Updated: Sep 11, 2020
As part of our In-Conversation series, where we are recounting tales from society and communities that we live in, and we have the first guest for our platform!
I recently had an opportunity to sit down and interview Ms. Prachi, who runs the online platform ‘The Blush of Spice’ and also works in ‘Aroma and Spices’, and ‘Trouville Nation’ via a telephonic interview to know more about her journey in cooking, inspiration and suggestions for all of us.
As food is of course one of our favourites, throughout this interview we have been experimenting a bit with learning the ropes, and also knowing more about building inclusive platforms and publishing content online.
So, without further ado, lets dive right into the first part of the Interview!
(You can find Part Two here)
(Kaushik) Hello Prachi, glad to have you with us here today. Your journey is both an inspiration and a passionate endeavor of yours so I’m sure we will get to know more about cooking and online platforms conversing with you today. So, firstly, could you please tell our readers a bit about what you do, and your page as well as what inspired you to begin?
(Prachi) Hello I am happy to be hear. So from the standpoint of the page, it was initially name ‘Bon Appetite’ which then I later on changed to the ‘The Blush of Spice’. I would say that the inspiration behind the page was my mother. The first thing I ever made was my mother’s vanilla cake recipe, which started my journey with baking. Initially I used to just bake, and I enjoyed doing it. Baking cakes and taking it to my school for my friends to eat was something I enjoyed doing, and my friends definitely enjoyed eating them as well!
At that point of time I didn’t realise that cooking was my passion. This dawned on me in Class 11. I used to try cooking different recipes then one day, my sister pushed me towards opening a page on Instagram to showcase my work.
I realised later that I was never stressed about cooking even when I was very tired. Even if I had had a bad day it usually was made better by cooking and baking. Then it dawned on me that it was my passion.
Initially I faced a lot of problems making the page stand out and increasing the reach of the paper. So for that I took some steps, which included the change in the name of the page, which initially was generic in nature and I changed it to something which I thought was specific to its objective as well as something unique. From then, the page, The Blush of Spice was born.
(Kaushik) You are currently pursuing this along with your studies, so how does this experience work for you, managing both your page and college life? How do you balance it and what do you think has been the sacrifices or the extra efforts you have had to put forth?
(Prachi) Lately, it has become more challenging for me to manage both my page, with its commitments along with my college work. Initially, in my first year of college, I used to travel every day to my university from home, so I had all the ingredients and cooking instruments at home. After coming to the second year of college, I moved to the hostel due to the increased requirements from studies. Cooking was not possible because of course, where would I get instruments for cooking in the hostel? Still, I would always cook a bit here and there, with the occasional sandwich or something that I used to spruce up. In my third year, I became the treasurer in the university, which had lots of added responsibilities and work load associated with it. Time for myself, and for cooking by travelling home became very restricted. Currently, with the pandemic upon us, I have been having a lot more time to concentrate on my page, and post more! A lot of my pending to-dos could be completed now while managing studies has also become much easier for me now.
(Kaushik) That was quite a nice recount of your cooking experience. So, moving on from that what was the first thing you ever cooked which you were truly proud of?
(Prachi) Okay, so it’s a two-part answer. The first thing I ever cooked was a vanilla cake, which was the recipe my mother gave me as I mentioned before. You could say that the thing I am most proud of cooking could be ‘white sauce pasta’.
(Kaushik) You talked about the evolution of the Blush of Spice, but I also recount seeing you working behind the scenes of “Aroma and Spices” and “Trouville Nation”. Could you tell us a bit more about the other pages you are a part of?
All of these pages, are mainly on Instagram, so could you also highlight to the readers why you are primarily focused on Instagram?
(Prachi) In the second year of university, when I was not able to cook as much, there was a lot of pent out requirement to fulfill my food cravings. I like various kinds of food, so I like trying out recipes and dishes from the various hotspots around the city. To that tune, I thought that I could fill my gap in cooking in my second year of university by posting recipes and reviews.
Initially I thought of running a different page on Instagram. A few days after I started planning for the other page, one of my cousins happened to come up to me with the idea of running a similar sort of page as part of Trouville Nation, a Blog on photography that he maintained. So, a different section came around under Trouville Nation, which was primarily focused on food. Both of us started this initiative, as more people working on the same project was better as we could have more coverage. So since then as we go out and sample our favourite dishes, we keep posting the reviews and details on the page.
My page, The Blush of Spice, is run independent of this, and only my cooking posts and dishes are uploaded in that page. I particularly don’t do food reviews, or ratings there.
(Kaushik) You have been using Instagram as a platform for showcasing your cooking for a long time. Tell us a bit more about your journey with Instagram, its ups and downs and some of the other stories of your time here.
(Prachi) Initially the page was operated both on Instagram as well as Facebook. I soon realised that in Facebook there was lesser opportunity to get a wider reach. The Instagram platform focuses more on showcasing photos, and not more on the write-ups which was more favourable to me. So, I decided to continue using Instagram. Since then it has been an uphill task. I have been working to increase my followers. There were lots of things which you need to do initially when running a page on a platform. Following people, sharing my content to slowly get the reach, was all part of the hustle I can say.
(Kaushik) Cooking can have a profound impact on the person cooking as well, good food does make people happy and there are so many recount able things attached to cooking. How has cooking made an impact in your life?
(Prachi) Cooking has been something which I always reach out to when I am down, or feeling off track. Making things helps me relax, even when it is whipping up something in a short span of time. The other thing is that I like eating good food a lot! Sometimes, people are weirded out in trying new things, and going out of their comfort zone. They may be restricted by culture, social settings and other factors. For me, it all is something which I can’t relate to my passion. With being passionate about food, I don’t feel restricting myself to be the answer. For me, trying out new things is the best possible alternative there is! From a wide range of dishes, I hope I can keep sampling good food as and when they keep coming my way.
Another thing which I am guilty of is, that the ordinary home cooked food doesn’t appeal to me, so I like cooking up something different to satiate my palate too.
(Kaushik) Many food lovers, are thereby for these reasons going more into cooking for themselves to satisfy their cravings too aren’t they. So, considering your experience with cooking, what are the three or five dishes that you really enjoy making and a few recipes which you enjoy eating?
(Prachi) Firstly I have to highlight that there is a difference, when someone cooks, sometimes I feel there that when you start to cook, even when you make something exceedingly good, you may or may not have a craving for it. Sometimes you can stand in the kitchen cooking or baking for hours and after that you may lose the appetite for it. People have at times complimented on the cakes that I have baked but I feel that they are nothing out of the ordinary and that I can always do better.
Considering the things, I still love making and eating, they would be white sauce pasta, different kinds of breads, varieties of Indian curries, pancakes, Choco chip cookies, and mug cakes.
(Kaushik) You know that eating has become a lifestyle for many. A lot of online media has been dedicated to cooking, sharing recipes and aspects of food in people’s life. You yourself now have an online presence for quiet some time. So, what do you think cooking as a lifestyle has developed, and how the blogs are maintained and run today? Also, seeing the trends and being an insider, where do you think this kind of lifestyle/blogging and medium is heading towards?
(Prachi) For me, food bloggers are people who generally have a love for food. And the blogs also are very good for people who generally like to eat food and access these platforms. These platforms also become a medium for people interested in knowing and exploring food to explore and sample options, or gain knowledge about different stuff. Usually the food bloggers are sampling a wide variety of things. From these they are able to put forth good recipes and dishes. So, for people in general they get a wider perspective and the ability to choose their recipes or dishes. I know everyone’s perspectives can be different, but if there is something new in some place, the person cooking is getting the publicity and everyone comes to know where to go and eat something different and nice. In other terms if someone is going to a place, they get to see negative reviews as well which can determine their choice to go to the particular place. It can also be a method for knowing where to invest in while going out to eat. For the people cooking and posting they are trying out different things, experimenting with cooking. At times the result may be quite delicious so, as an experience it is satisfying and helpful for them as well. It’s good for people to have an opportunity to experiment with food!
You can find Ms. Prachi’s pages here:
Aroma and Spices (Instagram): (Link)
The Blush of Spice (Instagram): (Link)
Find Prachi on Zomato: (Link)
Interviewed by: Kaushik Das
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