Meet Sneha Chandrashekar, an enterprising mum, entrepreneur who decided to embrace entrepreneurship quite young in life. She is an individual who gets to work with the top chefs in the city of Bangalore, due to her concept initiative ‘The Chef Post’. She is also someone who courageously speaks of a depression phase she had faced in life and how she had overcome it.
“As a 11 year old, I lost my father and it was the most traumatic encounter I had experienced. Following that episode, I lived away from my mother for close to a year which added to my situation. I was clinically depressed for over a decade.
Yes, there are many times when children get depressed where they lose their self esteem and confidence. Situations such as these contribute and create inadequacy in children which is primarily the feeling of worthlessness. Depression takes many forms; sometimes, the person may feel it chronically affecting them which hinder their routine, and there are times when it shows up only in a few situations. It may go unnoticed if there isn’t any effective communication between the parents and children.
Back then, when I was a victim of depression, the word by itself was a taboo. Seeing a shrink meant you weren’t normal. With growing times and with our thoughts evolved with awareness, today, it’s changing. Many people have accepted and learnt how to deal with the situation where there’s enough help that can be sought. I believe communication is key to understand what your child is going through and decide if there’s any help that needs to be offered.
Watching your parents, their thought patterns, belief systems, and actions does impact your growth. It ingrains a certain sense of beliefs which you form based on what you’ve watched. My mother is the person who has impacted me the most positively. Though I spent almost all my early years fighting depression, and trying to get back to normalcy, I watched her inspire me. Her ideologies, strong convictions and unconditional love for her children amazed me. Yes, she’s the reason for me to believe you need to love yourself first to learn how to give and further go ahead to make any difference.
I believe time is the most precious offering you can ever give anyone irrespective of the relationship you share. With time, you evolve in a relationship, and the bond bolsters and nourishes. As parents, you are the first people your children will ever know. They learn to trust, and love from you. It carries on, builds their value systems which later defines their personality; hence, it’s how effectively you lever the time spent with them is what ultimately matters, and not just the number of hours in a day you spend with them.
As a growing up child, though I fought depression, there was a part of me that dreamt. endlessly – a dream to liberate from the traps of the pain that depression caused. It was a dream to live normally and create a better world around me. Trade always fascinated me; the whole idea of creating a product or a service that contributes to the world you live in , in exchange of monetary benefits, thrilled me. I couldn’t be anything else apart from an entrepreneur by profession. The fighter and survivor in me equates the fearlessness and the risk taking ability of an entrepreneur.
I incorporated our first company Black & White Tech Writing Solutions (P) Ltd., in 2009 at the age of 23. The journey has been a creatively satiating one paving ways to create more platforms that can be exciting to the world. A few years later when we began with our digital marketing and designing services under Black & White Digital Studio, we began catering to hospitality clients. That was the beginning of a new journey where I encountered these passionate professionals ‘chefs’. Interactions and observations led us to incorporate The Chef Post.”
Talking on the journey of her initiative, Sneha says “The Chef Post was conceptualized towards the end of 2015 and it took us over eight months to build the technology and bring it out to the Bangalore market in September 2016. We are close to six months old, and have been embraced well by all the stakeholders – chefs, hoteliers & the users.
Every time I interacted with a chef or sat through a meal with one, I was amazed at how chefs can create a dining experience for you with all that they offer; their ideologies, perceptions & storytelling. Each is an artist & they have this incredible attribute of teleporting you to a gastronomical journey. This is the inspiration behind The Chef Post. On www.thechefpost.com , one can follow a chef, follow a restaurant, collect recipes & favourite features to ‘my collection’, express to dine, & engage with the chefs.”
Going back on her memories Sneha shares with Mums and Stories, “ My mother is an epitome of selfless love, and strength. As a 36 year old when she lost her husband in a foreign country, she hadn’t even worked outside home prior to that phase. Nevertheless she turned into a confident, strong and independent woman who’s world was her two children and to give them the best she can. Her journey to me is the one of achieving dreams with persistence and resilience. The most beautiful gift I’ve been bestowed upon is the gift of watching her inspire me to live a life of love & gratitude. She’s my wonder woman.
Regarding my roles that come as a professional or as a mum, I feel it is about the quality of time you spend that matters and adds value to the developmental stage of a toddler. Being a person who strives to give it all in anything I do, I give in quality time to my son each day. It’s also an incredible blessing that my husband enrolls into my vision of managing family and work effectively; his endless support makes it more seamless and fun to live each day to its fullest!”
On women working in terms of equal measure in the hospitality industry, she says “We see more women believing in their capabilities and strengths and lever them to follow their dreams. As much as there’s a need for empowerment at all stages and across geographical boundaries, there are some amazing women who follow their path to live a fulfilling life. If you’re talking about women being chefs in the industry, yes, there was a time when you didn’t see many women in the kitchens as it has erratic work schedules and requires a lot of physical strength; but now, you do see some incredible women chefs.
I have met two wonderful lady chefs, Chef Ruby Islam from Fabelle, ITC Gardenia , and Chef Soni Rana, Windsor Manor who are doing great for themselves and sure being an inspiration in their industry.”
On her personal choices in cuisines, Sneha candidly mentions, “I am uncomplicated when it comes to choosing food. I respect and enjoy a meal placed in front of me. My personal favourite cuisines are Indian and Italian.
My favourites in the city in different cuisines & the ones I frequent – Bene, Sheraton for Chef Giuseppe Lioce’s Italian , Spice Terrace at JW Marriott for Chef Abdul Quddus’s Indian, Memories of China, Vivanta by Taj MG for Chef Tong William’s Chinese, Yataii, Shangri La for Chef Atsushi Yonaha’s Japanese & Karavalli, Taj Gatway for Chef Naren Thimmiah’s coastal cuisine! These places bring out the essence of the respective cuisine without compromising on the authenticity.”
Sneha has a few pointers for entrepreneurs.“Believe in yourself, your dream and vision. Entrepreneurship is not as glamorous as it seems to be. Persistence, and resilience are key factors and perpetuity and sustainability should be focus, and not just an overnight success.
Offer what can create a demand or satiate an existing demand well enough. You need to create to inspire and contribute. Entrepreneurship is a vision. Never create a business to raise monies, but build a vision that can contribute towards igniting a demand and turn into a sustainable model.”
Lastly on mothers choosing to be stay at home or work outside home women, she says, “ It’s a personal choice of whether you choose to be a mum at home or to be a mum at work. Everyone has their ideologies, and should be free to follow their path. The only common focus are which all of us as women need to build on is our inner strength, the ability to dream, and fulfill it.”