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Let's Eat: Shruti’s Kitchen, An Indian food experience in Marathon

Shruti Chavda is feeding abundant amounts of delicious foods to the Marathon community.

MARATHON -- Annapurna, the name of the Hindu Goddess of food, is a combination of two words; ‘Anna’ meaning food and ‘purna’ meaning ‘filled completely’. Another important combination in Shruti’s life was her parents teaching her the morals of feeding her family and friends first, and that her culture taught her to value harmony and unity within her community. All of these elements come together in a single principle: to feed her friends and family abundant amounts of delicious, well-prepared food, and to share this culture with her community of Marathon, Ont.

When she first moved to Marathon three years ago, Shruti Chavda, a Pharmacy student, enjoyed entertaining and cooking for her friends and family who all agreed that her food was restaurant-worthy, and she’s finally decided to give it a try.

Her first foray into this new adventure was at the Winnie the Pooh festival earlier this summer. Working out of her provincially approved kitchen, Shruti Chavda, along with her partner, Yash Patel, prepared samosas, Indian style noodles, and Vadapav, a spicy potato dumpling on a bun. She was worried about making too much food and having too many leftovers, but to her delight, she sold out within three hours. This gave her the confidence to go ahead with her takeout food service, and last weekend she opened for business.

Because she works from her home and has limited storage space, she collects orders early in the week, then prepares the meals for pickup on Friday and Saturday. She makes a weekly trip to Thunder Bay to buy the necessary spices and ingredients, and prepares the food fresh and hot to be picked up at the specified time. She will do mid-week meals for special occasions, such as birthdays or other celebrations, if given at least two to three days notice.

The food coming from Shruti’s Kitchen is as authentic as it gets. Shruti is vegetarian, so she prepares the vegetable, paneer (cheese), bean, lentil, and other non-meat meals on the menu. Yash, who was a part-time senior chef at the Radisson and the Taj Bistro for three years while he was studying mining engineering at Cambrian College, cooks the Butter chicken and Tikka Masala dishes. They have a large array of Indian spices, sauces and mixes, and prepare the food using traditional tools, such as an Adni and Velan, a circular wooden board and a thin rolling pin, used to create naan bread and papads.

When she first arrived, no Indian food or spices were available in town, but Gaston Sirard, the owner of ‘Sirards – Your Independent Grocer’, brought in some rudimentary snacks and spices as a special order. There are now about fifteen Indian families in Marathon, and the array of foods available has grown to include flours, spices and sauces.

Despite the availability of the authentic ingredients, her customers, who are mostly Canadian, prefer Shruti to do the cooking, and she loves the opportunity. Although it’s more of a hobby than a career at this point, she enjoys sharing her cooking skills, and believes food is an important aspect of a good life.

“In our culture, we eat together, and we eat good, healthy food to nourish our bodies,” Shruti says respectful of her faith and traditions. “I learned all my cooking skills from my grandparents; they always taught me to treat our guests as god, always serving them fresh and delicious food.”

Folks will get a chance to experience more than just Indian cooking later this month, as Shruti and Yash are hosting a Gharba Dance Night at the Lakeview Community Hall on Sunday, Sept. 11, from 6 to 11 p.m. This event, which celebrates Navratri, an Indian feast which promotes the glory of women and their empowerment in society, will feature traditional food and music from the west coast of India, provided by Toronto’s Sandip Patel and Tahuko.

Thanks to the sponsorships of Hemlo and the Township of Marathon, the cost of this event has been reduced. Limited seats are now available ($15 for adults, $5 for children, (under 5 is free), and tickets can be reserved by calling Dwijen Bharad at (306) 316-9519 or Shruti Chavda at (647) 989-2603.

For food delivery, you can message Shruti’s Kitchen through their Facebook page, or by calling Shruti at (647) 989-2603.

A Hindu Sanskrit text says this: ‘From earth, herbs; from herbs, food; from food, seed, and from seed, human beings. We thus consist of the essence of food.’ If the essence of food is always as delicious and wholesome as you can get at Shruti’s Kitchen, we can count ourselves truly blessed.

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