The story behind Daru Chini Catering and how its unique dishes became the talk of the town
Having always had an interest in cooking, Syeda Regina wasted no time in venturing into a catering business when she moved back to Dhaka from Houston last year in the middle of the pandemic. Daru Chini Catering is actually the brainchild of her younger daughter, Nikita whose persistent coaxing is what gave Regina the courage to give this a shot.
Aided by her husband, Golam Mohammad and her other daughter Titly Ferdous, Regina operates Daru Chini Catering from her home kitchen in Niketan. She single-handedly cooks all the orders they receive, while her retired husband helps out with the groceries and packaging. “My father is very particular about groceries,” Titly confided, “the fish has to be bought in the morning!” she mimicked him and laughed, “since he’s so fussy we actually prefer that he does it.”
OVER THE LAST YEAR, THEY HAVE BEEN STEADILY FEEDING A GROWING NUMBER OF PEOPLE. THEY EVEN CATERED FOR MORE THAN A HUNDRED PEOPLE A FEW TIMES!
This year, on July 10th, Daru Chini Catering will celebrate the very first anniversary of its first order. Over the past year they have become so popular that these days they have orders going out to at least five addresses a day. Looking back, Regina remembers being startled at the overwhelming response Daru Chini Catering received. Back in Houston she used to cater her cooking as well, however this time here in Dhaka, things were a little different with her daughter helping out on the digital marketing front. “We actually only operate through our Facebook page,” Titly said, “only recently we started posting in Cook Ups as well.” According to Titly, social media platforms are a God-send for start-ups and small, homegrown businesses. And it’s true.
Due to the popularity of the platform and the convenience of being able to reach one’s target audience very easily, Facebook made it possible for Regina to do what she loves doing as a profession. To her, each order is akin to preparing a meal for a family member. The process of this creation is so personal for her that she refuses to let anyone in the kitchen while she’s cooking! A usual working day for her begins at 4am and ends at 2pm, once the orders of the day are ready and packed. Other than the marketing, all the operations of Daru Chini Catering are carried out by Syeda Regina and Golam Mohammad, and over the last year, they have been steadily feeding a growing number of people. They even catered for more than a hundred people a few times!
Daru Chini Catering has a personality of its own. All the dishes on the menu have been a staple for Regina’s family for years. Daru Chini Catering’s special Latka Khichuri with Beef has seen orders increasing to at least 10-12 dishes per day for the last six months. Among other fan favourites, Chitol Macher Peti is another popular item that always sells out. Titly gives the credit to her father’s fussiness over the fish and his expertise in picking the freshest catch from the market.
SYEDA REGINA CAME TO BANGLADESH IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC AND WITHIN JUST A YEAR, ESTABLISHED A BUSINESS THAT PROMISES TO BECOME A KNOWN NAME IN EVERY HOUSEHOLD SOON
Another item which sounds interesting and is also a great seller is the Chechrapora Chingri. The dish has attracted a lot of attention for its name. “It’s just chingri bhuna really, just a little more burnt than usual. This is a dish we regularly ate at home. We like the taste of food that is charred and gives off that smokey flavour, so we used to just call it that – the chechrapora chingri. Putting that on the menu ended up being a good marketing tactic because the name intrigued people into ordering the dish and once they ate it, everyone loved it!” explained Titly.
Syeda Regina returned to Bangladesh in the middle of a pandemic and within just a year, established a business that promises to become a known name in every household soon. She is an artist at heart who expresses herself through her dishes and this endeavour of creating something delicious for every family she cooks for fulfils Regina. At the end of the day, it is the care and dedication this retired couple so lovingly nourishes it with that makes Daru Chini Catering