Inktober 2022: 31 Days And 31 Dishes With Floydian Cookery

October drawing to a close brings with it two things in my mind – Halloween and the end of Inktober. For those not in the know, Inktober is a worldwide art movement started in 2009 by Jake Parker as a challenge to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. His personal challenge was taken on by more and more people every year until it became a global phenomenon. And when 27-year-old Pranav Joshi from Pune took on the challenge and gave it his own spin, he didn’t imagine his exploits would gather their own cult following on social media as @floydiancookery.

An artist and a foodie, Joshi decided to merge his passions and use drawing prompts to create dishes. He actually took up the challenge last year, drawing each dish he made but unfortunately didn’t make it to the end. Taking it on again this year, he decided to put his videography skills to work and film every cook instead. And 30 days in, he’s still going strong. 

In a chasm of generic food content, his challenge has brought together a community of food lovers who respect the research and creativity he puts into every prompt. In a world with so much noise on social media, his stands out as something truly original and his audience can see that. 

We caught up with the chef and content creator to find out more.

What happened last year why did you decide to do it again?

So last year was a huge flop I just did a week and it got too much. I was also employed which made a huge difference. This year I was taking a break, I quit my job 5 months ago, and decided to focus on food again. That’s when Facebook and Instagram decided to throw up some memories of last year’s Inktober and I took it as a sign that I had to try again. So of course, since I couldn’t complete last year, it just made logical sense to make the challenge even more difficult and so I took on 31 days, 31 videos.

Why did you do Inktober last year?

My girlfriend does Inktober, and we started dating around October last year. I thought that it would impress her if I did it too. But then I thought, how can I make this mine? I could cook to the prompt and sketch the cook, which is what I did last year. It started as something to impress her, but then it turned out well for me too!

How did you get here?

I’m an engineering dropout, I didn’t have any food background or culinary background whatsoever. I just loved to eat and make food and decided to dive into this world. I just messaged GroundUp, this restaurant in Pune saying ‘I just love the things that you do, I’m really into food, the history and culture and other pops of debauchery that food brings to life. I don’t know if you need a hand but I’d love to join your team and see where it goes.’ And they agreed!

When and why did you start cooking?

I’m huge and I need to feed myself, and my mum just got tired at some point! Just kidding, but yeah, it was just me going into the kitchen, cooking and then being awestruck that my hands could create a dish. One of the first stories that I put up was for Maggi with a curry leaf tadka – such a simple thing in retrospect – but a huge thing for fifth-grade Pranav.

Walk us through the best and the worst of the prompts for you.

I really enjoyed the Batman connect for Mulligatawny Soup (it was supposed to be his favourite dish). I also enjoyed doing hot chocolate because it was nostalgic for me, it was my first public food ‘video’ six years ago. The chakli and 'schezwan' chutney were challenging but not too frustrating. The dragon’s beard candy was easily the most frustrating and the only one I actually failed at. The next day’s prompt was ‘Bluff’ and there were plenty of people who thought I was bluffing about not completing that one, but no, after 11 attempts and at 4 am I had to concede defeat.

What’s the routine, how have you been able to stay consistent?

So I wake up, research, start cooking and filming, in between steps I’d make stories, if possible research more for the next day, finish the cook, then sit down to edit and once that was over, start the whole cycle over again the next day.

Who’s your culinary inspiration?

Anyone who knows me knows it, Anthony Bourdain. There’s a story about how while in Africa he was offered warthog anus by a tribal chief and when asked later whether he wanted to eat it responded saying something like ‘Me wanting it to eat it doesn’t matter because if a tribal head with limited means offers me something so valuable to him, you just pop a few antibiotics and you eat it.’ It’s that respect he has for culture and even the simplest food that I like. For a gourmet chef, he was just so self-aware.

What is the strongest emotional connection you have to food?

There are memories attached to all emotions, like food synesthesia. My dad passed away a few years ago and the last meal we had together was my mum’s Biryani. And that’s a recipe I’ll never share, I’ve put up everything I’ve ever made, but that one I don’t think I’ll share, maybe when I’m close to death, but not till then. I remember I was home, my sister was home – she was married so that was rare – we sat down together and ate and he passed away that night in his sleep. So yeah, I’ll never forget that Mutton Biryani.

What’s the role of social media in this journey?

It kind of went with what I was trying to do on social media anyway, taking up unique challenges. I didn’t want to do the usual ‘food blogger’ stuff, I hate that term. I just wanted to do something different that people needed. Like then time I couldn’t find a chopping board, so I made one myself. People talk a lot about the algorithms, but at the end of the day, if you keep pushing stuff that people want to see, they’ll listen.

How do you feel about the response you’ve received for this series?

I am so appreciative of the love I’ve got. There’s this community that’s come together and is so responsive and all the hundreds of people messaging me all the time. And I guess that’s the point of putting stuff up on social media right, to engage and have productive conversations.