It is to fill this vacuum and drive change in the process, that Anuradha Krishnamoorthy and Namrata Sundaresan have come up with their brand of artisanal cheese, Käse (pronounced kay-zuh), which translates to cheese in German. At Käse, situated in Abhiramapuram, the duo makes cheese by employing women with hearing and speech disabilities.
Interestingly, both Anuradha and Namrata come from diverse fields, and neither of them has a food background. While Anuradha runs Can Do, an organisation that focuses on the abilities of people with disabilities and provides them with training and employment in tele-calling and data/ desk research services, Namrata has been a strategy consultant for over 15 years now and owns a firm called Group IBI. However, doing something in the food industry had always been on Namrata’s mind. “It was more like a retirement plan though. But once, I got the opportunity to try my hand at cheese making during a holiday in Coonoor. I thought why not try it on a professional level,” recalls Namrata.
Later, over a discussion between her and Anuradha, the two realised that it could be one of the skills they could equip the latter’s team with. “We trained the girls in cheese making after which we did a trial run for a week. At the end of it, we had over five kilos of cheese and we invited our friends over to enjoy it. The response was overwhelming and that was when we decided to form Käse, in June 2016,” adds Anuradha.
Today, Käse offers over 20 varieties of cheese. From cumin seed-encrusted cheese to relishes spruced up with mango, chilli and mustard, local flavours dominate the brand. The recipes are a little different from traditional methods, considering how far we are from the geographic origin. “An example would be the Ode to Chennai variety, which is made using a cheddar technique and then aged with a spicy milagai podi rub. It’s a big hit with locals,” adds Namrata. What makes Käse different is also the way they sanitise the facility. “We do not use any chemicals. Rather, we use sea salt in boiling water and vinegar,” explains Namrata. Käse also makes a variety of breads, dips and salads based on orders.
With their first anniversary round the corner, Namrata proudly says, “Our team, especially the three differently-abled girls, have adapted well. While one of them makes excellent feta, another excels at mozzarella. At the end of the day, we don’t aim to become a big commercial establishment, but rather a small yet reliable firm that creates a product that can be added into your daily diet without any apprehension.”