Early morning 6 o’clock and Akshaya Patra’s Mysore kitchen is bustling with activity. Having started more than an hour ago, it is in full swing with teams of employees working harmoniously in the various responsibilities assigned. Some supervise steaming cauldrons capable of cooking 100kgs of rice each. Others focus on masala preparations near a massive stone grinder whirling at steady speed where more than 60 coconuts are grated each day for seasoning. Yet others are involved in measuring out the quantities of ghee, oil and other ingredients needed for cooking.
Assigning those responsibilities and superintending the overall operations is Srikanth S. K. He has been working with the Foundation for nearly 1 ½ years and handles the day to day processes of the kitchen.
“We use between 200 to 300 kgs of rice, 230 kgs of dal and around 650 to 700 kgs of vegetables everyday,” says Srikanth. He goes on to explain how each school is visited approximately once in two months, and the feedback collected is used to make adjustments to the cooking process. “Today, we’re making tomato bath*. We received feedback that the children wanted something different to taste,” he adds, carefully watching to ensure that exactly 4.5 kgs of ghee and 8 litres of oil are measured out in equal quantities for each cauldron.
“It is great satisfaction to know that the work I do is helping children,” he says.
*Tomato bath is a rice preparation with a strong flavouring of tomato, enhanced with spices and cooked with vegetables.