How Indian housewives are becoming gig economy chefs

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Flourishing gig economy
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Flourishing gig economy

Asia's third-largest economy is battling a slowdown so sharp it is creating a drag on global growth, the International Monetary Fund said Monday, but there are some bright spots. The gig economy, aided by cheap mobile data and abundant labour, has flourished in India, opening up new markets across the vast nation.

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Tapping the skills of housewives
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Tapping the skills of housewives

Although Indian women have long battled for access to education and employment opportunities, the biggest hurdle for many is convincing conservative families to let them leave home. But new apps like Curryful, Homefoodi, and Nanighar are tapping the skills of housewives to slice, dice and prepare meals for hungry urbanites from the comfort of their homes.

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Cloud kitchens
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Cloud kitchens

The so-called cloud kitchens -- restaurants that have no physical presence and a delivery-only model -- are rising in popularity as there is a boom in food delivery apps such as Swiggy and Zomato. "We want to be the Uber of home-cooked food," said Ben Mathew, who launched Curryful in 2018, convinced that housewives were a huge untapped resource.

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Getting more female chefs
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Getting more female chefs

Ben Mathew's (in pic) company -- which employs five people for the app's daily operations -- works with 52 women and three men, and the 31-year-old web entrepreneur hopes to get one million female chefs on-board by 2022. "We usually train them in processes of sanitisation, cooking, prep time and packaging... and then launch them on the platform," Mathew said.

The one who embraced the concept early on
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The one who embraced the concept early on

Kallol Banerjee, (in pic) co-founder of Rebel Foods which runs 301 cloud kitchens backing up 2,200 "internet restaurants", was among the first entrepreneurs to embrace the concept in 2012. "We could do more brands from one kitchen and cater to different customer requirements at multiple price points," Banerjee said. The chefs buy the ingredients, supply the cookware and pay the utility bills.

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