Weaving culinary tales through short video series

Updated: Nov 25, 2017, 10:01 IST | Shraddha Uchil | Mumbai

A home-dining platform films the touching story of a fisherwoman from Versova Koliwada, and hopes to do the same with its home cooks across India

Dressed in a flaming orange saree, Harsha Tapke makes her way through the fish market in Versova. "It was a family tradition. I started selling fish when I got married, around 23 years ago...," she begins in Hindi.

A still from the video shows Harsha Tapke selling fish at Versova market
A still from the video shows Harsha Tapke selling fish at Versova market

The camera then follows her into her mother's home, where the family rustles up Koli recipes - fried fish, and clam masala - to be mopped up with piping hot bhakris. At her dining table sit hungry strangers, ready to devour the food and the stories she has for them about the cuisine and the Koli way of life. This short video, the first from a series to be launched by home-dining platform Authenticook, has got over six lakh views since it was uploaded on November 22.

(From left) Aneesh Dhairyawan, and Priyanka and Ameya Deshpande
(From left) Aneesh Dhairyawan, Priyanka and Ameya Deshpande

If this format of storytelling looks familiar, it's probably because you've come across Humans of New York, which documents interesting stories of people in the form of photographs and, since August, videos too. Just a few days ago, Humans of Bombay also released the first film from its series of shorts. These are just two examples of how video is overtaking text as a storytelling medium on social media. And the stories of Authenticook's home chefs - their lives, motivations and closely guarded family recipes - fit into this format.

Co-founder Aneesh Dhairyawan says, "Over the next month, we plan to release videos about our other home chefs, too. Each has a different story to tell. Some, like Harsha, now have a separate source of income and are thus empowered. Meanwhile, one of our newest home chefs uses the money from the meals she hosts to fund the education of her domestic help."

Our country is home to myriad communities, and it's important to document their culinary legacy before they are lost, believes co-founder Priyanka Deshpande. "We can write about it all we want, but a video is always going to speak more to a person. This is our way of educating people about the lesser-known cuisines of the country."

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