Tough times ahead for gourmet industry

From Dalgona Coffee to cake recipes, we bet your social media timeline is brimming over with recipes as your friends and family continue to share them online. As cooking remains the most favoured pastime during lockdown, celebrity chefs like Sanjeev Kapoor, Ranveer Brar, Hemant Oberoi, among others, are also using their time in lockdown to share their culinary secrets on digital platforms and discuss new and smarter ways to deal with the pandemic. Sanjeev Kapoor says that this is the best time for chefs like him to turn adversities into opportunities and part their knowledge with others. He says, “We must keep interacting with our audience and also keep ourselves going. The number of uploads is just a number. We are doing what we do best — cooking!

During this lockdown, I can see a lot of people have picked up cooking which is very good. In the last one month, we have doubled our viewership on YouTube. Other than that, I am focusing on new recipes and getting more videos out there.” Though online content consumption has grown considerably, Kapoor predicts a tough future for the gourmet industry. He says, “It will remain tough for some time. The experiential zones of restaurants and business owners will be touched. The whole chain will suffer. There will be different models that people will use when the lockdown is over because it will be hard to revive. Social distancing and cleanliness will be paramount and important while eating out.” Agreeing with Kapoor on the hardships being faced by the industry, Chef Hemant Oberoi adds, “The restaurants will need the support of the landlords and the rents will have to go down. There has been no revenue generation in the past two months. It is an unknown enemy that we can’t face but we have to move in a positive way and bounce back with smarter ideas.”

As the catastrophic impact of coronavirus continues to grow in the culinary industry, experts feel that the government must provide respite to this sector for quick recovery. Industry stalwarts like Manu Chandra (Chef and Managing Director at the Olive Group) and Ranveer Brar are concerned with the situation of employees, payments, etc. “People who will not be able to sustain two months after lockdown would be at least 30% from this sector. We have to figure out how to sustain this business at least this year. A lot of these restaurants were doing so well but the current state is disheartening,” says Brar. The experts added that sanitisation, cleanliness and social distancing should be the top priorities in the kitchens as long as the situation remains unchanged.

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