We had the good fortune of connecting with Karishma Pradhan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Karishma, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Part of the reason I switched from a full-time job in analytics to starting my own business was because of the inflexibility of a traditional office job. The expectation of going into the office at least 4 days a week for 8-10 hours a day in a stressful environment never sat well with me. I suffer from chronic migraines that last anywhere from 12 hours to 2 days, and it’s extremely difficult to work through that kind of pain. These migraines became more frequent during my last year of working a full-time job, occurring as often as once a week. On the days I didn’t have a migraine, I would leave the office with a tension headache. On top of that, I had always wanted to pursue a career in the food industry, so I started brainstorming ways in which I could live a more balanced, flexible lifestyle doing work I felt passionate about.
In some ways, my work life balance hasn’t changed since becoming a freelancer/small business owner. I still work about the same number of hours (though some weeks, I work more). But the ability to choose my own hours and take breaks when I need it makes a huge difference. As long as I stay organized and plan ahead, I can easily take a day off at a moment’s notice. I’m so much happier now that I can work around my life, instead of revolving my life around work.
What should our readers know about your business?
The Home Cooking Collective (HCC) is a community for aspiring home cooks to learn how to make delicious food through high quality workshops, guides, and recipes. HCC focuses on using science and intuition to go beyond standard recipes and teach people the techniques necessary to cook on their own with confidence.
Many of my friends ask me how cooking seems to come so naturally to me, but the truth is, it doesn’t. I started learning how to cook at the age of 12, and fifteen years later, I now feel confident after learning from my failures — many, many failures. So, in 2020, I started HCC to help cooks distill complex recipes into a standardized set of patterns and techniques to make cooking easier, faster, and more enjoyable.
Since launching, I have taught many private and group workshops, and each time, it’s always so satisfying to see how much my students learn over the course of the class. I teach a homemade pizza workshop, and I even had one student start their own pizza Instagram after taking my class!
Teaching comes with its own challenges, especially in the pandemic. Virtual cooking workshops require much stronger communication skills than an in-person class. If someone wants to ask me a question about how their pizza dough looks, for example, it can be quite difficult to see exactly what is going on through a small screen. When I can’t fully evaluate a student’s progress through visual cues, I often have to take a step back and very clearly break down the expected outcome through clear, concise wording. These challenges have made me a better teacher, and I’m still learning every day!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I recently moved to Cambridge, MA from New York City, so I’m still quite new to the area! But here are my favorite spots so far.
Food: Sofra Bakery (https://www.sofrabakery.com) is an incredible Middle Eastern bakery and cafe, with the most delicious meze, sweets, and savory pastries.
Union Square Donuts (https://boston.eater.com/venue/12454/union-square-donuts)
Mida Boston (https://www.midaboston.com/) has amazing homemade pasta dishes.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (http://www.gardnermuseum.org/home)
Strolling through Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden is a classic!
During the pandemic, I’ve been visiting the Fresh Pond Reservoir (https://www.cambridgema.gov/Water/freshpondreservation/reservationuserinformation/freshpondreservationtrails.aspx) which is a large, beautiful reservoir perfect for walking, running, or biking.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to recognize my fiance, Daniel who has supported me unconditionally through the whole process of starting a business. Working for yourself is immensely rewarding, but stressful. Whenever I feel extremely stressed, he sits down with me and helps walk me through what I’m feeling and how I can mitigate my anxieties.