Saba Mohsin Shaikh runs the famous Facebook page and group Karachi Chefs at Home and most of you already know and love the space she has created for all food lovers. The group was created by her to share recipes and food photos, which has now grown close to 160,000 members! It’s a place where members share their recipes and help support each other learn to cook better! I have also tried a few recipes from that group and they have always turned out great!
I got in touch with Saba when I was in Karachi earlier this year and we decided to meet up for a chat and some food (of course!). She is an absolutely lovely person and not only did she not let me pay for the food (which technically I invited her to), but she also brought me a copy of the KCH recipe book “Tasty Treasures”.
Recently Saba’s group Karachi Chefs at Home was selected by Facebook for its initiative for entrepreneurs in collaboration with ‘Idea Croron Ka’— which is a reality show on Neo TV that gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their ideas to potential investors. Along with 5 other women from Pakistan, Saba Mohsin Shaikh of Karachi Chefs at Home is making us proud!
So let’s get to know Saba more..
Q: Tell us something about yourself? Who is Saba in real life?
Saba: I am a 26-year-old Business graduate from University of South Wales in Newport. I got married 5 years back and we are thinking of starting our family soon. I am the eldest of the 4 siblings. I am originally from Karachi but have recently moved to Lahore.Q: What inspired you to start the group Karachi Chefs at Home? Tell us about that journey.
Saba: I loved cooking and sharing what I made (on Facebook), whenever I had some free time while I was alone and studying in the UK. It was super cold to be outside and I hardly had any friends/family around to keep me entertained. So most of my time was spent in the kitchen and that was the reason for numerous posts on my Facebook wall, which annoyed a lot of people. A friend of mine gave me the idea to make a group where I could share my pictures. Initially, it was for just friends/family and later friends of friends and so on.It started growing and today we are a community of over 150,000 women sharing and supporting each other. We will be turning 5 in May 2019 and it seems like a dream when I look back and see all that we have achieved.
Q: How did cooking become a passion for you? Were you always into cooking or something that you took up after getting married?
Saba: I loved cooking from a very young age. I started with breakfast and later moved to cooking pastas and Chinese occasionally on Ammi’s request. She makes amazing desi food and would just hand over the kitchen to me on the weekends to cook something special. Later, I started baking as well and today I can make everything – except that I am terrible at making rotis.Q: KCH is mashaAllah a huge group! How do you manage a group of more than 150K woman? It must be a mammoth of a task managing such a huge group!
Saba: It is difficult, but I have a team of superwomen who help me out and make it look like a breeze. We have Regional heads in various parts of the world who are contributing selflessly. KCH is nothing without the moderators and Regional Heads.Q: You have successfully published three books of KCH till now. Tell us about that experience and any challenges you faced?
Saba: Everything is difficult when it comes to publishing a recipe book – from selecting recipes to delivering the book. Once you select the recipes, it goes for testing and proofreading, then to the designer and then finally it goes for printing. Once you have the book in your hands another major task is actually delivering the book to members.
Once a delivery guy ran away with almost Rs 80,000 collected from cash on delivery orders – it was a major set back and covering for the loss took ages. Alhamdulillah, we are sold out on all the volumes now but I will never forget working on 2 hours of sleep – working day and night to make Tasty Treasures possible.Q: If you had to cook a nice meal in 30 minutes, what would you cook?
Saba: Chicken Biryani -not going by the rules but making it in my own way.Q: What was your worst kitchen disaster ever?
Saba: I left milk on the stove and slept. I woke up after an hour – you can imagine the rest!Q: If you could invite any two people, dead or alive, for dinner, who would they be and why?
Saba: Mark Zuckerberg – Obviously because I owe everything to him, No Facebook, no KCH! and my Dada – I have never met him and have always wanted to know more about him.Q: Can you walk us through a typical day for you?
Saba: Since I work from home, there is no alarm clock for me. If we have had a late night then I usually wake up really late. That is one thing I need to improve because I want to be a morning person. (Maybe when I have kids you will see me rise and shine with the sun rising!)
The first thing I do is check my phone even before I am out of bed. Then I spend an hour in my washroom – relaxing, planning and thinking about what I have planned for the day. I usually cook myself so after breakfast, I move on to lunch prep. After lunchtime, I am free and that is when I usually reply to emails or finish all my KCH work.
I start making dinner at around 8 pm and after dinner, Mohsin and I head out for grocery shopping or desserts. I always watch TV before bed – I am addicted to Netflix and YouTube.Q: What is a skill you’d like to learn and why?
Saba: I want to learn graphic designing, I know the basics but I want to learn it professionally. That’s a skill that will be very useful for my work and its something I enjoy. It’s like Art – it is relaxing and the finished product makes you feel really nice. Q: What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? Any advice for people generally on social media?
Saba: You aren’t chocolate that everyone will love you; even if you were, there are people who do not like chocolate. It means that you can’t please everyone, so do what you feel is right.
For everyone on social media, people need to stop comparing their lives to social media celebs/influencers. People see a happy picture and perceive how our lives are perfect, but the struggles we face or the problems we have – you can’t see them on social media.Q: What’s next for Karachi Chefs at Home?
Saba: Another book. We are planning a lot for the next volume but I can’t reveal just yet but we are very excited for the upcoming edition.
TV show/Movie: Gossip Girl , Jane the Virgin
Book/Novel: I love all the romantic ones, so I have a huge list.
Cuisine: Chinese, Italian , Pakistani
KCH Recipe: Paneer Reshmi Handi by Aimen Ibrahim , Singaporean Rice BY Huba Akbar
Your Own Recipe: Chowmien, Lasagne, Alfredo Pasta, Chicken Tikka Sandwiches
Street Food: Bun Kebab (Tipu Burger) , Pani Puri (Cool Inn) , Mix Chaat (Cool Inn)
Restaurant: Bambou, Pomo, Kolachi
Activity with Family: Traveling, dining out and watching shaadi videos together
Travel Destinations: Santorini, London, Venice
Thank you so much Saba, for taking the time out for doing this interview and an extra thank you hug for adding me to your list of favorite blogs 🙂 And all the best for the your next book – can’t wait!
OR on her website