CalcuttaCooks is the expert-run home kitchen offering bona-fide Bengali dishes and dreamy custom-made bakes
CalcuttaCooks by home chef Onirban Sen has already acquired a cult following in the city in just a year. Sen, who runs the kitchen along with his mum, has been in the F and B industry for quite a few years and was instrumental in setting up a number of restaurants around the city. The chef shared with us an insider’s perspective on why the home kitchen circuit in Kolkata is booming.
“It’s like how you go for easy, store-bought clothes the whole year round, but for significant occasions and festivities you go for designer picks or custom-made numbers. If you want a run-off-the-mill cake you go to a bakery near you, but if it’s a birthday cake for someone special wouldn’t you want that sense of perfection and that expert finish? I think a home chef offers that finesse. When I take an order for a cake I always ask my customers what they are looking for, I can’t be going about the same chocolate truffle route, it’s about putting their priorities first,” Sen shares.
The self-taught baker has been making some quirky, and rather elaborate cakes and his cheesecakes, especially are the talk of the town. “My cheesecakes have found an immense popularity, that’s true,” Sen exclaims. His Instagram page also has some dreamy, tiered, impromptu cakes that look anything but last-minute bakes. But dessert is not his only forte, CalcuttaCooks also offers a range of authentic Bengali dishes and has a weekly menu which you can order from. “My mom and I are the only cooks, everything is made by us, every weekend we come up with a new menu and we usually share it with our clients over Whatsapp groups and social media,” Sen let us in on his system.
The saturation of gourmet home kitchens in the city has done away with the concept of specialised cuisine as most chefs are exploring any and every global palate. But Sen was quite particular about sticking to a key genre. “Since I run the kitchen with my mum,of course, we only specialise in Bengali food with a touch of other Indian nuances. But more importantly, I have grown up eating some of the best food at home and all my friends, colleagues and acquaintances who have had my mum’s food have loved her cookery. I simply wanted people to have a taste of what we make in our kitchen,” the chef remarks.
This Durga Puja, Sen found himself very busy in his Alipore kitchen as everything from his menu was completely sold out on Ashtami and Nabami. “We prepare limited portions, people usually need to order in a day in advance and we were totally sold out this Puja,” he reveals. The bestsellers from his menu apart from the delicious cheesecakes? “”The Gondhoraj Bhetki, Nawabi mutton and our authentic Morog Pulao are the three things which people keep on asking us to bring back in every menu,” Sen highlights. Hot tip: Don't forget to check out the Diwali hampers curated by Sen which feature cakes in jars, homemade chocolates and a lot more.