Meet the entrepreneurs of the Booking Booster programme. Get to know Ameya and Priyanka from Authenticook in India. Authenticook is an opportunity for travelers and locals alike, to experience a place one meal at a time through social dining experiences.
Ameya Deshpande - Co-founder
"I was previously an Investment Banker with Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas. I love to travel and I am someone who prefers the rustic to the fancy. I am very structured in my approach, which has led Authenticook to create seamless processes for operations. I bring in financial and strategic acumen which has led our business to be an operationally profitable company from day 1. Apart from my two big passions travel and food, I am also a big wildlife enthusiast and take great pride in having visited almost all the tiger reserves of Central India".
Priyanka Deshpande - Co-founder
"I was previously with ICICI Bank as a Corporate Banker, working for large Indian corporates. I love to explore different places and interact with locals to understand their culture and perspective on life. At Authenticook, I am responsible for marketing and partnerships. I am very result-oriented in my approach, a perfectionist and I am able to empathize with the needs of our audience. This has helped Authenticook rationalize decisions, enter new partnerships and create campaigns with high impact".
How did your Authenticook story begin?
It all started on our trip to the Ladakh region, in the beautiful Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. While we were in the capital city of Leh, we realised that most of the restaurants there were serving pastas, pizzas and burgers and there was absolutely no avenue to try out the local food of the region. This got us thinking; "What if we had an opportunity to sit with a local over a meal; it could have been the simplest of meals, but there would have been so much that we would have understood about the local way of life, their culture and traditions. This would have made our trip even more enriching".We believe that food is a religion that transcends boundaries, regions and prejudices.
What makes Authenticook unique?
India has 29 different states, we have 1652 dialects and more than 300 estimated cuisines! We are providing an avenue to experience this diversity through an asset light model whereby each participant, whether host or diner can participate through minimal or no investment thereby making it a universal concept.
What is one of your favourite food experiences people can book?
One of our personal favourites is the Bohri Thaal experience. It represents a true community dining experience where 7 to 8 people sit around a large, round platter known as the thaal. The platter is kept on a stand known as a tarakti. As a sign of respect for the food being served, the thaal (round platter) is kept on the stand only once everyone is seated. No one leaves the thaal till everyone is done with their meal. One of the reasons for eating from the same platter is to ensure no wastage of food. In addition, the meal starts with salt being offered by the youngest member to the eldest member and is then passed around; it is believed that starting and ending the meal with salt keeps a number of illnesses at bay. The Bohri community loves their food and has various mouth-watering dishes. These are unique experiences which you cannot get at any restaurant.
What is your dream for Authenticook?
Our dream is to impact more than one million women, empower them by generating their own income while sharing their stories and beautiful cooking with the world.
We want to be the first port of call for travellers and locals alike for enriching, social dining experiences. Our dream for Authenticook is that we are recognised for having played a significant role in making people all over the world connect and become more patient, respectful and appreciative of each other's’ cultural differences.