! We attacked on it like savages seeing food for the first time. It was quite a hilarious sight.
"I enjoy training, and passion is the only skill I seek in my students"
Vandan studied at the Institute of Hotel Management, Aurangabad. The beginning of his journey was difficult. Coming from a small city Vandan had to adjust to the cultural differences of the students who came from different parts of the country. However, he quickly learned and connected with his peers. “I communicated through my food. Everybody loved the fact that I could prepare Gujarati food. They always looked forward to eating authentic dishes.” Even as a child, Vandan always looked forward to lunch breaks at school. He was always interested in the food which his friends brought. Now that’s a sign of a true foodie! After three years of studies, Vandan conducted his research on the local foods of Calcutta, moving from one street to another, interviewing local vendors. He wrote a paper in the research methodological style of writing after the completion of his study. He recieved a Bachelors with Honors because of his research. Later Vandan interned in Mauritius a place where people either spoke French or Creole. A quick learner and a smooth adapter, Vandan picked up Creole and started communicating with the other chefs in the kitchen. Vandan’s stories are fascinating. He seems to have lived his life exactly how he wanted to, pursuing one dream after another. I wanted to know more, and I hoped his story had a happy ending. After interning, he came back to India. Sadly this is where all the troubles began. He explored every option possible, he interviewed at every possible hotel. Luck wasn’t on his side, because Vandan had a really long struggle before he decided to start something of his own. He now runs his own delivery services. “I realized that Gujarati people are very accommodating and accepting towards new cuisines.” However, he further said that people were losing touch with local authentic foods. The idea for his startup Indi Chef stems from his passion to revive local foods. He also trained individuals in mastering the art of the cuisine of their choice, “A trainer should always create a strong foundation for learners by teaching the basics.” He continues his training sessions even today going to his trainee’s house with a set of his favorite knives! “I enjoy training, and passion is the only skill I seek in my students; the rest I can teach them.” His philosophy and passion for cooking, are a sure shot success mantra for all aspirants out there!