Jasper Reid And His Great Indian Pizza Adventure
Image Credit: Jasper Reid

Jasper Reid recently has been in Bharat darshan in order to find the best Indian version of an Italian classic dish- pizza.  Founder and CEO of Dolomite Restaurants Pvt. Ltd, Jasper’s the man known for bringing in Jamie’s Pizzeria and Jamie’s Italian chains to India was on the recent hunt to create Pizzas that win the desi hearts, sees him meeting food historians like Salma Yusuf Husain, Prima Kurien, Tanushree Bhowmik, the late Dr. Ashish Chopra and many more along with meeting many home cooks, restaurant owners, and many others who lend him a helping hand. It’s a total jamboree.

In a quick chit-chat with HTSlurrp he shares his experience in India and more

From being a cookbook author to a restaurateur what is that thing about food that really excites you?

It’s potential to kindle conversations and forge friendships. We’ve been all over India to both learn about local cuisine and to showcase the best of our Italian and Western cooking.  We’ve made so many friends. 

What is the biggest hurdle in bringing a global chain to India?

Taking a global brand to any new country takes time. If you have time (which also means capital) and you’re patient and commit to learning the culture then you have a chance. We’ve taken ten years and this is really only the beginning. 

As you are also operating other FnB brands too, in that case how do you maintain the authenticity of each of the brand at one time?

Like children you must love all equally but treat all individually. For us this means separate teams and a totally focused approach. There are certainly benefits in a platform approach (for things like real estate and supply chain) but each brand needs its own love. 

As your brands are all Italian, How do you do sourcing of the raw materials?

This is where we are so so lucky to operate in India - one of the world’s greatest and most varied market for ingredients and produce. Our whole ethos is based around local and we get the best mozzarella and flour in India; we get amazing veggies and meats; we get innovative beverages. All of this from India. Actually, we import very little - things like Italian tomatoes which cannot yet be replicated in India. One day we want to source our entire ingredient set from India and this really matters from both a freshness and a sustainability perspective.

What is takes to sustain the competition?

In the restaurant game you must wake up every single day determined to love and serve your customers and your team. Then it’s all about focus and consistency. For us, a lot of this comes down to building a meritocratic culture where people can grow and thrive. This is totally a people game and that’s how you compete.

What has been your biggest pandemic learning?

That after all the hoo-ha and idea that people won’t want to go out, the opposite is true. People are innately social and want to go out and enjoy their hard earned income and to spend time with friends and family. The restaurant game is not an easy one but we are blessed that the human instinct to gather and share will never change.

Talking of Delhi Food what excites you most about the city?

There are very few cities globally where the cuisines of the entire country can be found in one city. Delhi is this one city. We’ve eaten food from every state and met so many people who’ve gathered in the capital but maintain their links to their home places through food. This is an awesome culinary city.

What was the idea behind "The Great Indian Pizza Adventure"

We wanted to take our brand and our knowledge and our curiosity out to the people (and not wait for them to come to us). The idea is to learn about Indian and make friends and use our pizza knowledge as a passport. Brands aren’t brands in a new country unless they find ways to really know people and places. This is the idea and it’s been a total blast. In fact we feel the best brands are those open to local experiences and not set in their ways. Brands are about the people who buy them not the people who own them. 

Which was your fav Indian flavour-infused pizza?

Too many! Genuinely I love them all. Maybe if you forced me I’d have a very soft spot for our Bengali creations.

What’s your idea of comfort food at home?

Macaroni cheese or pizza with my girls Megan, Cecilia and Elsa. Everything I do I do for them.