About Anushruti R.K
Anushruti R.K is a Mumbai based food writer, blogger, photographer and presenter. She is the creator and author of the popular website/blog divinetaste.com, which is visited by thousands of people every month from more than 150 countries around the globe. She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal blog, BBC Good Food, other important websites, publications and television. Anushruti also hosts a popular digital cooking show titled “Divine Taste With Anushruti” on Rajshri Food. Her other show is called “Kiddies Corner With Anushruti” where she features kid friendly recipes. Anushruti has also hosted workshops for European Union, Spanish Government and the like.
Her recipes have been recreated in homes and professional kitchens; by college students and home-makers, for special occasions and everyday cooking as well.
A stint with chemistry as a topper in graduate college and a management degree thereafter, she eventually found her calling in food and photography.
Q. When and How did you think about divinetaste.com?
My father runs a pharmaceutical industry manufacturing life saving drugs. Seeing him work, I was inclined towards chemistry as a subject.
But at the same time, food and aspects relating to it, had always fascinated me. I have fond memories of eating great food, growing up in Southern India. As a young girl, I became inquisitive about the food we eat and the connection it has with our body, mind, intellect and spirit.
When I shifted to Mumbai in 2003 and actually started cooking and planning meals every day, this interest and curiosity coupled with a great passion for food made me even more conscious of what went into my cooking pot in the kitchen and our plates on the table. That’s when I really started looking at food as a means to not just feed our body but also appeal to the mind and satiate the soul. I began to invest a lot of time and energy in researching and learning about Ayurvedic food and cooking and how what we eat affects our bodies, the way we think and the way we tend to react to situations as well and discovered that food plays a major role in shaping who we are!
I was stunned by the taste and delicacy that a few fresh ingredients produced when combined and cooked in the right manner. And I wanted to translate this new found passion into a sustainable vocation. I started by writing articles for newspapers like the Bombay Times which is a part of the Times Of India group.
To put my message and story across, I wanted to publish my articles and recipes on a consistent basis without going through the hurdles of a traditional publishing system and a blog/website seemed to be the perfect choice.
Q. Explain more about divinetaste.com, what makes you special?
Born in a Hindu Brahmin family, I was exposed to the vedic aspects of Indian food from my childhood, through the many rituals and ceremonies that were a part of our lives. My father has always been very adventurous and experimental and exposed us (me and my siblings) to a wide variety of food and music from a very young age. And my mother, apart from being a social worker and playing a role in the family business, has been a cook par excellence. As a result, we as children had the luxury of eating delicious food belonging to many cuisines.
I was nearly 12 when I gave up non vegetarian food after watching a video where animals were slaughtered. But the turning point in my life came when I read the Bhagavad Gita and other books by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. That was when I changed the way I ate and turned to a sattvic and vedic diet.
My recipes are primarily an expression of India’s rich vedic heritage but at the same time they are also a reflection of my life. Thanks to my family background and the nature of my work and my husband’s profession, I have been fortunate to meet people from many walks of life. All these experiences make their way into my cooking as well.
My website divinetaste.com catalogs my quest for simple and exotic pleasures in food that lead to tremendous overall well-being. Recipes as old as the ones cooked by many generations in my family and those collected and experimented from my travels and interactions with people from different walks of life share space here.
Since I wanted to showcase my food in the best possible manner, I took up photography and this way my dormant passion for photography came to the fore.
My website is also my blank canvas where three of my prime obsessions- Writing, Photography and Food come together.
The focus in divinetaste.com is pure vegetarian and sattvic food. The vedas (ancient scriptures) classify food as sattvic (mode of goodness), rajasic (mode of passion) and tamasic (mode of ignorance). Sattvic food is known to create positive vibrations and subtly nourish the mind, intelligence and consciousness. DivineTaste features recipes from around the world that have been adapted to be without meat, fish, eggs, wine, onions and garlic in keeping with the principles of sattvic diet and cooking methods.
At times people are unaware or have a vague notion about sattvic food. Altering the perception of vedic and sattvic food, gives my work a greater sense of purpose.
Q. What challenges did you face in your life and while setting up divinetaste.com? how did you overcome?
I started my blog/site in December 2008 when I was seven months pregnant. Prior to that, I struggled for nearly two years to find the right web developer. To begin with, it was difficult to find the person who could understand where I was coming from and who could translate my vision into reality.
Although I took time to set up my site, once it was established, it led to media attention, workshop invitations, brand collaborations and digital/T.V work. I’m amazed and humbled at the same time with the wide variety of work that my website has generated. Right from hosting a workshop for the European Union, writing for BBC GoodFood, collaborations with brands like the Tata group apart from others, hosting food shows, designing menus and other assignments, practically all the work that I do is generated from my website. Amongst other accolades, Divine Taste has been featured by the Wall Street Journal Blog as well.
To see the growth and acknowledgement of a personal endeavor is not only heart warming but also gives a sense of purpose to my life and work.
Staying true to my culture and values while adopting the ways of a modern lifestyle has helped me a great deal in my culinary journey. Commitment, focus and staying true to one’s vision are crucial in any field of work. At the same time, it is also important to use your talent and passion in a responsible manner.
Maintaining a website is a lot of work. It involves working with a web developer and a graphic designer and after the website is created, quality content needs to be updated on a periodic basis. This involves ideation, recipe development, testing, writing, photography, publishing and interacting with people on a regular basis. It is quite challenging, but I have always loved the creative and entrepreneurial aspects of my work.
One cannot achieve one’s goals by being a lone ranger. Life and work to a great extent is all about relationships. I have learned that one should not be afraid to collaborate or ask for help from others. I wouldn’t be able to make it this far without the support of my family- my father, my mother (who was with me at the time of my son’s birth and at other crucial points in my life) and my husband.
Q. What’s the Current Path and Future plans?
A career in the food industry is like a tree and one can branch out in various ways. As the world continues to evolve and change, food acquires a new dimension in terms of the way we perceive it. Keeping that in mind, I have a lot of things planned for the short and long term future, but to begin with an eponymous website that has been in the pipeline, will be launched soon.
If you would like, you can share your feedback about VID.
When VID contacted me, I was happy to see that a lot of interesting people from different fields were featured here. Everyone has a story to tell and VID is doing a great job by sharing encouraging stories of people who lead motivating lives. Thank you VID, for featuring me here.