When I first realized Prachi was my neighbour, my happiness knew no bounds. On a cold Sunday morning, I ordered a portion of Aloo sabzi with Bedami Poori (Traditional breakfast with deep-fried round bread and potato curry). I remember calling my mother soon after to tell her about the treasure I had unravelled. Home-cooked Indian food, less than a minute away - 2020 was suddenly looking better.
Home-cooked Indian food, but not cooked at home - this is something most Indians are far too familiar with. We go to restaurants and love it when it tastes just like home. But when we're at home, we crave restaurant food. Can anyone solve this mystery? I wonder if it's similar in other cultures - Readers, share your thoughts!
Prachi moved to Sweden in 2018 after running a successful catering business for five years in Mumbai, India. On relocating here, she noticed the lack of home-cooked style vegetarian food in restaurants and set out to understand the norms, rules and guidelines to kick start a venture. She finally set up Prachi's Rasoi (Prachi's kitchen) in October 2020. Looking back, she feels her past experience in running a home kitchen helped her immensely while setting up a business. “None of this would be possible without my family’s support, my husband my children are my stong towers of strength, so independent and patient.”, she adds. Prachi's menu ranges from traditional Indian sweets and savouries to vegetarian meals and breakfasts.
Photos - Prachi's Rasoi
Keerthana, on the other hand, did not have any prior experience in running a business before she went professional two years ago. An engineer by day, she moved to Sweden in mid-2018 and started baking cakes for friends and people around her, simply because she loved doing it. On receiving positive feedback and with a little help from her friends, she decided to ditch her day job and pursue baking cakes full time.
"It was not so easy to set up a business, but if there is a will, there is a way." Keerthana acknowledges not knowing Swedish made it a little tough to do the documentation. "I did not know where and how to start. There was no one to guide. I had to read a lot and study about tax and hygiene protocols. But in the end, it all went well. My husband is my greatest support and biggest helping hand. I have a 9-month-old baby (Cookie), and she gives me the sweetest and cutest smile, which makes my work very enjoyable."
Photos - Cookies Momma
Sarika moved to Sweden just before the pandemic hit the world in December 2019. She immediately set out to understanding protocols, registering a business and finally set up Sarika's Cake only in, November 2020 and is now fulfilling her passion for baking cakes, pastries and breads. What a great way to transition into a new year! For Sarika, the process of registering with Skatteverket was relatively seamless.
Photos - Sarika's Cake
One of the biggest challenges looming over an international entrepreneur's head is understanding taxation and registering a business. And if the business has anything to do with food, the checklist only gets longer.
Verdict - How tough is it really?
Prachi doesn't mince her words when it comes to tips for setting up a home food business. "Being a foodie, a food enthusiast or even a weekend chef is very different from running a home kitchen. This is serious business," she says. Food for her is one of the most essential elements when it comes to occasions and emotions. Getting the taste, quality, hygiene and price right all go hand-in-hand for her. So what is her advice to someone who wants to start a home kitchen here - Start small and let it grow organically.
While Sarika's experience was smooth, her advice is to not get overwhelmed or discouraged. "There are various categories, please choose the correct one under which you would like to register yourself." She further adds, "everyone has their own experience for setting up a business here, but based on their comments, don't get discouraged. Follow the process and things will be sorted out quickly.
All three of them started out with friends and Indian customers. However, word spread fast. On receiving excellent feedback, all three now have a diverse international customer base, not just from Helsingborg, but also from other cities.
What about Helsingborg? Do you like it here?
"Helsingborg is a wonderful city. Because of my baking business, I have met and made lots of friends here.", says Keerthana. Sarika echoes this sentiment and adds, "Helsingborg is a great place with nice and friendly people. In my spare time, I learn new trends in baking and spend time with family and friends."
Prachi finds Sweden to be one of the best countries with extremely cold weather and nicely warm people. "I love this city right from day one. It is a small city on a port with so many beaches and amazing connectivity.", she adds.
Need cakes for an upcoming celebration? Want to try out a traditional Indian breakfast? Get in touch with them using the links below.