Zesty Kitchen is an Indian food kitchen started by two friends and moms Shruti and Jasmine. Their idea was to start a business where people, including their kids, could get fresh, clean food and snacks that they had while growing up. They want people in the US to have a new experience of Indian food with a western twist. Read on to learn more about Zesty Kitchen + the founders behind its creation.
About the Owners
Shruti and Jasmine have created a food called Mewa-Sesame Chikki. MEWA is a treat in India and represents nuts and seeds in Hindi and was given to family and friends. Shruti and Jasmine chose to create Mewa-Sesame Chikki, which is a sweet mix of nuts, seeds, Ginger, and Cayenne, as a way to represent their culture. Their kids call them “Chikki Maker.”
Shruti is a nutritionist and plant-based chef. Jasmine has a Master’s degree in Food Science and has worked in the food industry for eight years.
HG: How long have you lived in Hoboken and what is your favorite part about it living here?
JK: We have been living in Hoboken for the last five years. The best part of Hoboken is the diversity and the feeling that the city always belongs to you. The strong community feel, and its easy access to local businesses, stores, and cafes is so special.
HG: What sets your business apart?
JK: We started Zesty Kitchen to bring real change in how the world perceives food. With a growing focus on eating right, we are truly striving to break the snack barrier with our exciting flavors and functional ingredients. We think spices like Ginger and Cayenne deserve a place in mainstream snacking and shouldn’t just be used for detoxes or cleanses. This is why we incorporate them into our beloved Sesame Chikki. Our culture has a unique view on eating in that we believe that every ingredient serves a purpose. Ingredients add depth, flavor, and also bring a wealth of health benefits. It is this careful crafting of recipes that leads to delicious and nutritious snacks and meals. We have many more snacks in the pipelines which are traditional to India and we hope to shake up snack time with our carefully crafted recipes.
HG: Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration?
JK: Fellow moms are our biggest inspiration. 2020 has been challenging for everyone, but especially for moms with the added responsibilities of juggling home, kids, and full-time work. How they strive to bring big changes in society by raising wonderful human beings never ceases to amaze.
HG: What are your goals for this year?
JK: To grow Zesty Kitchen so it can be more sustainable and also be able to give back to society. We also hope to introduce more products under MEWA, in line with our existing product.
HG: What’s a typical day look like for you?
JK: In a short period, our company has grown from small to slightly bigger ( thanks to our loyal following). Our typical day starts with having a cup of chai with each other and planning our day. Since we also sell through our platform, we make it our priority to fulfill all orders by ourselves and include a small personal note of appreciation to our customers. We connect with our team (all women) once a day through email or a call and make sure we are involved in everyday activity, be it social media or delivering the product. As a new business, we do believe in getting our hands dirty and experiencing everything firsthand.
We are still learning the curve and our day often includes an hour spent calling different stores and small cafes to introduce Zesty Kitchen. We truly believe in our product and no one else can do a better job than us in making store managers excited to try it. We do spend 1 hour between the two of us on social media to connect with like-minded people and reach out to more plant-based snack lovers. Last but not the least, we make sure we spend our evenings with our kids in the park. Our evenings are packed with family time which helps us both to start our next day with a fresh mind.
HG: What has been the highlight in your career/life so far?
JK: Shruti and I both- Starting a new company with very young children. Learning all the roles on our own from social marketing and selling to manufacturing. Expanding our presence and getting into big stores like Hale and Hearty and Westside, along with small mom and pop stores in the short span of just two months.