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Hetal Jannu and Anuja Balasubramanian, founders of Show Me The Curry, transport thousands of viewers from across the globe into their kitchens through their cookery shows on YouTube.
Interview by Anne John
Anne John (AJ): What was your ‘aha!’ moment that spurred you both onto the road to SMTC?
Hetal & Anuja: Filming cooking videos was Shrikant’s (Hetal’s husband) idea but the “aha!” moment came as soon as he mentioned it. Immediately, we both thought of family and friends who could benefit from such a service.
AJ: Congratulations on SMTC’s first book “The Healthy Indian Diet”! Do share with us a few experiences that went behind bringing out this book.
Hetal & Anuja: Thank you. We always try to promote a healthier style of cooking and eating, and we were amazed to read about the science that answers “why” traditional Indian food is healthy. The contents of the book were written by our co-author, Dr. Raj Patel and SMTC provided the recipes. The process of writing a book, however, is a long and tedious one. It takes a lot of patience.
AJ: You have been involved with SMTC for about 4 years now. What are the biggest lessons that both have learnt along the way? As entrepreneurs, what do you think you could have done differently?
Hetal & Anuja: Clichéd as it may sound, “Anything is possible”. Four years ago, we would have never fathomed the idea of cooking in front of a camera, editing videos, doing live cooking demonstrations for TV stations, conducting cooking classes, writing a book and being on our way to becoming a household name. Right now our business is running pretty efficiently so we feel we have made the right choices along the way.
AJ: There are countless cookery shows both online as well as on TV not to mention dedicated cooking channels. What do you think makes SMTC stand apart from your competitors and contemporaries?
Hetal & Anuja: We stand apart from TV cooking shows because we are regular people and not executive chefs. People can relate to us better without being intimidated. We do not use fancy gadgets or fancy terms.
What makes us different from other websites is the preciseness of our recipes. One of the most common feedbacks we get is that our recipes are foolproof. We also provide tips along the way to help those who may be new to the cuisine or the recipe.
AJ: Where do you get ideas for the videos? How to you choose which dish to cook up?
Hetal & Anuja: Initially we started filming videos for the dishes we make on a regular basis for our families. Along the way we started to incorporate viewer requests as well as viewer submitted recipes.
AJ: You two have been friends for a long time! In each other’s respective opinions, what unique feature do you think that each of you brings to SMTC?
Hetal: Anuja brings a sense of liveliness to the show.
Anuja: Hetal is very methodical in her thinking and that keeps us very focused on how to go about the show and the business.
AJ: Who is your favourite celebrity chef (apart from each other, of course!)? What do you like most in him/her?
Hetal: My favourite celebrity chef is Martha Stewart because she is the ultimate domestic goddess but at the same time, a savvy businesswoman.
Anuja: I got interested in cooking thanks to Martin Yan of “Yan Can Cook”. He puts a lighter twist on a chore that can be so mundane and boring.
AJ: There are many young women who consider converting their hobby into a successful business venture but are hesitant to do so. What would you like to say to them?
Hetal & Anuja: We’d like to say that there is no crystal ball. You will never know till you try. Success usually does not come overnight. Sometimes it can be a long road ahead and perseverance is key. However, there is nothing more gratifying than watching your business grow and your hard work paying off.
Thanks Hetal and Anuja!
And to sign off, here is a quick recipe for Besan Puda With Spring Onions from Show Me The Curry!
Anne John loves to play with words and calls herself a reader, writer, explorer & dreamer.
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