Slurrp Exclusive: Chef Kirti Jham On Her Journey With The Lebanese Kitchen
- Tavishi Dogra
Updated : January 20, 2022 05:01 IST
With K’z Mezze, Kirti Jham believes in bringing the authentic flavours of the Middle East that will transport you to Kuwait within the comfort of your homes.
Kirti Jham, born and brought up in Kuwait, was always fascinated by the local food. So she decided to bring her love of the flavours of the Middle East to India, and hence K’z Mezze, a Lebanese Home Kitchen, was started. Her home kitchen was all about offering an assortment of authentic Mediterranean dishes that are a staple part of the dining experience in the Middle East. After spending a substantial time understanding the Indian market and her offerings of the Mediterranean, Kirti took the leap of faith to bring with her childhood tastes through this new venture. With K’z Mezze, Kirti truly believes in bringing the authentic flavours of the Middle East while offering a wholesome and aromatic flavour that will transport you to the hummus land.
K’z Mezze Mediterranean Cuisine
Kirti Jham's cloud kitchen serves yummy Mediterranean-influenced salads, creamy hummus, delicious falafel and soft pita bread. They’re creative with their hummus flavours and have variants with avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, and jalapenos. All the dips are dressed with a drizzle of olive oil and come neatly packed in tubs. The Beiruti hummus with the flavourful falafel salad and the basil pesto hummus is highly recommended. Finally, leave room for the dark-chocolate tahini tart—a deliciously decadent treat.
Which childhood memory of yours made you pursue cooking?
I didn't start cooking until I got married, but my best childhood memory of cooking is of my mom. We were based out of Kuwait, and she would create delicious Indian recipes such as gajar halwa, milk cake, chicken stews, homemade bread etc. She was the one who never let us feel short of the home, i.e. India. We traditionally did it when I got married, and I didn't entirely question it. But over the years, I enjoyed creating new things, and ultimately it made me launch my home kitchen brand.
Tell us about the journey to K’z Mezze, the roadblocks and the success
Born and brought up in the Middle East, Kuwait, Lebanese food has always been close to my heart. Its flavours, cooking styles, aromas etc., are happy moments I associate with my childhood. For years, I would make a few Lebanese dishes for intimate gatherings, friends and family, and they would always compliment the food I served. When lockdown hit, my creativity jumped up a notch, and I decided to make this cuisine reach not just my immediate circle genuinely, but the whole of Bombay. I wanted to retain the authenticity of this cuisine, which I was indeed brought up eating. I wanted to do away with the Indianised version of Lebanese food in the market and bridge the gap simultaneously. Bringing my childhood nostalgia or authentic savoured moments on your palette.
The roadblocks are that people are still used to eating the Indianised version of this cuisine and are often pleasantly surprised whenever they try our items, asking interesting questions. However, the most significant success is that people are open and have well-received most of our products and have sent in genuine testimonials stating it honestly reminds them of the Middle Eastern food they've tasted during their travels, and that's one of the biggest compliments we can get.
What is your favourite recipe or comfort food?
I'm a natural sweet tooth! So from chocolates to Indian sweets, I can hardly resist. I love baking baklavas, that's my favourite thing to do! Many people say it's a tedious process, but I find calm in its multiple steps. It's rewarding to see the final product made with layers of nuts and butter.
How did the pandemic affect you personally?
K'z Mezze was a pandemic startup, so it affected me positively. Here we were at a time where people were turning to food for comfort, and it felt great to provide healthy, vegetarian and wholesome options to their intimate gathering and weekend night in. I felt creatively inspired and motivated. After a long time, I was goal setting and planning systems on how to grow this business after it received a great response.
Did you try any food trends in the pandemic and see any of them becoming prominent shortly?
These trends taught us how simple and delicious it is to make your food. This core idea is what K'z Mezze hopes to translate with its hot and cold mezze rich in minimal flavours, delicious and hearty. Making you feel good and happy.
What are your future plans?
To make K'z Mezze available at more niche pop-ups where people can try our food first hand and purchase it. Alongside, to create intimate mezze decor options for our consumers, they can host with our mezze platters but with Middle Eastern decor and accents.