The Gastronomical Affair and its delectable tale

The Gastronomical Affair

Yaashna Rajani and Sanika Samant explain their content creation process for The Gastronomical Affair across Mumbai and Hyderabad.

Speech and Language Pathologists and Audiologists by profession, Yaashna Rajani and Sanika Samant found a way to document their gastronomical experiences in a blog. They started writing on Zomato, eventually expanding their reach on social media with Instagram.

Looking back, where did it all begin?

We got to know each other while in college, when we were pursuing our Masters’ Degree in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology from the AYJ National Institute of Speech and Hearing Disabilities, Mumbai. We had to travel across the city for our internships and other projects. Since we were both avid foodies, we would end up exploring the best the local food joints of each area while we were travelling. That’s how the idea started to start a food blog to share our gastronomical experiences. We first started writing on Zomato back in 2014 and soon we started showcasing our love for food on our blog as well as social media platforms like Instagram.

What’s in the name?

When we started off with the blog, we were both single and food was the only thing we ever wanted to be in a relationship with! Hence, we aptly named it The Gastronomical Affair — our personal journey exploring the best of street food, local restaurants, cafes, gastropubs, and more!

What is your USP in this cluttered space? How does your content give you an edge?

We like keeping it real. Giving honest feedback is extremely important to us. Hence, our reviews are genuine and unbiased so that we don’t mislead our readers.

View this post on Instagram

Home made Khowsuey! We’ve received many DMs asking for this recipe that we made. So here it goes. Ingredients: 1) Veggies of your choice. We added carrots, zucchini, beans, baby corn and onions and spring onions. 2) Lemongrass (1 full) 3) coconut milk 200ml 4)roasted peanuts roughly crushed 5)chopped chillies 6)fried onions 7)fried garlic 8) chilli oil (optional but tastes delicious) 9) chilli flakes 10) boiled noodles Steps: In a pan add 2 tbsp of oil and fry 1tsp ginger and 1tsp garlic finely chopped. Then add finely chopped onion and large pieces of lemongrass and fry (I crushed it a little so that all the flavours come out) Then slowly add all the veggies and cook for 1-2 mins. Next, take 2 tsps oil and roast 3 tsp besan till it’s fragrant. ( do can place the veggies in the side of the pan and add oil and besan in the same pan and cook. Then add 1tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder. Add water and cook with a lid on for 5 mins. Finally add coconut milk and cook for 5mins. Add salt and chilli oil/ chilli flakes/ fresh chillies. Serve with noodles or rice. Add noodles then add the curry, fried onions, fried garlic, chilli flakes , chopped spring onions, chilli oil, peanuts and squeeze lemon on top and enjoy! #quarantine #cooking #topshot #khowsuey #recipe #healthy #noodles #mealprep #coconut #peanuts #yummy #staysafe #stayhome #covid #huffposttaste #buzzfeedfood #f52grams #food52 #forkyeah #foodofmumbai #mumbaifoodblogger #hyderabadfoodblogger #ig_india #mumbaidiaries

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Please take us through your content creation process. How do you stay relevant? 

After completing our Masters’, perusing our respective careers, and getting married, we’ve settled in different cities. While Yaashna is still based in Mumbai, Sanika has moved to Hyderabad.

We both keep tabs with the latest happenings in our cities — new openings, new menus, special offers, as well as iconic restaurant brands, and popular street and local food, share our food journey with our audience from Mumbai & Hyderabad. 

How do you make moolah with your efforts?

We started the blog out of a sheer passion for food. We believe in sharing our genuine experiences with our audience. Hence, we don’t charge brands for any branded content or promotions.

How do you maintain editorial objectivity with the influx of brand briefs?

When we’re trying food be it street food or fine dining, we not only showcase the positives but also highlight the negatives, thereby creating a balance of both as we believe in giving our readers honest and genuine feedback.

Also Read: Parimita, Sameer and their Mumbai Food Trail

One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile

Blogging has given us the opportunity to get to know a lot of brilliant like-minded people who share our passion for food! Over the years, we’ve formed a really close bond with some of them like Amrith from The Hoggers Blog, Arvind and Nisha from The Guiltless Foodies, Sucheta from The Vegetarian Bhukkad, Nishant from Indie Opus, and Rohit from The Hungry Mumbaikar (who Yaashna has gone on to get married!)

Weirdest brand brief/request ever

We have been often invited by multiple PR agencies on behalf of restaurant brands in exchange to review their food on our social media platforms, blog and Zomato. While we do accept such invites from time to time, on some occasions, we’ve been asked beforehand to try only certain dishes which the brand is looking to promote, give positive reviews only, and rate the restaurant 5 stars out of 5 on Zomato. How can we mislead our readers, agree to rate a restaurant 5 out of 5, without even trying the food first? We find this morally and ethically wrong and don’t work with such brands and agencies.

If not blogging, you would be?

We are both Speech and Language Pathologists and Audiologists by degree and profession. If we wouldn’t have dared to do something different and follow our passions, we would be pursuing our profession only.

A day in your life…

We are both married and try and maintain a balance with work and home while following our passion for blogging. 

Professionally, we are Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. We work with children with developmental disabilities and adults with neurological disorders as well as vocal and hearing impairments. 

In our free time after work or on weekends, we venture out with our respective husbands and friends and to explore different food joints in both Mumbai and Hyderabad and we share our experiences on a daily basis. 

We do so while supporting our respective households and doing our bit of responsibilities at home.

Message/tips for upcoming bloggers

Don’t become a food blogger for free food. Make your content relatable to your audience and share genuine feedback. 

Your Favourite Influencer: 

The Hungry Mumbaikar 

The Future you foresee for your Personal Brand? 

We aim to cover the best of food and restaurants in both, Mumbai and Hyderabad as well as share our journey trying different cuisines and experiences across our travels to different destinations with family and friends.