Unlike the cakes eaten by their parents, the pets get served savoury cakes made of chicken and liver cakes, carrot and cottage-cheese cakes and icecreams made of probiotic yogurt in flavours including carrot and liver.
Designated as the ‘Chief Tasting Officer’, nine-year-old Harley has important decisions to make. Based on whether the stray, adopted by chef Ishmeet Singh Chandiok in December 2009, nibbles and walks away from food served before him or licks the bowl off, what goes to production at Harley’s Corner is determined and served to other dogs.
This includes home made ready-to-eat meals, cakes, cup-cakes and ice creams. Chandiok, a 39-year old alumni of the Institute of Hotel Management in Mumbai, began researching about food for dogs after adopting Harley from a construction site in Andheri.
“I realised that Harley was more interested in the food we were eating at our table than the packaged pet food we were giving him. I tasted the food and it appalled me,” Chandiok says.
It led him to read and research on dog food in India and abroad. He says that the material online pointed towards an increase in cases of renal failure due to packaged pet food. He enrolled for a course online on canine nutrition after finding no option for it in India. Nearly 8-10 months of the course and scourging through other reading material online, Chandiok began his experiments in the kitchen. “When I began cooking for Harley, he loved the food and began looking forward to it. When you are a ‘pet parent’, your social circle expands to include other pet parents too. At the society where I was staying, there were over 20 pet dogs and I began making extra food for them while cooking for Harley. The pet parents inquired about it as their dogs too loved the food,” Chandiok says. He then began Harley’s Corner in 2012, naming it after his own dog.
Initially, Chandiok tied up with the dabbawallahs in Mumbai to deliver food to homes of ‘pet parents’. He would cook the food at his Andheri home in the night and it would be delivered in microwave-safe containers. After the demand increased for over 20 dogs daily, Chandiok realised he could not make the food out of his home anymore. More research followed and Chandiok came up with preservative-free, ready-to-eat meals for dogs made with ‘human-grade ingredients and ‘human food technology’ at a manufacturing unit, he says. He says he currently has 16-18 subscriptions where the food is delivered online to ‘pet parents’ in various cities including Bengaluru , Pune, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai in pouches for 30 days.
In Mumbai, Chandiok from his home kitchen continues to dish out cakes, cupcakes and icecreams for dogs. Unlike the cakes eaten by their parents, the pets get served savoury cakes made of chicken and liver cakes, carrot and cottage-cheese cakes and icecreams made of probiotic yogurt in flavours including carrot and liver.
The usual moulds in demand for pet birthday parties and other celebrations are paw-shaped and bone-shaped cakes. Chandiok says that some ‘pet parents’ seek other shapes. “I tell pet parents that the shape of the cake is something the dog will not understand. Instead of wasting cake for a particular shape, they would rather serve it to their pet,” he says.
For now, Harley continues to decide through the wag of his tail on what should be served.
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