Rise Of The Weekend Chef

Food industry experts point to a new trend – working professionals who unwind and rejuvenate through cooking during the weekend

26 Dec 2016

Vikhroli Cucina Season 3 partnered with Food Bloggers Association of India (FBAI) to bring industry experts and influencers together at #FBAIDialogues and celebrate the best of the culinary world. It included a series of panel discussions and presentations on subjects pertinent to the food and gourmet industry.

One trend that came to the fore was the Rise of the Weekend Chef. Working professionals these days are cash rich, time poor; for them, food on weekdays is practical and functional. Since time is now a currency, they prefer to keep their eating habits transactional. On weekends, however, these individuals look forward to unwinding and rejuvenate themselves through cooking. On weekends cooking turns into a social activity with the kitchen at the heart of it all. They don an apron and a chef’s cap over the weekend to learn, understand, experiment and spend time freely. They huddle up in groups or family to cook up (literally) an indulgent weekend meal.

Retailers have observed that purchase of ingredients between Thursday and Sunday has seen a rise. Mohit Khattar, Head – Retail Strategy for Godrej Industries, said, “We have observed that there is a steady increase in demand for unique ingredients during weekends. While for weekend chefs this is time to showcase their creativity and for bonding with their friends and families, for retail businesses it is an opportunity to understand the emerging trend and connect with a new tribe of customers whose demands are not necessarily the same as an average shopper.”

Ashwin Suresh, co-founder of Pocket Aces, a digital media entertainment company, who unwinds by cooking during the weekend, shared an interesting perspective, “Cooking is my therapy. When I’m chopping, stirring and sautéing in the kitchen, somehow all the stress of the week seems to disappear. This is when I connect with myself. Another reason why I started cooking is so I’m aware of what goes into my meals. During the week, I grab a quick something for lunch and dinner is light but the weekend is when I can indulge.”

The Weekend Chef movement has been gaining momentum in India due to the rising popularity of food shows, easy availability of international gourmet ingredients and helps just a click away with food-related videos online. It’s no surprise then that some Weekend Chefs have taken their passion to the next level. Gitika Saikia, a marketing professional turned Assamese food evangelist says, “I used to work from Monday to Friday and then do these pop-up lunches during the weekend. Now I’ve converted my passion into a business of my own. Weekends are still the busiest for me as that’s when I organise food pop-ups and food events”.

As working professionals strive to strike that work-life balance, it is no surprise that several Weekend Chefs are now making it a habit of following their passion. And food businesses are coming up with new and innovative products to cater to this burgeoning demand.

Trend watch

Except for the health category, all other categories witness a growth during weekends, ie from Friday-Sunday, with Saturday showing the highest contribution

  • Health category sees a surge during weekdays
  • Recipe page views are highest from Wed-Friday
  • Eggs & Meat show a weekend surge by around 9.5% increase in sales
  • Instant meals see an 11% increase during Friday-Sunday
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