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Hyderabad MBA Quits Job to Run Viral Food Channel, Feeds 1200 Orphans/Month!

His channel with more than 220 videos—from the iconic Nizami biryani to a non-oven recipe of black forest cake, and thick shakes made from dragon fruit, figs, custard apple and a host of other tropical fruits—has garnered over 7,00,000 subscribers from across the world.

With a perennial smile on his face, a man dressed in a white kurta, pyjamas, and a taqiyah adorning his head, cooks in an open green field.

Mixing ingredients, he whips up mouthwatering recipes from different Indian and sometimes, even international cuisines.

Does it seem like we are describing a recent viral video you saw on Facebook or YouTube?

Yes, we are indeed talking about Khwaja Moinuddin, the man behind the YouTube channel ‘Nawab’s Kitchen Food for All Orphans,’ which has fed thousands of mouths till date.

The Nawab of hearts, Khwaja Moinuddin

His channel with more than 220 videos—from the iconic Nizami biryani to a non-oven recipe of black forest cake, and thick shakes made from dragon fruit, figs, custard apple and a host of other tropical fruits—has garnered over 7,00,000 subscribers from across the world.

While the food being cooked is no doubt delicious, it is the cause that it caters to, that has made the Hyderbadi an internet sensation.
Once cooked, all of the food is distributed to children in orphanages. No video is complete without a few shots of these happy and satisfied faces, making an appearance in the end.
The team feeds close to 1200 kids every month, and posts two to three videos every week, on an average. Multiply that by two years, and you can imagine what the impact of these food distribution drives looks like!
The Better India got in touch with the man with the golden voice and magical hands himself to know more about his journey.
39-year-old Khwaja Moinuddin was born into a middle-class family in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, but grew up in Warangal (now in Telangana). He moved to Hyderabad after his wedding to Naheeda Begum.
An MBA graduate, the young man worked for TV channels like ETV and ABN for close to 13 years.
“Life was moving at a regular pace, and I was either at work or home. While the job did manage to pay the bills, there was no satisfaction. Then, around five years ago, I had a conversation about doing something different, preferably in the social sector, with my friends Srinath Reddy and Bhagat Reddy,” he says.
At the time, he did not have the financial backing to take the risk, but two years ago, Khwaja decided to go ahead and start the YouTube channel.

When exactly did his passion for cooking begin?

Well, I ask him this question, and he gives me a heartwarming reply.
“When I was living alone, I used to be quite homesick, so I preferred cooking at home. Besides, I come from a regular middle-class background, and my family couldn’t afford to buy sumptuous meals every time. So, I would often look up recipes and whip them up in my own kitchen. My friends, but most importantly my children, appreciated the food I cooked and would tell me that there was magic in my hands. And once I started Nawab’s Kitchen, there was no looking back.”

Khwaja started reading cookbooks, watching videos and learning about the different cuisines from different corners of India.

Happy smiles

The man who once worked a nine-hour shift in the comfort of an air conditioner was now working 12-13 hours a day in the heat. From travelling to find the right location to shoot, acquiring quality ingredients, researching recipes, prepping ingredients, cooking the food in gigantic vessels, mastering the basics of spice portions and distributing them to beneficiaries, he realised that it was a lot of hard work.

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“When we started, for close to four months, Shrinath, Bhagat, and I did all the work. Today, we have a team of seven members to help us. All of us are equally passionate about food and the cause we are working for. There are the days when your hands, back, even ribs ache from standing and working long hours. But when I see the smile with which the kids in these ashrams devour the food I cook, I forget the pain. It all seems worth it,” he says.
Even though they have help, the responsibility of cutting the vegetables and preparing the workstation for cooking rests with the trio.
Khwaja initially started making videos while he was working with a news channel. When they took the internet by storm and gained popularity, he was confronted by the company and informed that the videos were affecting his efficiency at work.
While they were appreciative of the cause of feeding orphans, they asked him to make a choice and even offered him a higher package to stop retain his post.
Khwaja, Srinath and Bhagat decided to continue with Nawab’s Kitchen. In fact, all three of them put down their papers on the same day.

I ask him what the reaction of his family and friends was.
“When we made the first ten videos, I did not tell Naheeda. One day, my friend sent me a picture from the second video that was set to go out, and she saw it, and was puzzled. She asked me, ‘What kind of a get up is this?’ When I told her about the channel, she was excited for me and supported me wholeheartedly. Till date, when I go for shoots, she never calls or disturbs me. She and my children are always curious to know what I am cooking next and who are the children we are going to feed. They are my strongest support systems,” he declares.
Were there naysayers? Yes.
“Some of my friends criticised me saying, ‘Why are you doing this dirty work? Are you going to turn into a bawarchi for the rest of your life? Will you start cooking at functions too?’ It hurt me in the beginning. But the support from the fans of our channel keeps me going.”
He recalls a call from an 89-year-old gentleman in Chicago who said, “Son, you are doing a wonderful job. Never stop.” What is even more amazing is that this well-wisher travelled to Hyderabad a year ago just to meet Khwaja.
“It motivated me to keep going. Today we have parents of kids between the age group of 8-15 from across the world getting in touch with us. They say, their kids have asked them to donate the amount they would use for a birthday party to Nawab’s Kitchen so that we can feed orphans. The kind of support we have received overwhelms me at times,” he says.
Although Khwaja relies on the monetisation of the videos, and the donations of a few good samaritans to continue the work, there are when the financial and logistical difficulties seem insurmountable.
“But we will not give up. Gaadi chal raha hai,” he jokes.
Earlier, as transport was an issue, they would often travel to the same orphanages. But now, they are aiming to reach more orphanages and feed more kids.
“Feeding a hungry person, makes you feel like a superhero. I still remember the first time, when I gave away a food packet to a young homeless person on the road. When I travelled home on my bike, all my exertion had disappeared. The gratitude on the face of the man was unmatched. And I thought to myself, ‘If feeding one person can make me so happy. Imagine if I could feed thousands?'”
Regardless to say, he made it come true. One of the largest food distributions that Nawab’s kitchen hosted was feeding 1,000 people, most of whom were caregivers to cancer patients outside Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Hospital.

Every video that is put out has a story of its own.

These stories revolve around food and those it benefits. While the happy faces munching on the yummy delicacies make it to the screen, the emotional exchanges that follow before and after every distribution stay off-screen.
“My team and I visited an orphanage that we recently shot at, after eight months. When we entered, the senior citizen who runs it welcomed us with a warm smile. He touched my head and blessed me saying, ‘When you enter our orphanage, it is like the onset of a festival. From our children to our staff members, each of them savours the food you cook. You become the source of their joy. Why don’t you guys come every week?’ These interactions always manage to bring tears to my eyes,” he says overwhelmed.
Then, there are the kids who hug him and whisper the names of their favourite sweets into his ears, asking him to bring them along on his next visit. While it’s not always easy to make these wishes come true, he never discourages them.

“As long as I live, I will continue to cook and feed them,” he signs off.

Youtube Nawab kitchen free food hyderabad orphans inspiring

He may only be Khwaja for the people that know him, but for these kids that find love, affection and belonging in the food that he serves them, Khwaja will always be the ‘Nawab’ whose kitchen doors will always remain open for them so that they never go hungry.
If this story inspired you, get in touch with Khwaja at 786godfoods@gmail.com
Check out Nawab’s Kitchen Food For All Orphans on YouTube here.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

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Written by Jovita Aranha

A lover of people, cats, food, music, books & films. In that order. Binge-watcher of The Office & several other shows. A storyteller on her journey to document extraordinary stories of ordinary people.