A seasoned food writer, researcher, Historian turned Chef , Osama Jalali was born and brought up in the by-lanes of Purani Dilli but his parental roots belong to a princely estate in Uttar Pradesh called Rampur, famous for its unique Rampuri cuisine. Jalali, together with his mother Ammi Jalali and wife Nazia Khan has been showcasing the lost recipes of Indian, mughal cuisine by partnering with 5-star hotels across the country and doing small pop-ups, food festivals for more than a decade now and never thought of doing something of his own. It was only during the pandemic, lockdown that he came up with the idea of starting Mughal Plate, a cloud-kitchen brand that showcases the mughal cuisine and cooked by the trio from his own home kitchen. “People used to hire us for festivals etc but now they don’t have budget so they are unable to hire us and also we aren’t able to get the business. So, we thought of doing it on our own,” added Jalali. The brand has already made a wave among the foodie circuit in Delhi-NCR in its first week of operations by doing around 20-25 orders the very first week. Excerpts from the interview:
How it all began
We have been doing food festivals with 5-star restaurants from last one decade specializing in cuisines from Rampur, Old Delhi and lost recipes of mughal era. We never started something of our own but during the covid times we thought to start a delivery kitchen taking forward the legacy of mughlai cuisine by focusing on the journey of mughali food in Delhi and UP. That’s how Mughal Plate came into the existence. The brand is solely owned and invested by us.
Handmade and hand-cooked
The food will be prepared by my mom and wife with help from me. We three have been already cooking together during the food festivals that we did with hotels etc. With this brand, we intend not to hire any professional chefs but in future we have plans to hire khansamas who knows about old school cooking. We also want to engage women who cook good food at home but are unable to showcase their talent at any platform.
Delivery as a trend
Delivery has really picked up because of the pandemic as people are still concerned about safety, hygiene etc. Delivery has a safer side as the food is cooked at home and there is a trust factor attached to it. To start with, we are delivering our food to complete Delhi-NCR; including Gurgaon, Noida and Faridabad.
Rise of home chefs
I have been judging home chefs competition from last five-six years and every year have seen a rise in the number of participants. Given the hygiene and variety that these small home-based chefs adhere to there is surge in home chef’s category. We have also applied for home chef license from FSSAI.
All things food
We are working on two menus. Our system is 24-hr in advance wherein we have a signature menu and made-to-order menu in which we have items that are generally not on a regular menu. We are trying to showcase menu and foods that are not showcased or available at a restaurant/hotel menu.
Mughal Plate will stick to the delivery model for a year. We have been getting lots of queries from Mumbai, Bengaluru for a franchise or extension of the brand as a cloud-kitchen. Also, Mughal Plate by Jalali’s also plan to do a fine-dine restaurant after two years when things are little normal. We also aim at doing a sit-down dinner at home introducing concept of Dastarkhwan.
A tribute to women
Started with the sole idea of engaging my mother and wife who have been cooking mughal foods for over a decade now, this brand is a tribute to all women who cook good food at home but unable to showcase them. We are also focusing on hiring women cooks, unemployed ladies who cook at home but unable to showcase their cooking.