In 2000 the ISKCON Temple cooked and delivered meals to 1,500 students in five government schools in the surrounding community. Soon after, headmasters of these schools reported that the program resulted in increased attendance and marked improvement in student health and academic performance.
As news of the program spread, the temple received hundreds of requests from other schools wondering how they might participate in the program. Temple leaders were extremely pleased with the program’s success, but also realized that demand vastly out-paced their capacity to supply hand-cooked meals to everyone in need.
The challenge of making the temple’s midday meal program more efficient was taken up by Madhu Pandit Dasa, a graduate of IIT-Bombay’s Civil Engineering program. Madhu Pandit Dasa designed the first centralized and fully mechanized kitchen that was able to produce more than 100,000 high-quality meals in 5 hours, without sacrificing the wholesome quality of the food.