The market for online recipes and cooking tutorials is hugely competitive and largely dominated by the BBC and celebrity chefs.
Hari Ghotra is attempting to take on the big players with an interactive cookery school that uses a variety of digital channels including social media, video guides and blogs.
I spoke to Hari to find out more…
Please briefly describe your product/service?
Hari Ghotra is an online cookery school that aims to bring authentic Indian cuisine to the masses using digital media and new technologies.
As well as providing access to exclusive family recipes, the portal includes top tips articles and information on how Indian food varies across the country’s diverse regions.
Whether a seasoned chef or an amateur cook, there’s something for everyone.
What problem(s) does it solve?
The portal aims to bridge the gap between a traditional cook book and a cookery class.
With the rise of digital media, more and more of us are turning to technology to find inspiration for mealtimes.
Rather than print out a recipe, the site allows users to cook along with me in real time via Google Hangouts or watch one of my YouTube recipe tutorials while they cook.
Armed with an iPad stylus pen, it’s easy to navigate the site and cook at the same time. Our aim is to make Indian cooking accessible to all in a fun and interactive way.
What are your immediate goals?
First and foremost, our aim is to continue building brand awareness and to grow our user base.
We also aim to stay at the forefront of technological innovations and find ways of incorporating these into our offering if there’s a benefit to users.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
The biggest challenge lies in creating brand awareness and getting people to engage with and share our content.
Recent tie-ups with The Great British Bake Off’s Chetna and celebrity make-up artist Gary Cockerill are helping us achieve this as are articles on CNN and in consumer magazines such as Prima.
How will the company make money?
We have a number of planned revenue streams including a range of Hari Ghotra curry kits, which we plan to make available via the website.
The Madras kit is currently in production. Other revenue streams include online advertising and affiliate marketing.
Who is in your team?
I founded Hari Ghotra last spring and I’m the brand’s chief cookery officer.
I get involved in pretty much all aspects of the business but for me, it’s all about the food and encouraging others to have a go at cooking real Indian cuisine.
I’m lucky enough to have the support and financial backing of digital marketing agency Jellyfish. This means that I’ve got a team of experts working on the brand daily.
Where would you like to be in one, three and five years’ time?
In a year’s time I’d like to have increased awareness of the brand and grown our user base significantly.
In three year’s time, I’m aiming to have developed a full range of Hari Ghotra curry kits, helping people make delicious Indian food at home.
The idea would be to introduce a subscription-based model, whereby recipients would be sent a kit each month along with an invitation to join an exclusive Google Hangout.
My ambition is for Hari Ghotra to become a destination brand for authentic Indian cuisine within the next five years.
Ideally, the brand would become synonymous with Indian home cooking in the UK. A TV show and cook book would be nice but I’m taking it one step at a time!
Other than your own, what are your favourite websites / apps / tools?
I really like Food+Tech Connect, which is a site that connects the food tech industry. It’s a great source of news and also has lots of useful tools for entrepreneurs.
Brandwatch is great for helping me and the team monitor the brand’s social media presence.
A La Calc is a handy online nutrition calculator and recipe analysis tool.
Camera+ – is great app for editing pictures, ideal for when I’m photographing my latest dishes.