Mumbai, October 2013
The online gourmet sensation that has Mumbai food aficianados on culinary cloud nine is now set to expand to the bustling city of Pune. With only a yearlong stint in the industry, this culinary web portal and online concierge service is now ready to take on a new challenge as its founders revealed plans to expand its services to Mumbai's up and coming neighbour.Further elaborating on the thought that led to the expansion, Kunal Jain, partner at GourmetItUp.com says, "Pune has a passionate young urban dining community as well as a ground breaking restaurant industry, a perfect combination for GourmetItUp.We are taking the learnings gathered from the last year's operations in our base city Mumbai, combining them with research and surveys of restaurateurs in Pune to make sure we create experiences that are great for diners as well as restaurants." In Pune, the company has already tapped some of the city's finest dining destinations such as Euriska, Darios, Malaka Spice,Harajuku (O Hotels), Mainland China & Punjab Grill as launch partners to create an exclusive range of delightful experiences for casual diners and passionate foodies alike.
Praful Chandawarkar, Owner of Malaka Spice, one of the early establishments that has tied up with GourmetItUp says, "We're excited to have Malaka Spice as a launch partner of GourmetItUp. I think their unique approach to the dining model as well as their focus on increasing value rather than discounting price make them a great proposition for both restaurants and customers. We're looking forward to working with them to create innovative & memorable dining experiences at Malaka Spice." Speaking on their Japanese restaurant Harajaku partnering with GourmetItUp, Neelam Seolekar, MD, O Hotels says, "We are extremely excited about our association with GourmetItUp. The people of Pune have been looking for unique culinary experiences at affordable prices and GourmetItUp provides the perfect opportunity for them to enjoy this. Harajuku is a one of its kind Japanese restaurant in the city. Our chefs at Harajuku are always striving to give our guests the best Japanese delicacies with the most authentic ingredients. Just like its namesake, Harajuku is the perfect blend of luxury, fashion, and of course great food, making this the perfect association." Setting gourmet trends GourmetItUp.com has been synonymous with creating unique and exclusive dining experiences for its members, from off-menu meals and wine pairings to mixology and master classes. It was a response to evolving culinary tastes and preferences, according to Kunal Jain, who is one half of the site's founding duo.
Diners craved new cuisines to discover and new ways to enjoy good food especially in a city teeming with diversity. Kunal, an expert in consumer brand marketing and engagement using digital media platforms, explains, "GourmetItUp was born from the constant frustration that we experienced due to the lack of new and interesting things to do in the city. We didn't really find value in going out just for something to eat. This feeling was shared by a majority of consumers we surveyed. This made us decide to create a resource that would enable consumers to always gain access to new culinary experiences in the city."
Co-founder Deepa Jain is a veteran in the food business, and used to run RecipeMobile, a food blog and gourmet food supplier. She adds, "It's not just about the culinary delights. GourmetItUp is also about that tailor fit service and that extra mile when dining out. We help our members in making reservations and arranging special meals as needed." Currently, the online gourmet portal has teamed up with atleast 40 of Mumbai's top restaurants including favorites like Two One Two Bar & Grill, Yautcha, Hakkasan and Indigo and has a spectacular member base—from the connoisseurs to the beginners—all brought together by the shared desire for good food. "It's a growing list of partners," Kunal says. "There's always something new to eat and experience, and it's our job to be on the lookout for those discoveries." New breed of diners A much smaller city compared to Mumbai, Pune makes up for its size with its cultural and culinary charm. Known as the "Oxford of the East" because of its educational heritage, Pune is fast becoming one of India's top technology hubs. Its thriving economy coupled with its own tourist gems and a dynamic gastronomic scene has put Pune on the culinary map. Students, migrants and IT professionals help drive the local food industry. Pune residents are known to be passionate about their leisure activities including clubbing and dining out, and the cultural capital of Maharashtra has an extremely sophisticated restaurant and bar scene that can actually give Mumbai a run for its money. From hole-in-the-wall bars and roadside eateries to fine dining hubs, there is no shortage of food choices in the city. Pune is home to an eclectic crowd of foodies and the city's offerings range from Western favorites to Asian delicacies. Deepa adds, "Pune is like a mini-Mumbai except it's a bit more relaxed. Online, people are raving about it. With so many culinary options, it's definitely going to be a challenge for us to offer something truly unique to such a sophisticated crowd of diners so as early as now, we're doing a lot of research." Meanwhile, Kunal shares that the company is cooking up unique experiences that are tailor-fit for Pune's market. "The culinary possibilities are endless in Pune. These are exciting times for the food industry," he says. Wider reach According to Kunal, Pune is just the beginning of a long-term expansion course for GourmetItUp. The company hopes to bring the bespoke dining experiences to at least two more cities this year. As culinary trends from all over the world continue to infiltrate India, Kunal, Deepa and their growing team, will continue to be on the lookout for the best of the best. It's a tedious task that the food-loving couple have committed themselves to. "Right now, there's a growing farm-to-table trend in India," Kunal observes. "More chefs and diners are opting for fresher food options. Who knows, pretty soon, we'll be taking our members to the farm for an organic food trip."
Check more about GourmetItUp and its culinary offerings, visit www.gourmetitup.com
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