In a patriarchal society like India, many women have managed to breach traditional taboos and carve opportunities for themselves. These are creative, lateral-thinking, visionary women who not only charmingly flourished in their personal lives but also proved that they could be the driving force to professionally lead the world in any segment. This international women’s Day, it’s time to applaud and truly appreciate the resolute spirit of Indian women who managed to achieve the unthinkable.
The entrepreneurial woman in making
Sarita Bazaz, the first woman entrepreneur in the catering industry who today owns her own catering company called The Food Affairs, is one such person who has left a lasting impression in the food and beverage sector and has revolutionized the catering industry in India solely with her passion, enthusiasm, and humility.
Although Sarita was never interested in starting her own business, she was always passionate about the art of cooking. She drew inspiration from her mother and sister, who showed her that preparing food was more about creating flavors with compassion. By the age of 13, she had learned enough to cook a full meal. Growing up in a typical Marwari household in Bhagalpur, a small district in Bihar, Sarita learned that food was just as essential as religion. Her everyday family routine and conversations often revolved around food, shaping her belief that preparing and serving food is a way to show kindness, respect, and unconditional love. Native Marwari expressions like ‘Manuhar and Aagraha’, which denote respect in serving meals, were the impetus behind Marwari cuisine and laid the groundwork for becoming the core of The Food Affairs.
Growing up in a backyard full of fresh, homegrown, and organic ingredients, Sarita was always conscious of the ingredients she used in her cooking. This understanding enabled her to select only the best ingredients while providing her services.
The pursuit of success
Thirty years ago, when Sarita moved to Delhi, she noticed that the vegetarian food options in the city were limited and lacked variety in flavor. This inspired her to start her first venture from her home kitchen after encouragement from her loved ones. She began by providing catering services for small-scale events and steadily expanded her business. Sarita’s dedication to her clients and her philosophy of treating them like family helped her grow and prosper year after year. Her success is a testament to her unwavering commitment to quality and service, which has enabled her to build a loyal client base and expand her business with ease.
Sarita originally named her food company Raskriti, which means culinary flavor. Although the name was difficult to pronounce, she felt that it reflected the essence of Indian culture. However, the term also gave the company a very Indian image, which prompted Sarita to come up with a new name that would invite experimentation with global flavors while retaining the essence of Raskriti. Hence, The Food Affairs was born.
During her three decades of experience in the culinary sector, Sarita has found that traveling is the most rewarding aspect of her work. Whenever she visits new places, she has the opportunity to meet new people, learn new cooking techniques, and discover new ingredients, all of which inspire her to create unique recipes. Sarita firmly believes that one of the remarkable aspects of the food industry is the ability to learn from anywhere, whether in big cities or small neighborhoods.
To an old end and yet new start
It is her expertise in the culinary field that earned her recognition in various media outlets multiple times. During these interviews, she emphasizes the personalized aspect of cooking for her and how authenticity and the essence of ingredients are essential in cuisine, despite evolving times and ever-changing trends. Her work with Indian hotels has allowed her to spread her passion for food globally, reaching places such as Abu Dhabi, Phuket, Bangkok, Hua Hin, Spain, Turkey, Bali, and more. Sarita believes that the catering industry will continue to thrive as people will always need assistance in handing over their most cherished moments to a service provider, allowing them to focus on other aspects of hospitality. Therefore, the responsibility of the catering industry is to deliver high-quality food and well-trained caterers who can provide a plate of good taste, health, and an unmatched experience every time.