Rahul Bajaj, director, and conceptualiser at Out Of The Blue and Deli By The Blue, shares his insights on how to avoid food wastage, trends in organic food, immunity booster combo meal and so on, in an email interaction with Vijetha Iyer. Excerpts:
Is safety kit used by your employees?
Given the current situation, we decided to come up with a quirky way of spreading the awareness of following the safety protocols with the introduction of the Covid-19 protection food kit from Out Of The Blue and Deli By The Blue for everyone. This corona protection kit is essentially designed this way that portrays these safety actions and reminds one to always follow this drill but in a fun way.
What is your restaurant doing to avoid wastage of foods?
To avoid wastage we have clubbed both the menus, making it more concise and designed in a way that pleases every palate. The simplified menu pleases a varied range of customers as we sell varieties of bread, pasta, burgers, pizza slices, desserts, coffees, donuts, sandwiches, Keto meals, etc. It also caters to those sets of customers who are lactose-intolerant, opt for gluten-free and Keto-friendly options.
From where are you getting the supplies of organic food?
We are sourcing all the products and raw materials from the local vendors and supporting small businesses.
What are the trends in organic food being followed by your restaurant?
The food is designed keeping in mind the health and nutrition value as the current situation demands a need to consume organic and superfood. Awareness plays a key role in educating us through social media, blogs, etc. As compared to earlier times, food has now become quite creative and even easier to source via different channels of delivery which is why one doesn’t mind going an extra mile to maintain their health. I believe that it is all going back to our roots, the food that our ancestors have eaten. For example, millets and fox nuts have made a comeback and have become a trend. I would suggest not go with the flow as it might be deceiving at a certain point. At times, there is an unnecessary hype created to promote a particular product. Instead, opt for locally sourceable products that will support our local farmers and eventually our economy.
Do you think customers are more into organic food and Keto Diet these days?
People have become quite mindful and concerned about what they eat. A majority of our customers do prefer dishes that are gluten-free, Keto-friendly, etc. The new variants and dishes that are introduced at the restaurant are liked by our customers a lot as they all are prepared using fresh and high-quality locally produced ingredients.
Recently, you have launched immunity booster combo meals. What is it all about?
When we heard about the Coronavirus spreading at such a higher rate, our focus since had been rooted in boosting immunity and introduce these Immunity Booster Combo meals that comprise the right source of nutrients needed to supercharge our diet. These combo meals are a perfect amalgamation of all the key ingredients like broccoli, spinach, bell peppers, garlic, dark chocolate, lime, parsley, cinnamon, etc. Dark Chocolate comprises of antioxidant named theobromine that helps in boosting the immune system. Garlic is a common ingredient used in almost all the dishes which is good for the prevention of colds and other illnesses. Lime is an excellent source of Vitamin C that supports the heart and reduces the risk of asthma. While Spinach and Broccoli are rich in antioxidants and contain several nutrients like flavonoids, Vitamin C, and E that help support our immune system and prevent common cold, parsley is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense herb and loaded with Vitamin K, A, and C. Plus these meals are available at an affordable price range to protect and safeguard your health.
How are you ensuring the safety of your employees during the pandemic?
As the word of the spread of Coronavirus was out, we took some important measures for the staff and senior team members of the restaurants Out Of The Blue and Deli by the Blue and quarantined them at the Hotel Le Sutra from the first day of the lockdown to maintain the utmost care and cleanliness discipline. They are trained to practice the best-in-class safety measures like periodic temperature checks, sanitising the restaurant premises at regular intervals, using face masks and hand sanitisers, etc. We are also sanitising the packaging material and the kitchen area at regular intervals along with the bakers and the staff following proper steps of sterilisation.
We have set up hand sanitising stations at the restaurant for our staff and delivery people to sanitise their hands before handling the food package. We also make sure that none of the staff members touches the food after packing it. We check the temperature of the staff and the delivery person and also make sure they are wearing the mask and gloves while maintaining a distance. Also to ensure minimum contact, we have created a delivery box facility wherein the food packet is put from one end and the delivery person can take it out from the other. Plus, we were the first restaurant to have an ISO 9001 certification and have been following these rules for 15 years. We also have the certification from the Health Department of being one of the 20 hygienic restaurants in Mumbai.
How can we overcome the losses faced by the food and beverage industry?
As the hospitality industry gears up to start the operations on the account of Unlock 5.0 with cautious optimism, some restaurants choose to start deliveries while some are ready to open the shutters. The recovery of the losses will be a slow process and we all need to be patient as the industry has been hugely affected due to the lockdown for so many months. This time is about supporting each other and staying strong as we will sail through this eventually. We all are in this together and we need to be more humane and shouldn’t think of generating profits during these difficult times.