Priyasha Saluja Talks About Millet Treats And Shark Tank Journey
Image Credit: Instagram: @priyashanotpriyashah

While looking at the dessert shelf with a watery mouth, you must have promised yourself to cut down on sugar, processed food, gluten, and whatnot. But when there’s a slice of chocolate fudge cake that’s making eye contact with you and melting your heart at the same time, it gets difficult to say no, right?

But who said desserts can never be healthy? With healthier ingredients, less quantity, and natural sweeteners, you can enjoy something sweet to please your tooth. When it comes to health-friendly desserts, the name “The Cinnamon Kitchen,” which is even outshined on the latest season of Shark Tank India, comes to the top. To learn it from the founder herself, Slurrp conducted an exclusive interview with Priyasha Saluja about her journey, the ingredients, and the millet-forward baked treats.

Priyasha Saluja’s Journey

Priyasha Saluja, the founder of The Cinnamon Kitchen, is a plant-based chef who is grateful to be recognised as a professional baker, as she never planned on becoming one. She says, “I never planned to open up The Cinnamon Kitchen. From advertising to finance, I have had a mix of careers. To advance my marketing career, I even relocated to Mumbai. But cooking and baking were always close to my heart. I loved food so much that my colleagues used to call me “Zomato of the organisation” as I knew what to order, the best place to order from, and even more so from the people who were staying in Mumbai.”

“So, after three years of experience in the advertising industry, I decided to move back to Delhi and start my home kitchen. Being diagnosed with PCOS as a teenager, I knew that whatever I was going to make had to be healthy because even the best of supermarkets only had food that claimed to be healthy but was still filled with sugar, artificial flavours, preservatives, and whatnot. At that time, I had no professional training, but I experimented on my own to make food healthy and delicious. So, I started to document my journey of healthy eating through an Instagram page. The recipes and stories got the page a lot of attention and following from like-minded people. I then realised that there are people like me who want to eat healthy but lack the time, resources, and inclination to prepare something for themselves. These insights gave me a headstart to make “The Cinnamon Kitchen” vegan, gluten-free, healthy, and delicious.”

Millet-Based Cooking

As India is getting back to its roots and realising the health benefits of millet, it’s paving the way for healthier and more nutritious alternatives, which are also great in taste. Priyasha Saluja shares her experiences with plant-based cooking, “ When I started, millet or plant-based cooking was still a Western concept. There was nobody teaching how to bake using quinoa flour, rice flour, gluten-free ingredients, which are good for the environment and naturally healthy and vegan.”

The Slurrp team also asked Priyasha about the secret to her recipes, as the traditional baking recipes mostly use all-purpose flour. The chef explained, “My motto is to give people something healthy and delicious, and everything boils down to understanding the ingredients, getting to know the texture of millets, and curating recipes from scratch. I think the best example of this is Italian cuisine, where even though you have basic and limited ingredients, the end product is very good. Even we use just 4-5 products at the most, but we ensure that they have the best quality.”

The Shark Tank Effect

“When I got connected to a community of people through my Instagram page, I realised that my recipes were liked by people who have conditions like PCOS, lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, diabetes, etc. So, I found a wider audience who enjoyed the treats that are good for their health and taste as well. Taking a similar approach forward, Shark Tank happened, and the journey has been phenomenal,” narrates Priyasha.

She further says, “I started with a home kitchen, and within six months, I was flooded with orders that I had to move to a studio apartment. It only grew more rapidly after Shark Tank, when we moved to a commercial facility, which will soon be relocated to a 12,000-square-foot facility. The major shift that I noticed post Shark Tank is that the word spread to a wider audience, and all the steps from people trying out the products to them liking what they ordered grew at a more exploded rate. From here, I only hope to make and serve more appetising and healthier products.”