Restaurants in India go DIY due to the pandemic

Feel like a chef at home with these exclusive DIY kits from restaurants ©Anton Chernov/

The COVID-19 induced lockdown has made restaurants across the country think out of the box and to ensure that they remain connected with their customers have come up with unique DIY kits that include detailed instructions and ingredients to put together your favourite dish.

Star Turn

Five-star restaurants have jumped into the fray and are promising the same experience from the comfort of your home. Recently I had the chance to put together a chipotle millet pizza from the DIY menu at home that came with a set of instructions and each ingredient packed separately from Novotel, Bengaluru and the result was great.

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The DIY kit from Novotel, Chennai ©Bindu Gopal Rao

Chef Ritu Dalmia has launched Diva Casa that delivers DIY meal kits with cooking instructions. A special video of Chef Ritu accompanies each recipe explaining special tips and secrets for each recipe. “The most important reason for bringing out a DIY kit is that our food is best eaten when freshly prepared rather than reheated. Secondly today we all love the idea of putting a meal together but don’t like doing the dirty work, so we are here to do the dirty work and want our guests to enjoy the cooking part.” Likewise, Novotel Chennai (Chamiers Road) has launched a DIY brand called Tossed, designed by Executive Chef Kalai Selvan. Supreet Roy, General Manager explains, “our popular orders include The Breakfast - eggs Benedict, the gnocchi box, meat lovers burger box and Chef Kalai's Signature chicken ravioli. The items in the box are measured and serve two people”.

Restaurant Vibes

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Pizzeria has introduced DIY kits that come with all necessary condiments  and ingredients ©Bindu Gopal Rao

Restaurant-style pizzas are coming home too. 1441 Pizzeria’s DIY kit comes with a pizza base, sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese with toppings, and is available at their outlets in Mumbai, Pune, and Bangalore. Krishna Gupta, Managing Director of 1441 Pizzeria says, “the response has been overwhelming as customers have embraced this concept well and we have seen a lot of family activities taking advantage of the DIY kit as it is super engaging and brings out the chef within you.” 

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A recipe kit from Being Chef ©Bindu Gopal Rao

Being Chef one of the oldest outfits in the DIY Meal kit section operates in the NCR region. Customers can order the kit from their website or directly call the customer service. Basic kits start at Rs. 150. Shubham Maheshwari, Founder & CEO, Being Chef, says, "our DIY kits have options from Indian, Italian, Chinese cuisines and contains all the ingredients required to cook a dish. Also, the cooking time is less than five minutes and that is why it is known as five-minute recipe kits. The response has been great in the lockdown and has seen close to 100% surge in orders.”

Family Ties

DIY kits are gaining popularity because families have been reacquainted with the idea of cooking a meal together. Smoke House Deli’s DIY Deli offers a selection of their best mains and desserts and each kit serves two. “One can pick from a penne arrabbiata kit, fusilli in cheesy alfredo kit, ol’ school mac n cheese Kit or tomato mascarpone risotto kit. One can also involve the kids, with Junior DIY Deli, a set of simpler, kid-friendly DIY kits which serve chocolate chip pancakes, market vegetables or chicken sausage & onions pizza,” says Jaydeep Mukherjee, Brand Head, Smoke House Deli. The best part is the detailed set of instructions that come along with the kits for easy cooking and can be ordered via delivery partners at Mumbai and Bangalore.” 

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Luxury chocolate brand Ether has introduced DIY kits in Mumbai ©Bindu Gopal Rao

The Bake-along Boxes from Ether, a Mumbai based luxury chocolate brand is the answer to all home bakers. Chef Prateek Bakhtiani explains, “the boxes contain all the dry ingredients you will need to make the recipe, including flour and sugar, step by step recipes, chef tips and access to a baker’s hotline to help you in SOS situations. But most importantly, there is the guarantee of an afternoon well spent.” Apart from their website, you can order the kits via delivery partners in South Mumbai & Western Suburbs (nationwide delivery is also being planned). So even if you cannot cook, you can still don the Chef’s hat as the DIY Kits are here for you to enjoy a restaurant-style meal at home.

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