When I think of Maggi, memories come gushing back to me: memories of that hostel-wala Maggi while last minute cramming for exams late into the night; memories of those long drives in the mountains and stopping by the dhaaba for a bowl of steaming soupy Maggi noodles; but most importantly, Maggi brings back memories of my mother whipping up a quick bowl of noodles for me as an after-school snack. Innumerable women across the globe, just like my mom, continue to resort to Nestle’s various products, including, but not limited to, Maggi to ease their kitchen duties. It is these everyday women that Maggi wishes to celebrate via their show Maggi Kitchen Journeys that airs on ZeeTV. Maggi Kitchen Journeys portrays women armed with determination, zest and an extensive love for food; who decided to build their own destiny.
We journeyed all the way to Vadodara to meet one such lovely lady – the enterprising Charmi Dave. Charmi’s story is special because at the young age of 28, she is the founder of the Maggevala chain of eateries. Maggevala celebrates Maggi noodles in all its glory, with an extensive and innovative menu keeping the humble noodles at the heart of it all. Maggevala is now a chain of eateries with eight branches across the country – three in Vadodara, one in Rajkot, one in Surat and three in Chennai. We sat down with Charmi at the original Maggevala outlet in Fatehgunj, a tiny yet warm eatery complete with rustic ambiance, for a tête-à-tête. Over bowls of signature Maggevala noodles Charmi gave us a glimpse of her story and her brand.
The Origin of the Maggevala Brand
Charmi’s idea for a Maggi inspired cafe arose over a plate of Maggi and some chit-chat with a girl friend. The inspiration to serve homely and hearty Maggi dishes hit her then. Inspite of having no experience in the hospitality field, Charmi decided to follow her dream and set up the first Maggevala outlet in Vadodara. The menu was limited at first to just five basic Maggi fusion dishes and two drinks, but with the help of Chef Parth ended up conceptualizing the menu that we see today.
Since then the brand has grown leaps and bounds having established presence in Chennai as well. In fact, a businessman who dined at Maggevala in Vadodara loved the concept and food so much, he coaxed Charmi into starting a Chennai branch, and has also invested in the venture. On asking Charmi about the reason behind the restaurant’s name, she mentioned, ‘I did not have to think much about the name. A person who sells vegetables is a sabziwala, we sell Maggi therefore we are Maggevala!
The Maggevala USP
Maggevala outlets are located strategically near colleges, therefore tapping into the student crowd which is the brand’s target audience. The menu is priced reasonably as well keeping the youth factor in mind. In fact, the Maggi fusion dishes are priced between Rs. 49- 85 with the most expensive dish on the menu being the Lasagna Maggi priced at Rs. 149. Maggevala’s location and price point are it’s strongest advantages, which was evident in the steady stream of diners walking into the outlet throughout the time we were there.
Future Plans for Maggevala?
Charmi aims at establishing her presence in the Gujarat region with a few more outlets in major cities such as Ahmedabad. When I ask her about any plans of opening Maggevala outlets in Mumbai, she giggles stating, ‘Let’s hope the Chennai story repeats itself.’ Yes Charmi, I hope so too!
I made my way through the Maggevala menu, sampling a few of the popular Maggi creations. The creations range from the experimental such as the Chindian Maggi Hakka to the masaaledaar Tandoori Maggi to the multi layered Lasagna Maggi. But my favourites were the simpler dishes such as the Chilli Garlic Maggi and the Maggi Bhurji where the noodle was the star. With each morsel, I couldn’t help but ponder about how the humble and versatile Maggi noodle was transformed here at Maggevala. And it took the creative genius and enterprising nature of one young woman to bring this change about. Maggi Kitchen Journeys is the story of Charmi Dave, and many others who revolutionized their lives with the help of food.
Watch Charmi’s story on Maggi Kitchen Journeys on the 29th of September, 6.30pm on Zee TV.