Celebrity Chef Praveen Kumar Purchases Ready Meal Sauce Depositor- November 18th 2020
Praveen and Swarna were born and brought up in rural villages in Southern India where meals are cooked daily, using fresh ingredients grown in local fields. They married and moved to Scotland, where combining their passion for good, simple food, they founded the Tabla Indian restaurant in Perth city centre in 2009.
On the back of a growing reputation for the service and food quality provided at the Tabla restaurant, Praveen opened the award-winning Indian Cook School in 2016.
As the business needs grew, they decided to grow their own produce, and now work with a market gardener in Couper Angus, Perthshire, to grow “beyond organic” vegetables and herbs for the restaurant and cook school, and more recently for their range of artisan ready to eat meals for home delivery.
In 2018, Praveen set up PraveenKumar.com to provide the same restaurant quality meals to eat from the comfort of your home. Available to order online, all food at Praveen Kumar is prepared by chefs using techniques that Praveen learned in India and made to traditional Indian recipes; made by hand, before being freshly frozen and delivered straight to your door.
They offer a large selection of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free dishes. Their meals have less oil than traditional takeaways and don’t contain food colouring or additives. They use only the best local produce, combined with spices grown on their family farm in India to create stunning flavours and multi award-winning Authentic Indian Cuisine.
The popularity of these high-quality ready meals soon led to an increase in demand, particularly with University students during the current pandemic, who are keen to enjoy restaurant quality meals in the safety of their residencies.
Praveen commented “More and more people have been buying online so our orders have been going very quick, getting custom in from anywhere from Perth to London,” he explains. “The hardest part is getting people to order from you the first time. Once they taste it they will order again and again, and recommend to friends and family, share it on social media. That’s how we have grown.”
Production of the ready meals is focused on hand preparation and cooking in small batches; however, to cope with demand, Praveen required a semi-automated way of packing the product without compromising the quality of their artisan meals. Subsequently, Praveen approached Lancashire depositor manufacturer Riggs Autopack for advice on a suitable semi-automatic depositor.
Following an initial consultation period, comprehensive on-site machine trials were conducted under social distancing rules by Riggs Autopack’s Scotland Technical Sales Engineer Steve Burnham, to establish how a semi-automatic depositor could improve the packing process. Following successful trials, Praveen purchased a Riggs Autopack Series 2 Table Top Depositor.
Steve Burnham and Praveen Kumar pictured during the installation and commissioning of the
Riggs Autopack Series 2 Table Top Depositor
This compact, bench mounted depositor is ideal for artisan producers that need short production runs. It provides highly accurate and damage free depositing, with simple strip down between products to guarantee allergen control, hygiene and product integrity.
To create the right balance in each ready meal, Praveen decided that hand portioning the meat was a critical part of the packing process; consequently, the depositor is used for adding different curry sauces to the pre-cooked meat. This method of semi-automation guarantees the correct ratio of sauce to meat and speeds up the whole packing process for their artisan ready meals. Once finished, the meal is frozen to seal in all the flavours and delivered to the client’s home sustainably in a fully recyclable cardboard box.
Praveen commented “The depositor has been a really impactful addition to our packing process, not only increasing our packing rate, but also reducing the time from blast chiller to freezer for all our products. Our team have really appreciated the ease with which you can fully strip, clean and reassemble the depositor, and are all now comfortable with the operation and calibration.”
“It handles our sauces wonderfully, without damaging any of the whole components, like chickpeas in our Channa Masala, and has overall been a great addition. Thank you to Riggs Autopack and Steve, for your time delivering and setting up the machine!”