When fashion designer and artist Sushma Thota, the daughter-in-law of renowned artist Thota Vaikuntam, was offered the role of a culinary hub partner, she jumped at the opportunity, especially since culinary art represents not just preparation, cooking and presentation of food, but also creativity, innovation and science.
“Paintings and the art works of Indian artists have always inspired me. In fact, I have infused art even in my fashion line Golden Parrot,” says the fashion designer-turned-culinary entrepreneur.
In 2017, Sushma joined The Culinary Lounge (TCL) — an interactive space for people to bond over food, and the brainchild of Gopi Krishna Byluppala. Talking about their journey, Sushma, a cooking enthusiast and fierce foodie herself, says, “I met Gopi during a New Year party with my friends. We struck an instant rapport as we shared a common ideology about food and its influence on human social relationships.”
The duo’s passion for food, coupled with being ardent foodies themselves naturally led to some entrepreneurial brainstorming and bonding. “As a designer, Sushma has a creative bent of mind and she carries the legacy of an artistic family as well. She also has a wealth of knowledge about foods from around the world,” says Gopi, whose start-up Feazt bagged the hot start-ups award by HYSEA in 2015.
Many may agree that chefs are also artists, who need creative spaces where their work is experienced and applauded. “When we started, many couldn’t understand what we were doing. It was a new concept, designed for a niche market and an experiential culinary hub. But soon the idea raised curiosity on what one could expect visiting or being a member of TCL,” recalls Sushma, adding, “It’s basically a theatre for chefs, where they can cook, educate, entertain and mentor while opening up multiple, interesting opportunities.”
Gopi, an Electronics Engineer from Madras University who gave up a lucrative career in the IT industry to launch his first start-up Feazt — a social dining platform in 2014, elaborates, “It’s a themed classroom, workshop, networking hub and exceptional merrymaking place. Humans are wired to interact with each other. We need real connections to real people in the real world, and this is what The Culinary Lounge is all about, with food being the showstopper.”
Sushma adds, “It provides everything one needs for an unforgettable culinary experience — premium local ingredients, well-equipped kitchens, friendly professional chefs with a team and even themes to lift your mood.”
Through food and other related culinary events, Sushma believes that even children will appreciate and enjoy different culinary processes. “Food is a celebration. It connects you with different people and situations. Everybody bonds over food. Food is also an art, especially the way we cook and serve it,” she says.
TCL is a culinary edutainment place, where you too can wear an apron and turn into a chef.”...