We are starting this new series called “Creative dads” with a multifaceted personality: a chef, nutritionist, blogger, social worker, and social media manager. Born and brought up in Mumbai, graduated from the Mumbai University, and worked in the corporate world for about 20 years. He quit the corporate world in 2012 and started a full-time consultancy in Content management and Food. As a certified nutritionist, he has helped many stay fit and also work with corporates from time to time for their Food related content requirements. Let’s get to know more about him-
What is your background?
I am an Arts student specializing in Sociology and Politics. Having Interest in cooking since Childhood, I took to serious cooking, recipe writing, and eventually, recipe improvisation in 2012, and since then my blogging journey has started on a professional level.
When did you decide to become a blogger and started your website?
In 2011-2012, after being motivated by many close friends I started my website http://www.fashionablefoods.net. In 2015 I switched over to http://fashionablefoodz.com
What all struggles you faced initially or still face in this business?
The first issue was the audience. There are thousands of bloggers with personal blogs so one finds it difficult to have readers dedicated to their blog. Since you are new, your style of writing, presenting a post, etc are comparatively crude so it becomes difficult for regular blog readers to align themselves with you. One needs time to understand the market pulse and the reader base the blog can develop and change and adapt the writing style accordingly.
Secondly, when you are new, you don’t get any paid assignment however good you are at work. So these are the two main problems I faced during my initial days of starting a blog.
What is your favorite thing about blogging and content writing and why?
I love to keep my language simple without the use of jargon and complicated English. This is why I can connect better with my audience. I also try to break down the complex process involved in a recipe into simple steps which appeal to my subscribers. My favorite is recipe writing as I love to cook and experiment with the food. Once I have succeeded in the experiment, I love to share the same with my viewers.
You are very actively involved in social work. Tell us something about your NGO and all the work you guys do.
After doing voluntary social service for over 10 years, I decided to start an NGO, and in April 2017, Being The Real Human came into existence (http://beingtherealhuman.com). Let me tell you how it all started.
We are doing social service by going to all old age homes in Navi Mumbai and spending time with the old who have been abandoned by their children. I have met some old people who have hurled abuses at me when I tried to get close. A wall which they had built around themselves after their kids had backstabbed them in a way by abandoning them. It took me many months to break the ice and get beyond those walls. I made some like-minded friends during this practice and they joined me too once a week/fortnight where we used to carry, necessities, fruits, curd, biscuits, etc. While doing this I realized that I will never be able to take care of them single-handedly despite the help from a few good friends who helped me with their efforts, money, and moral support.
I also do every bit to save dying animals and birds. I could save some, I lost many. Come April 2017, I got my core team in place and floated an NGO. I knew by doing this, people would not neglect my advice as an NGO founder. Thereafter the serious work started. I decided to make this a full-fledged program. I spoke to animal lovers across Navi Mumbai and chalked out a plan. Where it was needed I contributed money, where the volunteers could manage it, they did take care of the expenses.
We succeeded in talking to various shops, societies, and restaurants and placed 500+ pots all over Navi Mumbai. This work was noted and appreciated by the Times group too and an article appeared in the TOI too about the same. The local police also helped and appreciated this cause where equal care of the environment and animals was planned and executed.
I am also planning on building an Independent crematory for the animals and birds in Navi Mumbai in line with what we have in Mumbai. After some initial discussions, very soon Navi Mumbai will have its first animal crematorium. The NGO volunteers (with self-motivation and some help from me) managed to do over 110 adoptions of stray and abandoned animals and got them homes. The Pet Federation recognized my efforts and gave me the Award for the best NGO doing welfare for animals and birds in December 2017.
It’s good to see many other people and kids who also learned by watching us and have independently started doing the social services.
Please tell our readers about your music background.
I hold a Senior Masters Diploma from The Prayaag Sangeet Samiti in Music (Instrument-Tabla) and have always been passionate about movies, TV, and music. I am currently helping my son get a foothold in the Music field since he is a good singer and looks promising to many. So, I am there to guide him since I have the technical knowledge and the social media support. We just finished a portfolio shot for him which is necessary nowadays to enter the TV Industry.
A most important tip for other dad entrepreneurs and other aspiring bloggers?
For Dad entrepreneurs: Don’t stop. Explore everything. Tap all that you see around and develop a niche. Work on it and you will succeed. Working in a corporate is not the only way to be successful. You get to spend more time with your family while earning money. So focus on what you want to do and then go all out after it. There are people in event management, catering, Blogging, Vlogging who are making good money and are successful.
Aspiring bloggers: Don’t get into this just because you are seeing someone else get into it. You may be good at other things too. Only if you feel passionate about blogging and want to make a career in it, get into it. Spend the first few years giving quality content and building a reader base. These few years will be of extreme hardship where you may not earn even a single rupee. Blogging and content writing could definitely give you a good and steady income if you play your cards well. Don’t end up being just another lost blogger who keeps blogging endlessly without earning anything.
What is your vision? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I want to stay grounded and continue to do what I am doing. At the national level when it comes to my social activities and at International Level when it comes to my Blogging activities. I would want to focus more on fitness and Nutrition in the Food segment.
What/who is your inspiration?
There are many. We all see them today as celebrity chefs on the TV. I am lucky to be in an Era where Celebrity Chefs like Sanjeev Bhai Kapoor (who taught me to cook through his shows), Culinary arts specialists Chef Ranveer Brar, Chef Vicky Ratnani, Chef Ajay Chopra, Chef and friend Varun Inamdar and Chef Saransh Goila along with the Michelin Star chefs Gordon Ramsay and our own Vikas Khanna always inspire me to boldly experiment with ingredients to improvise recipes which sometimes come out good, sometimes don’t.
On the social front, this video speaks a lot more than my words would do https://youtu.be/PivWY9wn5ps
Follow Utpal and his journey –