Slurrp Exclusive: Jhanvi Celly Saxena On Her New Food Delivery Venture, Food Memories And More
- Ayandrali Dutta
Updated : March 07, 2022 08:03 IST
For Jhanvi her memories of walking the lanes of Old Dilli holding her grandfather's hand stands very dear. All the food available at Jama masjid to the Chandini Chowk Chats have been her inspiration for her brand.
Jhanvi realized early that her passions lies in the culinary world even though she is not a professional Chef but is gifted with business acumen. So, unlike many other sixteen-year-olds, Jhanvi began working alongside her father to learn the tricks of the trade, while simultaneously carrying on with her education. And thus, her brand Indian Alchemy came into existence, which is all about celebrating cherished family recipes across generations. Each dish is evokes a nostalgia of flavours. Her culinary team sources their seasonal ingredients directly from the farmers and uses only locally grown produce. This helps keep the menu fresh while also promoting ethical procurement. The packaging at Indian Alchemy is also eco-friendly as they use earthen pots for all takeaway and delivery orders. These pots are handcrafted in Uttar Pradesh by a community of potters from the Khurja region, once again generating vital local employment for the women in that region.
With signatures like Mutton Kofta, Mutton Kakori with Mughlai Paratha, Lucknowi Nihari, Tandori Brie flatbread and more there Kayastha style cooking is their USP.
Tell us something about your growing up years? How much influence did food had on you?
So I didn't have a typical childhood since a young age I wanted to join my Nanu, and my dad for their meetings, and whatever work that they were going to. It fascinated me. food? I'll tell you about the food. It was a very important aspect in my house. As Kayasthas We tend to take our food with the utmost seriousness. There was something special being cooked every evening. Be it my grandfather cooking on my grandmother we had something special every night on our table. Indian Alchemy is a homage to my grandfather, of course, and during covid, when the times were so difficult, I wanted to prove myself I want to do something that wasn't there in the market. And I felt that there was a need to preserve old age recipes while providing something for the modern palette as well. Thus we came up with Indian Alchemy, which basically meant bringing down the traditional recipes of my grandfather, and the modern twist that me and my Army of chefs gave it.
When conceptualizing this new project what were the few things that you took care of?
While I took on this project I wanted to first get my facts right. I wanted to ethically Source all my ingredients and my packaging. I did not want to do what every Tom Dick and Harry in the city was doing. This was supposed to be something very different. I wanted to bridge that gap between delivery kitchens and experiential dining. Thus, Indian Alchemy came up with experiential delivery food.
Tell us about your memory of your grandfathers’ kitchen and why it was so special?
My grandfather's memories are very dear to me. I still remember walking holding his hand by my little Pinky and walking the by Lanes of old Delhi from trying, all the food available at Jama masjid to the Chandini Chowk Chats, my inspiration has come up from there because every weekend or every other weekend, I would be there in Old Delhi, which is where my grandfather also grew up trying and tasting the food, taking all the traditions in. I think Indian Alchemy is the perfect equilibrium because we have old age recipes, we have regional dishes, we are preserving kayastha food, and we have dishes that are well suited for the modern palette as well, who don't want to just eat a kebab when they're ordering from an Indian Kitchen. Who, what To taste something new, they still want to taste something from their hometowns and they still want something that is like when you eat food, you want your flavors to be known right? You want comfort food and that's where we came up with a lot of our modern dishes where we did not want to experiment a lot. And we wanted to keep the dishes contemporary so that the flavors are comfortable and you can know that okay these are known flavors, so you are not daunted by the food that you eat.
What does it take to sustain the competition?
I think constant, R&D and consistency is the key. When we talk about competition, I also say that I don't see what the other person is doing as much as I am concerned about what my consumer wants, and the kind of experience that they asked out of Indian Alchemy, I want to make sure that each time a customer comes to me, they have an experience better than last My favorite dish on the menu is the Kolhapuri Mutton sliders because it's the perfect dish. Like I mentioned we have a regional dish which is Kolhapuri Mutton and we converted that into a bite-sized Tapas appetizer, which is so easy to eat and it tastes so good. It's very perfectly balanced. Plus it showcases what Indian Alchemy is. Showcases that it's the old recipe that has been converted for the modern palette. 3 kitchen spices that I can't do without are Saffron, kabab chini, and Sri Lankan Cinnamon. I love to bake, So the cinnamon comes in hand then and whenever I cook my Nannu’s old dishes or do R&D for new dishes with my chefs, it's saffron and Kebab chini.
What has been your best food memory?
Like I mentioned going out with my grandfather, every weekend to Old Delhi or Chandni Chowk to taste the food and understand the stories behind it, has to be one of my best food memories.