Wai is a town in Satara district and is located on the Krishna river which is the fourth biggest river. Wai has been a birthplace to some of the famous Patriotic leaders in the Maratha empire namely – Rani Laxmibai, Gopikabai, wife of Nanasaheb Peshwa.
Wai is at a distance of 85.2 Kms from Pune making it an attractive and rather peaceful town for Punekars. The culture here is blunt but when it comes to appetite, you would find authentic Maharashtrian food written all over your mouth as you hog down missal pav and peti bhakri which are some of the specialities of the town.
The pav is made differently and tastes different compared to the ones we get in Mumbai. The missal curry comes in a small cute bucket made of steel with a ladle.
The campsite is about 40 minutes away from Wai bus stop and once you reach the campsite, you will be astonished as to how the whole place has been built using wood except for the foundation. The food here is really good because it is made right from the start once the order comes. So if you order for chapati, the dough will be made at that instant and served.
As chef Anand Gade, 43, says “All food is made right from the start so as to save most of the nutrients. If the raw materials are stored, they lose their nutrients as time passes by.”
Gade has been in the hotel industry for the past 13 years. He learnt the skill of cooking by observing his seniors while working at a different dhaba as he never studied Hotel Management. He first started working in Mahabaleshwar and then moved to dhabas on the highway.
Before entering the hotel line, he was at home maintaining the farm his father owned who passed away in a tragic accident and thus as an heir to the family he was home for seven years.
His home town is Raireshwar where Maharaja Shivaji took his first oath of Swaraj. Surrounding his home town are forts that fall in the Satara district.
Apart from cooking mouth-watering food, he also knows plumbing, gardening and carpentry. All the woodwork in the campsite is done by him right from the wooden walls of bamboo to the carved wooden lantern that sparkles in the evening when the yellow light touches the wood. The kitchen is also made by his own hands fairly separated into vegetarians and non-vegetarian sections.
When asked how his bhakri is soft and not rubbery compared to the other bhakris eaten, his response was simple. “Whatever dough I make, I am sure to make it fresh and on the spot with proper churning and always to make food from the heart. I believe that the only way to reach a person’s heart is through the stomach,” he said.
His dream is to open his own dhaba in his home town but budget is the hurdle between him and his dream. His only sorrow is the fact that in 1995 his mother fell into the well and died which shocked him and that is the only wound for him which cannot be healed.
Even after having losing his parents he supported his siblings and is happily married for 19 years with two beautiful daughters and a dream that hopefully will soon prosper.
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