26 Feb 2024  |   05:20am IST

Meet the women preserving Goan heritage while fulfilling their culinary dreams

Carol Fernandes and Shilpa Chodankar of ‘Cozinheiro’s’ believe that the true essence of Goan cuisine lies not in fancy restaurants but in the humble kitchens of village homes, where time-honoured recipes are passed down through generations
Meet the women preserving Goan heritage while fulfilling their culinary dreams

JOSEPH FERNANDES

ALDONA: Carol Fernandes from Panarim and Shilpa Chodankar from Mayem are two enterprising individuals who have embarked on a culinary journey to bring the authentic flavours of Goan cuisine to the forefront.

Transitioning from her role as an accountant, Carol dedicated herself to this culinary venture two years ago, coining the brand ‘Cozinheiro’s - The Authentic Taste of Goa.’ Their products, including aged coconut toddy vinegar, unrefined coconut oil, and a variety of pickles such as stuffed mango, gherkin, brinjal, lemon, prawn balcao, and mackerel parra, are all crafted following traditional Goan recipes, devoid of any chemical preservatives. Additionally, they offer homemade sweets like laddos and rawa laddos made with pure ghee.

Carol reminisces, “These are my mother’s recipes, and for over 40 years, she had been making them for the family.” Fascinated by the delectable dishes, Carol felt compelled to share them with a wider audience, championing their authenticity and the tradition they represent.

Driven by a passion for cooking and a desire to break away from mundane desk jobs, Carol and Shilpa joined forces to establish their business. Shilpa, a pharmacist with a sales background, shares, “I have always been drawn to the authentic flavours of Goan cuisine.” Recognising the disparity between commercialised versions of Goan dishes and the true, traditional recipes, Shilpa saw an opportunity to introduce authentic, healthier alternatives to the market.

Utilising their respective expertise, Carol and Shilpa navigated the challenges of starting a business, seeking guidance from various sources, including government officials and financial institutions. They stress the importance of preserving traditional methods of food preparation, eschewing chemical additives in favour of natural preservatives like toddy vinegar and unrefined coconut oil.

Their dedication to authenticity and quality extends to their production process, which involves sourcing seasonal ingredients like mangoes, and preserving them for year-round enjoyment. Working tirelessly from dawn till dusk, Carol and Shilpa oversee every aspect of their operation, from procurement to production, often enlisting the help of 

local villagers for support.

Beyond their entrepreneurial endeavours, Carol and Shilpa are committed to making a positive impact on their community. By providing employment opportunities and promoting traditional Goan cuisine, they hope to inspire others to embrace their cultural heritage and adopt healthier eating habits. 

Looking ahead, Carol and Shilpa envision expanding their reach beyond local markets, leveraging digital platforms to introduce their products to a global audience.

IDhar UDHAR

Idhar Udhar