Whip it up yourself
A 24-year-old from Faridabad is cooking up a storm with his drool-worthy, easy-to-execute recipe videos on Instagram
As we scroll down the videos on Instagram handle @SoFaridabad, we feel pangs of hunger. Strangely, we don't wish to open a food delivery app but instead, step into the kitchen and whip up one of the recipes 24-year-old Prateek Srivastava has posted. The choice is vast, from chicken changezi, cold coffee with ice cream and Indian style macaroni to restaurant style rajma, and bharwa karela.
One of his posts is a recipe of shahi paneer, and it has got 8 lakh views and 65K saves. "Par har homechef ki shuruwat maggi se hoti hai," the marketing and finance MBA graduate confesses. Srivastava grew up in Dehradun and did his schooling in Allahabad, where his father was posted for his government job. "When I was a student at Delhi University, I started living alone and thus, cooking a lot. My girlfriend Swagatika Behera, who Instagrams @_thefoodiewiththebook_, encouraged me to get onto social media helping me edit videos and write the captions. When I began on December 12, last year, I did it just to document my recipes. I didn't know I would receive so much love," says Srivastava who, in January, reached 100K followers.
Six months on, 79 per cent of 150K followers are women, with followers spread across India, Dubai, US and Pakistan. In the early days, Srivastava would use his iPhone 6 and perch it on the kitchen shelf. "I didn't even have a tripod," says Srivastava. As his followers increased, Srivastava started getting invitation from restaurants for food reviews, but he turned them down. "I didn't want to go down that route, and rather build something of my own. I also took a conscious decision to take on collaborations only once I cross 100K followers. I wanted to be self-made."
Till date, Srivastava makes it a point to respond to every positive and negative comment. "I feel like I have a virtual family." His first collaboration in January was with a dehydrated onion brand. In the initial months, when his vermicelli upma got 35K views, in spite of having just 3K followers, Srivastava realised that he was onto something big.
"I did thorough research and realised that most people put up the same kind of content of what they ate and where. I follow a simple pattern which is straightforward. I cater to all kinds of followers, some who are not very educated. My recipes are easy to follow and execute. I put it down point to point, mentioning the ingredients followed by the process of cooking," says Srivastava. Interestingly, his masalas come from his hometown in Allahabad.
"We have a farm land on Meja Road on adhi (lease system). We grow rice, jaggery, wheat, chillies and some spices." Currently, he is studying for his UPSC exams. "I study four to five hours a day. If I study more, I won't not have the time to develop my recipes," he says.
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