Mumbai Food: Mazagaon-based home chef's delivery service is full of healthy eats
A Mazagaon-based home chef wants office-goers to eat healthy with her delivery service
Shenaz Havelivala whips up a fresh Mediterranean salad in her kitchen. Pics/Bipin Kokate
You could say that 31-year-old Shenaz Haveliwala was born with a green thumb. Her first-floor home has a beautiful window garden decked with pots of basil, thyme, amaranth and lettuce cooling the air that sweeps in. Last year, she took up a gardening crash course with an experience company that sent home a certified professional.
"The gardener introduced me to the concept of microgreens, and I started reading up about them online, their care and use," says Haveliwala, who had to quit engineering college mid-way due to medical reasons. She took up volunteering at Indian epilepsy Association, and later at ADAPT as a special educator, taking up the mission to educate people on the neurological disorder condition.
In January last year, she whipped up her first microgreens salad from her indoor garden, and it turned out scrumptious. She started sending it to friends and family who would often ask her where she had ordered it from. "This meant they were willing to pay for it," she beams, recalling that it sowed the seed of starting a salad delivery service.
Today, she is listed on Swiggy, Scootsy and Ubereats and many office-going clients in Lower Parel are her regular clients; ordering her healthy beverages and salads, dressed in honey mustard or yogurt-based or garlic basil dressing, for lunch. When we visit her at 2 pm in the afternoon, she has attended to four to five deliveries for lunch time.
"My first salad was microgreens with avocados and another one with fruits. My neighbour ordered it. I relied heavily on YouTube in the beginning, trying combinations and recipes," recalls Haveliwala, who also began experimenting with healthy beverages like the soothing pomegranate and mint juice ('225) she served us. In September last year she applied for an FSSAI licence.
Now, Le Garden - The Salad Company has soups, beverages, microgreen salads and desserts like chocolate date pie sweetened, and if you are looking for a cheat day, her mum's sev korma with dry fruits is on the menu too. "For her aloe vera and kiwi drink, she uses the aloe from her balcony and ensures every ingredient is fresh and healthy to consume," she adds.
She whips up a fresh Mediterranean salad ('249) for us. Chickpeas are dressed in a basil yogurt dressing and the lettuce, carrot strips, cherry tomatoes and zucchini crunch in our bites. While most of the time the entire menu is available, the bazaar is not far. Haveliwala has hired two people to help keep pace as the delivery channels give her barely 30 minutes to prep and deliver.
We move our attention to the date and fig smoothie ('185) which is a thick mush of comfort milkshake. We'd totally lap this up on a detox day. The broccoli soup ('175) has a dash of coconut milk that gives it a Thai touch. "All the food is lightly spiced but packs in the natural flavour of its ingredients. But one needs a lot of soft skills, apart from being a great cook. I have repeat customers where many inform me of their conditions, like diabetes, or diet preferences. I am able to adjust it for customers who don't eat onions or someone who prefers more fruit. It is extremely important to maintain relationships and service," she says.
With an extensive menu of 20 salads and 10 beverages on the menu, her next step will be to make your own salad, which Haveliwala recently learnt is a big hit in the US. Her mother, Nafisa, smiles and tells us, "She never entered the kitchen before this." To which Haveliwala confesses, "I didn't even know how to use a mixer grinder!" On a serious note, the entrepreneur-mind leaves us with advice from her aunt: "Your business teaches you business." Touche.
Log on to: Le Garden-The Salad Company on Swiggy, Ubereats or Scootsy.