When we started Scroll Food a little over six months ago, our objective was unambiguously clear: find out what modern India eats. We wanted to map this food-loving nation’s evolving palate in its complex diversity. Discover what it cooks, what it craves. At that time, it was unimaginable that the country’s reality would change beyond recognition so quickly.

The novel coronavirus has been a seismic event for this nation, as for the rest of the world. Thousands have lost their lives. Millions have got displaced. The economy is ravaged and job losses are piling up. Among the unprecedented tragedy’s long list of victims is the restaurant industry.

Closed down with the rest of the country, restaurants are struggling to survive. There is barely any revenue. Unpaid salaries are accumulating and landlords are growing testy. Even when they do reopen – as they will this month – it is unclear what the future will hold for them. Adhering to physical distancing rules by blocking every alternate table would shrivel the revenues for an industry that famously subsists on wafer-thin margins. Erecting Plexiglas partitions won’t help either: how many diners craving social interactions after months of imposed isolation will willingly pick another constricted environment?


No wonder, then, there are many doomsday predictions for restaurants. Depending on which prognosticator you listen to, it is believed that a third or half of all restaurants may perish in India.

At this juncture, Scroll Food wants to support the restaurant industry in every way it can. So, today, we are launching a new initiative called the Chef of the Month. Every month, we will appoint a chef as the curator of Scroll Food and give them the space to talk about their work, their relationship with food, and the shifting sands of taste. All through the month, you can read their recipes on the section, watch their videos on Instagram and Facebook, and learn secrets from their kitchen.

We start the initiative with Rahul Akerkar, the chef and founder of Qualia, whose restaurants have redefined Mumbai’s culinary landscape time and again. His restaurant Under The Over was a bright spot on the city’s dining scene in the ’90s. Indigo, his big experiment in Colaba, rewrote the rules and set new standards for the industry. And his newest labour of love, Qualia, is exploring culinary concepts close to his heart.

We sincerely hope you enjoy this initiative. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Share your ideas, give us your feedback, and send us your stories at aman@scroll.in. And do keep reading us.

– Aman Khanna, Editor