No matter how much we crib about our motherland or our culture, when we step out of the homeland we start missing all the little things which had meant nothing to us previously. Would it not be nice to have a dhaba below your apartment in the foreign land which would serve you chhole kulche or a shabby little tea-stall where you could sit all day and think of all the important things in life with a little kulladh of tea in hand?
Homesickness is a powerful malady. There are some social volunteers who try to make you feel at home or at least closer to home when you are living in a far away land. One such sweet volunteer is Baishali Ghosh, from Assam, who owns a home-delivery restaurant called ‘Chakum Chukum’ in Copenhagen, Denmark. The mere words in the restaurant’s title do not carry any heavy message about food, but are denoted as the sounds made by a noisy eater in Bengali! A western gourmet may never understand the relevance of chakum chukum, but a bong or any other Indian foodie may. What’s the joy of food if you cannot dig in with your pretty hands?
“The burning flame of desire to do something on my own always keeps me restless,” says Baishali Ghosh who has recently come up with a book titled ‘Spices of Life’ which she describes as “not just a book of recipes but it is the journey of my life.” She runs a food blog as well that goes by the same title as her restaurant– ‘Chakum Chukum with Baishali’. Her restaurant delivers delicacies like Dab Chingri, Potoler Dorma, Aloo Posto, Nargisi Kofta Curry, Chicken Tikka Masala, Suji Halwa and Nolen Gur ice cream among many other mouth-watering dishes! What if you like to order something you have seen on the blog which is not part of the restaurant menu? In that case, Baishali delivers that particular dish on request.
With a supportive family, Baishali had started her own business in India and had managed it well until a couple of years post marriage, when she had to move to Denmark giving in to her husband’s job relocation. “Managing different priorities at different stages of life did not diminish my ambition. When we started living in Copenhagen, I sensed an opportunity in converting my passion for cooking into a profession and started a takeaway restaurant. Even though I had my share of tribulations while emerging as a matured culinary free spirit, the journey had been wonderful. I don’t cook because I have to, but because I love to,” explains Baishali.
Cooking is an art, and chefs are artists. So is our Baishali, who not only shares her knowledge about food and culinary inventions with the world but also has a keen interest in food photography. Knowledge is never confined in books, one gains it through travel as well, feels Baishali, “Travelling to different parts of the world exposed me to various cultures and traditions. Food is a reflection of culture and heritage.” This inspired Baishali to create fusion recipes form a blend of cultures, which is reflected in her book. Some of her recipes have also been published in reputed magazines, which eventually gave her confidence to pen down a book, where every photograph has been clicked by her without any professional guidance as she believes that food photography is about one’s eye more than the tool(camera). A creative cook can lend a unique flavour to the same old dish.
Baishali had donated proceeds from the sale of her book ‘Spices of Life’ to Association for India’s Development (AID) which initiates and supports grass root efforts in agriculture, health, education, women’s rights and social justice in India. A definite good news for foodies- she plans to open a restaurant in Kolkata soon.