O’Desi Meals – A success story of Immigration in Ireland

Immigration in Ireland has quickly led to the country, particularly its major cities, becoming a multicultural landscape of backgrounds and lifestyles. That landscape is full to the brim with different success stories, one of which we at Babylon are thrilled to share with you today. O’Desi Meals is Ireland’s premiere and only Cloud Kitchen. That is a kitchen that works remotely (in this case out of Kylemore) and delivers the food directly to you! Set up by the Indian born pair of Anubhav Dutta and Siddharth Patel, this wonder of Dublin helps to bring a taste of Indian homemade cuisine to the people of Ireland. What’s more, it doubles up as a charity, with 50% of the profits going toward homelessness in Dublin, while the other 50% goes back to India to the Blind Boys Academy, an organisation which helps underprivileged blind children.

We were fortunate enough to sit down with Anubhav who was all too thrilled to tell us his story.

In your own words, what is O’Desi Meals?

“So it’s a Cloud Kitchen, which is a concept quite new to Ireland. A Cloud Kitchen is basically where you can’t come and dine in. You can’t even come to collect your meals. We cook in a commercial kitchen and then we deliver on our own. So, O’Desi meals is the very first Cloud Kitchen in Ireland which focuses on authentic, home-style Indian food. Indian food that you get here in restaurants, most of the time, whether they’re good or bad, they’re quite Westernised. For people who grew up in India [like Anubhav]…they miss having proper, home-cooked, authentic Indian food here in Dublin”.

Why a Cloud Kitchen?

“It happened by accident, to be honest with you. In 2015 I started a Christmas project for the rough sleepers of Dublin. I would buy and share pizza with them on the 24th of December, on Christmas Eve. 2015 was a turning point in my life, I realised how privileged we are. To be born into a family where education was important, getting to go to good schools, etc. We could easily have been on the other side of the line. So, in 2015 I started doing that for the rough sleepers, then in 2017 I started including more items…gloves, moisturisers, all wrapped up like a present, along with some food…and hand over those parcels to the rough sleepers. I asked them, many of them, if there was anything else I could do to help bring them back into our world again. The answer I always got was a ‘no’”. 

“So I was doing this every year, and expanding the area I covered, and it was starting to eat a hole in my own pocket. This was when I thought to run a side business which will fund my Christmas project, and from there I’ll see where it goes. I never thought it would take the shape it has taken now”. 

“So that inspired the idea of making a few bucks to fund my small little Christmas project”.

How long have you been in Ireland?

“I’ve been here nine years, actually I think I’m in my tenth year now. It’s amazing, absolutely amazing. It’s a question I’ve been asked quite often, ‘why are we supporting two causes in two different geographies?’. It’s because we belong to both Ireland as well as India. It’s not about choosing one country over the other, Ireland is home away from home for me”.

“In a way Ireland is home now for me. I sometimes feel like an alien when I go back to India”.

Can you explain the charitable aspect?

“So 50% of the profits we make, we donate toward the education of blind kids in Calcutta India, which is where I’m from. The other 50% is used for running our operation here, paying rent, maintenance, and supporting the rough sleepers of Dublin”.

“The Christmas project has still stayed on, by the way. So in Dublin we focus on how to continue the Christmas project for the rough sleepers, and in India we focus on how to support the education of blind kids”.

What are your future plans?

“Along the journey, there was a point where I thought it would make more sense, instead of just running a small business to fund the Christmas project, if we could start to actually employ rough sleepers. Because we have open positions such as janitors and kitchen porters, where people don’t have to come in with any specialised skill sets. Anybody can chop an onion once we teach them how to do that. So that would be a real big success for me, if we could hire even one rough sleeper and help them come back to society again. The challenge with that is that the barriers are quite high. Unfortunately, oftentimes, people may have a history with substance abuse and we deal in food, so there are challenges around that. I’m not generalising that but there are challenges”.

“Success would be if we can be a platform for people who have been on the wrong side of the line, for whatever reason, put us on your CV and use us to move ahead”.

There you have it. O’Desi Meals is a great place to try out some amazing Indian cuisine and to support two amazing causes. You can’t order from their website or an app at the moment, so the best way to order is by getting in touch with them on their socials.

Facebook: odesi.meals

Instagram:  odesi_meals

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Ross Farrell

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