What’s Cooking?! - Divya Nitin

With today’s hectic lifestyles and rigorous work schedules, and the exodus of people from their hometowns to new cities where they live alone, there’s always one question that plagues everybody:  what to eat? While eating out is an easy option, after a certain point it becomes both unhealthy and monotonous. Some people love to experiment with food and even cooking, without going through the hassle of sourcing the ingredients and chopping the vegetables. Scabetty, founded by sisters Divya and Aditi Nitin, caters to this niche. The brand’s mission is simple: a helping hand to whip up something new and different every week, so customers don't have to think of something new to cook or fuss around trying to find the ingredients for it. They just have to choose from a variety of delicious meals put together for them on scabetty.com. Then they get the recipes with all the quality ingredients delivered to their doorstep! Here’s what Divya had to say about her venture.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came up with the idea for Scabetty.
I was born and brought up in Hyderabad and have always had a passion for travel and food; I always try local cuisinesin the places I visit. I noticed that in Hyderabad, there were only your typical Chinese and Indian restaurants and not too many others. Since I love international cuisines, I thought I’d go for something more global to differentiate it from other brands around that are doing mostly Indian and Chinese. So we at Scabetty offer Middle Eastern, Mexican and Italian food.

I completed my Bachelor’s and Master’s in biotechnology, and even though I’ve always had a love for food, I never thought of getting into the food industry. I was working with a biotech company in international sales, and realised that it was really not my thing. My sister and I love food, so we thought why not get into it as a career. The concept of Scabetty is already hugely popular internationally, and we wanted to start it in Hyderabad because we saw that the market would be receptive market to it. With people working really late, it takes a lot of work and running around to source the right ingredients to cook; so we make their job easier.

For those who have no idea what Scabetty is, can you explain the concept?
You can choose from our main meals, starters or desserts. All our dishes are from international cuisines from across the world. We aim to introduce two-three new dishes every two weeks. As per our customers’ suggestions and requests, we will also soon launch a salads range. The idea is to provide variety and change it often, so you can try new and different things time and again. We tailor and perfect our recipes in the box to make sure they are easy- to- follow and quick to make. We source fresh and specialty ingredients from the world over, and portion them into the exact quantities for the box. And what's better, we deliver the Scabetty box right to your doorstep for free! We have completely eliminated the need for you to run from one supermarket to another and buy large quantities that you may never use again.

Why would someone do this as opposed to just ordering food from restaurants?
What we want to do is instil the love for cooking in people which, for many, has been lost in this busy world.

Who is your typical customer?
Our customers vary greatly. They’re from all sorts of backgrounds, including plenty of working mothers and men. We have a lot of male customers surprisingly, since they’re all from out of town and looking to feel a bit at home by cooking their own meals.

Where do you source your ingredients?
Lots of people import stuff, but we source all our ingredients locally, and from Mumbai and Delhi, since there’s greater availability there and there are so many more people willing to experiment with food in those cities.

What’s a typical day like for you?
Very hectic – I’m always running around. I have my staff who handle a lot of things, but I am always there to supervise since I don’t like anything to be short of perfect.

What’s the best part of your job?
I’ve enjoyed the fact that I love food and am doing something related to it, and tasting all that different food is fun (laughs). The biggest challenge has been educating people about different cuisines, since people in Hyderabad are a bit hesitant to try new food. But we’ve done a lot of promotion to help open up customers’ minds.       – as told to Suneela