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Maharashtra govt plans Bohri Kitchen model to lure tourists

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MUMBAI: In a new initiative aimed at empowering local communities and creating a tourism experience, Maharashtra is pushing for a home dining experience inspired by the Bohri Kitchen model.

This will bring people together over a home cooked meal, with a member of a community hosting a set of diners in their house. Time-honoured food fare presented with traditional etiquette, supplemented by storytelling that is meant to lend a personal and authenticunderstanding of the community will be the ingredients.

In the first phase, the concept is being rolled out at Elephanta Caves, with an agreement with global accommodation sharing site, Airbnb. The concept will be implemented elsewhere too, said tourism minister Jaikumar Rawal on Wednesday. MTDC MD Suhas Diwase said locals will be trained in offering home stays. “Maintaining hygiene and enhancing courtesy, besides upgrading food and beverage services, will be part of the training. This will ultimately help convert Elephanta into a place for experiential tourism,” said Diwase, adding that it will take a few months to get Elephanta home stays rolling.

The idea germinated after Munaf Kapadia of The Bohri Kitchen, one of the city’s most popular home dining experiences, made a presentation to the minister about their three-year-old experimental model – a seven-course Bohri feast cooked by his mother, Nafisa, that they lay out for dining enthusiasts on a thaal in the living room of their Churchgate house, that has taken Mumbai as well as tourists by storm.

Kapadia, an MBA who quit a high-paying job with a multinational giant to sell his mother’s kheema samosas and rann biryani, sees an annual turnover of over Rs 50 lakh. Given his belief in Maharashtra’s culinary potential, Kapadia, with friend Keya Khanvte, a travel consultant, drafted a proposal that highlights cuisines ranging from Khandeshi, Varhadi, Saoji, Konkan, Malvan, Kolhapuri and Tughlaq that could be popularised if modelled on a similar home dining experience as The Bohri Kitchen’s that they felt would enable housewives, generate income for local people and draw in tourists.

“We’re confident of identifying communities and training women but we’re not very confident of selling seats without the right awareness as this category does not exist.

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