Chef Anahita N. Dhondy (behind the much loved SodaBottleOpenerWala resturants) who hails from one of the rare family of Parsis who are settled in Delhi is soon going to be donning a new hat—that of an author! The news is not surprising given that since childhood, Dhondy’s world has revolved around food. She takes inspiration from her mother who has been cooking and catering Parsi food and baking cakes. Anahita was even mentioned recently in Forbes 2019’s Under 30 Asia list of people to watch.
As a strong advocate of sustainable food practices, she favours using seasonal and local ingredients in her cooking. Currently, of course, she has her hands full. She is now working on a cookbook, to be soon published by Harper Collins, that will feature Parsi cuisine adhering to these practices. What should be of real interest to lovers of Parsi food is that it will feature many lost Parsi recipes that are not easily available at restaurants. As a girl who started helping in the kitchen since she was 10 years old, Anahita says she knew from a young age that she would wear the chef’s hat as a grown up and so she pursued her culinary dream by enrolling into IHM-Aurangabad which she passed with honours in Culinary Arts and went on to acquire a Grande Diplome from Le Cordon Bleu, London.
The 28-year-old, says her restaurant, SodaBottleOpenerWala is her second home. It is a family kitchen of sorts where the spice mixes are supplied by her mother. The recipes she uses in the kitchen belong to her grandmother. Cricketer Yuvraj is one of Anahita’s special regular guest and he loves eating the Akuri on their menu, adding that it’s one of her favourites too!
Anahita says, “I want to make dining at SodaBottleOpenerWala an experience that will leave a happy imprint on every diner as she lives to make others eat the best. She represented India and SodaBottleOpenerWala at the EAT Forum which is the world’s leading platform for global food transformation attended by leaders from the scientific, political, business world as well as civil society. She was part of the chefs from 13 countries who launched Chefs Manifesto Action Plan in Stockholm and London to deliver a better food system for all and was noticed for her ideas and practices on sustainable food and zero food wastage. While the cookbook is to be out soon, for now, Anahita is active as a social media influencer dishing out easy-to-do recipes and sharing tons of information on history and uses of all kinds of food.