Food doesn’t need to stop being exciting and delicious for it to be healthy. Food is medicine, we can heal our bodies through the right food. All you need is positivity and encouragement towards making practical changes for health and healing. If discovering a whole new side to food that is both delicious and healthy is on your list of fitness goals, then Manjri Agarwal is the one to follow.
The founder of Big Plate Small Plate, Health Coach and Food Writer Manjri Agarwal is working hard to bring her vision of helping people discover a unique idea of health and to promote her philosophy in life into fruition. In conversation with TC46, she shares the importance of knowledge required in this field, the skills that help you progress and some vitals tips for aspirants.
1. What’s your educational and professional background?
My educational and professional background are very different from each other. I completed my schooling at The Cathedral And John Connon School in Mumbai, India and further completed my Graduation in Business Administration and Accounting In International Business from New York, USA. The values I’ve learnt in problem-solving and being committed to work is something that has always taken me ahead in life and has helped me follow my passion for food, health and travelling and made me enter this space.
2. What prompted you to start Big Plate Small Plate?
My love for food, health and wellness ideally prompted me to start Big Plate Small Plate as a venture. My journey started five years ago with the first 25K marathon that I did in Kolkata and then I went for a trek to Everest base camp which highly inclined me towards fitness.
My journey over the years evolved with not only being into food but also towards health and wellness and hence, Big Plate Small Plate started and it has been incredible.
3. Did you always know you wanted to work in this space?
Honestly, I wasn’t at all aware of this space. Life keeps evolving as you keep walking on the path of life and we don’t know what one is gonna expect ahead and end up with. It’s just great and overwhelming to have these unknown surprises along the way and the way I see it, it keeps life exciting.
4. What was your first work milestone and how did you get there?
I believe the first work milestone in the food space would be writing my first book, ‘Meals, Menus and More’. I was in Singapore and was attending a cookery workshop where I was asked to teach Indian and Middle-Eastern cooking and that’s how my journey in food actually started. Alongside, I started writing in Singapore-based magazines and from that, books came into my journey. I believe this was my first milestone, my first book in the food space and I knew my journey has just begun.
5. How long did it take you to monetise your venture? What was the turning point?
Monetising the venture takes time and a lot of patience. I haven’t yet started monetising with Big Plate Small Plate but plan to start soon. The turning point for me would be indulging in Ayurveda. I use a lot of Ayurveda principles in my cooking. It made me understand food and food combinations, what works for a certain human body and what doesn’t.
6. Do you market online/offline? What works better for your business?
Both online and offline marketing are important. They both have their own ways and arenas of working. This pandemic surely made it much easier for businesses to do everything online but now things are slowly moving offline as well and it always helps to connect. We generally underestimate the importance of human interaction but it definitely helps in any business.
7. What are your tips for an aspirant who wants to turn their passion for cooking into a business?
The foremost tip for an aspirant who wants to turn their passion for cooking into business is a lot of patience. One needs to be unique and innovative in their own way and have their own style of cooking. One should maintain their identity, identify their space and just keep at it and you will end up succeeding.
8. Are there any online/offline courses you would recommend that could help aspirants to enhance their cooking or business skills?
Attending courses to learn about food is something I’d really recommend. On the other hand, to enhance your cooking skills, one should attend master classes as they are of great help. In terms of cooking, I would recommend following the blogs of the chef(s) you believe in. Chefs are sharing a lot of recipes and tricks on blogs, Instagram, YouTube and other social media handles and I would suggest, always keep learning. Ayurveda was a turning point for me as I mentioned earlier. It really helped in understanding food and food combinations and also understanding body types and what works and what doesn’t work for a certain body. There are online courses for Ayurveda and I would always encourage you to take that. Prana Health Care has some great courses if you wish to learn about Ayurveda.
9. Which networking groups and showcasing events could help an aspirant meet the right people and generate monetising opportunities in this field?
For an aspirant, I would advise that there are different institutes for courses on health and healthy lifestyle and they have multiple different communities if you really want to network or monetise in this field. So I would say that one should really join these communities if they really would like to generate monetising opportunities for this particular field. Other than the communities, one should really be open to social media and connect and engage with their audiences, it is of great help. And then get into the local community and organisations to go forward entering and maintaining this workspace.
10. What are some investments one should be ready to make when wanting to become a health coach?
For becoming a health coach, one needs to have a knowledge of the human body and food in more detailing than regular people. I, personally did a course to turn into a health coach at IIN (Institute for Integrative Nutrition) in New York, USA. It is an online model and it is excellent. The way they handhold you for everything and teach about things so precisely. It has been a great learning process for me so would definitely recommend this for early investments if one is wanting to become a health coach.
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