If you look at the Rasoi On Wheels Facebook page, you will find people gushing over their service. It has high ratings -- 4.9 stars out of a maximum of five. But Atul Kapur, one of the show-runners who also co-runs the QBA restaurant in Connaught Place, calls his services 'Individual Social Responsibility'. "Just like CSR, individuals too have responsibilities towards the society. That is what we are doing," Kapur tells HuffPost India.
Rasoi On Wheels, run by Kapur and Manika Badhwar, is basically a catering service of sorts, but people hire their services for charitable purposes and they in turn make little or no profit. "The idea was born out of langars," Kapur explains. "In a conventional set up, you get the halwai, someone to clean and someone to distribute. It gets very messy. So, we decided to set this up. We wanted to provide the same services but also wanted it to be hygienic, nutritious and didn't want to serve leftovers."
To avoid mess and make the exercise more hygienic and convenient, the food is served in meal boxes.
Kapur sees himself as connecting the poor and hungry to those among the more fortunate who want to help. "There is a need for healthy food, genuine need," he says. "And the government is not doing anything about it. There is poor quality of food everywhere! And then there are people who just want to do some good. So, we were acting as a bridge between the needy and the ones who were offering."
From the time that it was set up in March this year, everyday, Rasoi On Wheels has transported at least 300 meal boxes to places such as construction sites, temples and slum areas. Not a day has passed since they began their service when they haven't cooked and delivered. It gets difficult for the team of eight, including the kitchen staff, to get any off days. "So, we have started working on a rotational basis," Kapur says. Work at the kitchen, which is located in Gurgaon, starts at 4:30 a.m.
Rasoi On Wheels has tied up with a couple of schools for underprivileged children in slum neighbourhoods in Delhi and Gurgaon to deliver food there every day. While the regular fare includes items such as rajma chawal, kadhi chawal, chhole, chawal and roti, they have also introduced sandwiches, chowmein and burgers in the menu to treat the children.
Kapur and his team also insist on a hands-on involvement by those who sponsor the meals. "We get the order, cook, pack and deliver the meals to you at the designated spot," he explains. "Even if 10 people are contributing for 100 meal boxes, that's a lot of people who will get fed in a day. We just have a condition that whoever is contributing should be present during the distribution. We get a lot of sponsors. So, a person can take one day and another can take the next to donate these meals. There are a lot of good people out there."
He adds that they are very strict about their no leftover policy. "We don't carry leftovers and give it to some slum kid, thinking that he will not know the difference," he says. "I and my partners have eaten leftovers at times, but we never keep them for the next day."
Rasoi on Wheels has now opened a small outlet in Chattarpur.