The Weekend Leader - Chef Shankar Krishnamurthy's Book My Chef, A New Era of Personalised Dining

Former Oberoi Chef's Digital Innovation Brings Private Chef Luxury to Your Home

Abhishek Isaac   |  


Vol 14 | Issue 50

In the bustling culinary landscape of India, a new star is rising, and its name is 'Book My Chef'. At its helm is Chef Shankar Krishnamurthy, a visionary who is redefining the private dining experience.

His journey, marked by passion and innovation, has culminated in the creation of a platform that brings the luxury of fine dining to the comfort of one's home.

Chef Shankar Krishnamurthy launched an app that connects clients with private chefs (Photos: Special Arrangement) 

"BookMyChef is an aggregator of On-demand hospitality service providers," explains Shankar, sharing insights about his latest venture.

The app connects clients with private chefs, ensuring a portion of each transaction supports the platform's growth. It's a model that not only sustains the business but also fosters a community of culinary professionals.

“We take a percentage from each transaction that occurs on our platform. When a client hires a private chef or hospitality professional through us, a portion of the payment goes to our platform, enabling us to sustain and further develop the services we offer,” says Shankar.

Reflecting on the initial days of Book My Chef, Shankar recalls, "We started off by bootstrapping with Rs 20 lakhs, like most start-ups." The venture soon attracted an additional half a million USD from friends and family.

The response from customers has been nothing short of remarkable. "Since our launch, we have served more than 3000 people, with overwhelmingly positive feedback,” shares Shankar.

“Clients appreciate the convenience of finding skilled professionals for their events or personal needs, and the professionals value the exposure and opportunities our platform provides.

“When the food is prepared right before their eyes, customized to their specific tastes and preferences, it undoubtedly becomes a guaranteed success.”

Shankar started his career at the Oberoi Hotels

Shankar's culinary adventure began in 1986 at the Oberoi Hotels, where his flair for French cuisine first garnered attention. His exceptional skills and culinary finesse soon took him to Dubai, a city known for its diverse culinary scene.

In Dubai, under the guidance of internationally acclaimed chefs, Shankar's culinary prowess flourished. It was here that Shankar's talent shone brightly, leading him to cater to royal palace affairs and heads of state.

In 2002, he brought his international experience to India, founding Fusion9 in Hyderabad, the city's first global cuisine restaurant, which quickly expanded to 18 outlets across Hyderabad, Chennai, and Delhi.

Financially, the venture has seen steady growth in transactions and services offered. "We project continued growth as we expand our user base and geographic reach," says Shankar, optimistic about the future.

The chefs on Book My Chef are carefully selected, with only 10-15% making the cut. Shankar emphasises, "It's not just their cooking skills but also their level of hospitality that we assess."

Shankar has built a network of private chefs, who are selected after a thorough vetting process

The chefs are vetted thoroughly, with 85% receiving additional training to ensure the highest standards.

When asked about popular cuisines, Shankar notes regional variations. "In Mumbai, Asian and Continental cuisines are more popular, whereas in Hyderabad, it's South Indian and Mughlai," he explains. The platform caters to a diverse palate, constantly evolving based on customer preferences.

Running Book My Chef has not been without challenges. Shankar candidly discusses issues like clients' unrealistic expectations and logistical limitations in kitchens.

“One of the primary obstacles we have encountered is the way certain individuals treat our chefs, expecting them to not only cook but also handle cleaning and serving tasks,” says Shankar.

“To address this issue, we introduced additional services that can be added at an extra cost specifically for serving and cleaning purposes.”

Looking ahead, Shankar foresees personalised dining experiences, virtual cooking classes, and a focus on sustainability shaping the industry. "Our aim is to integrate these trends into our platform," he says, underscoring his commitment to innovation.

Book My Chef is expected to commence operations soon from Pune and Bangalore 

Expanding beyond Mumbai and Hyderabad, Book My Chef aims to establish a nationwide presence. “Notably, Pune and Bangalore are expected to commence operations as early as December,” he says.

“It is noteworthy that we have already received a significant number of inquiries via social media platforms from the Middle East, UK, and USA. Encouraged by this, we are optimistic that we are on the cusp of exploring lucrative opportunities across borders.”

Through Book My Chef, Shankar is not just serving meals; he is crafting experiences, making every dining occasion a memory to cherish. - ©TWL

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