Discover the heartwarming culinary journey of Harish Closepet, the creative force behind 'Harry's Kitchen,' as he shares wholesome recipes and redefines family bonding through delicious, locally inspired lunches.
In the realm of social media, there are countless influencers who have captivated the hearts and teased the taste buds of audiences worldwide. Amidst this diverse landscape of content creators, there emerges a unique talent, a father whose culinary creations have taken Instagram by storm with a channel that is charming people with simple recipes that come with a lot of heart.
Harish Closepet, is the mastermind behind the viral Instagram page, Harry's Lunchbox, (@harrys_lunchbox) where he dishes out a delectable array of mouth-watering and health–conscious lunchboxes that have garnered enormous popularity. With almost 500 thousand loyal followers, he’s captured and inspired people with his series of healthy but simple meals, made for his daughter Isha.
But Closepet hasn’t always been a social media trailblazer, and until recently, his career was firmly in business as the co-founder of the wildly successful craft materials company, Itsy Bitsy, which he started with his wife Rashmi back in 2004. Today he’s leaning into his passion for food and sharing his lunchbox secrets through Instagram.
Slurrp caught up with the man himself to learn more about the journey from businessman to content creator and how he curates the perfect lunch.
A Wholesome Idea Takes Flight
The concept of Harry’s Lunchbox was born on a whim in September 2022 when his daughter Isha suggested that they film him cooking lunch and start a page to document his food journeys. “My first thoughts were - Why not?”, Harry reminisces, “It would be a great way to spend time with my daughter and have some fun cooking experiences together. Plus, we get to share healthy food videos with lots of people. However, I never thought people would love the videos so much and Harry's Lunchbox page would become so popular." Since then they’ve shared over 60 lunchbox ideas, and their daddy-daughter antics started catching people’s attention.
The Birth Of A Passion
Even though cooking on social media is a new feeling, Harish has always been very comfortable in the kitchen. "Cooking has always been an area of interest for me,” says Harish, “It all started when I was 19 years old. Once when I was visiting my friend’s hostel, I realised the food there was not great. So, I took the initiative to cook a tasty meal for my friends. That was my first cooking adventure, and my love for cooking grew each day."
Crafting Culinary Masterpieces
But it's not just flavour that drives his cooking, but also health. "Our main aim is to prepare a healthy lunchbox that’s well-balanced and that meets protein, carbohydrate, and other nutritional requirements,” says Harish, “We then conceptualise a wholesome lunch box menu based on ingredients that go well together. All the different food ideas are generated by me and my daughter,".
"My focus is creating a balanced diet for everybody who packs lunch, whether it is a school-going child or an office professional,” says Harish. Local vegetables, grains and dishes also play a role in how Harish conceptualises a lunch. “We try to use maximum local ingredients that are easily available in the market. Highlighting Indian vegetables, spices, and grains are important to me for various reasons. Firstly, there's a shorter time from farm to table, thus fresher and packed with more nutrients. Additionally, our wealth of knowledge helps us harness the benefits of Indian traditional foods, herbs, and spices. It also helps the local farming community and supports the country’s economy."
The Essentials of a Perfect Lunch
"In my opinion, three basic elements must be included in lunch," Harish begins. "The first is carbohydrates that fill your stomach and provide energy to work for the rest of the day. The second element is adequate protein, and the third one is fibre. If a lunch box is packed with some carbs, fruits, and vegetables for fibre, and some rich protein sources like nuts, green peas, lentils, and beans, it’s a perfect meal. Remember to occasionally add a sweet or a fried item to celebrate!"
Challenging Stereotypes with Love
Though traditionally, home chefs and kitchens have been the domain of women, Harish has stepped up to change these preconceived gender roles. "I believe fathers should find time to cook for their children as it is a great way of bonding and creates a harmonious relationship. Cooking could be the best way to get closer to your children and inculcate healthy eating habits. Everyone on the Internet has been supportive after seeing my videos," he says.
Here are a few tried and tested lunchbox combos that are Harish’s healthy, delicious favourites
Harish Closepet, the culinary wizard behind Harry's Kitchen, has not only won hearts but also provided a fresh perspective on the joys of cooking and family bonding and it seems like he’s gained as much from this journey as his viewers do. "The highlight of this journey is that it has given me immense happiness as I’ve been able to share my culinary skills with the world," Harish admits. "It’s amazing to see such wonderful responses from people which make the journey even better. To be honest, the whole journey has been unexpected, and some of the viral reels were unexpected as well." His story serves as an inspiration to those who dare to follow their passions, and his mouthwatering recipes are an invitation to savour the rich tapestry of Indian flavours. Through a simple act of sharing love through food, Harish has truly made a mark on the world, one lunchbox at a time.