Imagine this scene in the morning. It’s 7 AM. You’ve got to make breakfast while you practice weightlifting with your legs – one kid on each leg and you move around the kitchen like a giant clumsy snowman/woman. You then try to multitask and bathe your kids in the kitchen sink while the stove is loaded with six vessels for lunch. Your mind is on auto-pilot as you struggle to remember the number of whistles from the pressure cooker. You don’t know if you added salt to the lentils. The food is getting cold too.
To compound matters, the odour of burnt vegetables assaults your senses. You somehow get everything together, load up the lunchboxes and hit the road. You start eating your food with colleagues at work. You suddenly notice that one person has not cooked her vegetables properly. They still haven’t lost their colour. Before you can point this out, she offers the vegetable to you. You reluctantly eat it with your eyes closed, well prepared for the raw taste. But it doesn’t come. It’s exquisite. It’s well cooked. It’s awesome. It’s One Pot One Shot (OPOS). (The story makes for a nice commercial, doesn’t it?)
This is the latest revolution in cooking. How, you ask?
Consider the humble pressure cooker. Its role in Indian households has been traditionally restricted to boiling rice and other lentils. OPOS has transformed it into a universal magic device (cue their aptly named MagicPot). If you are familiar with Hero Honda’s ‘Fill it. Shut it. Forget it’ tagline, OPOS does something similar. You load up the cooker with all the ingredients, close, and open up your senses to a delightful aroma and taste. The method is that simple. However, the science behind it isn’t. OPOS uses much less water than conventional methods. Most of our vegetables already have enough water in them and OPOS looks to harness this attribute.
India’s Chef Gusteau
The brains behind this wonderful method is Mr. Ramakrishnan, popularly known as RK. His experiments started over a decade ago and he shared his findings for the world to try out. The OPOS bug bit everyone! He’s now at the helm of a successful business empire built on the foundations of OPOS. Do you remember Chef Gusteau’s “Anyone can Cook” credo from Ratatouille? OPOS is just that!
Let’s see how OPOS has changed the dynamics of the game, if not the game itself.
OPOS has empowered women like never before. There are so many heartwarming stories of people (especially mothers and daughters-in-law) bonding over OPOS. Many women have started to chart out their own business plans with OPOS at the centre. Some of them have written books on good food and OPOS. But it’s not just for women. A lesser realized corollary is about empowerment of men in the kitchen. I have never felt more comfortable at the stove. I can easily whip up a few dishes (with my wife’s instructions over my shoulder, of course) because I know I will get it right if I just follow the recipe to the letter. It’s a boon for parents, especially those with infants and toddlers.
Crafty Business Logic
RK is a business graduate and it shows in his handling of the business. His business strategy fascinates me and led me to write this post! It started out as a free-for-all service with hundreds of videos on YouTube, all starting with his characteristic “Hello OPOStars” line. He published all the recipes online and began a Facebook group for people to debate and deliberate. Once the benefits became obvious, the fan following grew multi-fold.
He saw an opportunity to monetize this (after all, the initial efforts were all his) and took his concepts to a popular pressure cooker manufacturer. The MagicPot was born after this and an app was simultaneously developed with thousands of videos. Yearly subscriptions were offered along with every MagicPot purchase and the money started to flow in. All recipes were immediately modified to suit the MagicPot and that drove more purchases. His able group of moderators keep the whole show going.
Apple’s walled garden ecosystem is often quoted in conversations on good business strategy. However, it doesn’t use crowd-sourcing as much as OPOS does. OPOS users themselves act as ambassadors and extol the virtues of the concept around the world. Advertising costs are practically zero (Except for the demo costs). The team still hasn’t scratched beneath the surface of mass production kitchens. There is a huge opportunity once they have a product that’s fully ready and tested. They can also target the Dabbawallah clients with food delivery to workplaces.
If this isn’t the business case study that our B-schools need, I don’t know what is! The scope of this enterprise is limited only by imagination.
The Actual Secret
RK and team did a series of tests with OPOS to determine food quality and fuel consumption. The results they reported were jaw-dropping. I will leave it to the team and other experts to talk about the actual numbers but many people have reported significant reduction in LPG consumption. These are not the secret ingredients in the master recipe that is OPOS. It is the OPOS community that is truly the reason for this runaway success. The secret sauce is the global validation of the recipes by thousands of members.
There will always be Naysayers
The chief criticism stems from the colour of the vegetables. Most of our people expect food to lose its colour when cooked. Elders are also up in arms when the recipe calls for pressure release immediately after the cooker is switched off. RK and team reiterate their original stance – it’s perfectly safe to release pressure. Furthermore, the food is healthy.
How You can Get Started
As I said earlier, OPOS is a registered business with its own trademark and you can head over to their website to get started. Once you gain access to their Facebook group, you can see the magic for yourself . The sheer scale of operations will astound you. I have written this piece on my own whim and I have no connection to the experts at OPOS. They would be better placed to guide you through the journey.
OPOS is not a movement. It’s a revolution. It’s not just a method. It’s fast becoming a way of life!