Specialty Food Magazine

Spring 2018

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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In this case, her courage paid off. After being evaluated for innovation, quality, and chef-appeal for foodservice, Brooklyn Delhi's Tomato Achaar was chosen as the winning product by judges Arn Grashoff, director of merchandising and marketing for European Imports, Adam Moskowitz, presi- dent of Columbia Cheese and Larkin Cold Storage, John Venegas, regional VP heading national pantry services for Best Vendors, the Canteen National Accounts arm within Compass Group, and Joanne Weir, a James Beard award-winning cookbook author. It All Started with Family Recipes In 2009, while Agrawal was working full-time in marketing, she began to explore her culinary heritage and started a blog called the ABCDs of Cooking. She used this as a place to document family recipes and share them with her cousins—who also didn't know how to make the dishes they were frequently served at home. Her parents were born and raised in different parts of India but moved to the U.S. for graduate school. Agrawal and her brother grew up in New Jersey but her parents kept a home in India so she spent a great deal of time visiting with her family abroad—and enjoying authentic Indian home cooking. "As I got more familiar with the recipes, I started making them my own by combining recipes and using local produce. I had a CSA farm share and never knew what kind of vegetables I would receive, so I'd apply these different Indian cooking techniques to those veg- etables. Then I'd take photos and blog about it." By 2010 and 2011, people started contacting her to teach cook- ing classes and then she started an Indian supper club at the sug- gestion of a chef friend, collaborating with New York farmers. That led to selling Indian/Mexican tacos at markets in Brooklyn. "At the time, Brooklyn was going through a kind of food renaissance, apart from what was happening in the restaurants, where home cooks were sharing innovative recipes at underground markets, supper clubs, and cook-offs. I got swept up in it. It was exciting! I became part of the community and made many lasting friendships through it. At the time, I was still working my day job in marketing but I was enjoying myself so much I didn't care how busy I was." One of the foods she was experimenting with was "achaar"' a staple pickled condiment of India, often featuring lemon or lime, oil, and a little bit of curry or other spices to add a punch of f lavor, she says. "I've been obsessed with them from an early age and decided to make my own version using different kinds of local produce." She quickly found that she was using the achaars on all kinds of foods—including sandwiches and eggs—and serving them to guests at her pop-up dinners. "I think of it as a super condiment as it's very versatile and can really bring a dish to life. It's a complex nuanced f lavor, a little bit spicy, sour, and a little bit sweet and savory. It hits all those f lavor notes. A lot of the food I grew up with hit those dif- ferent notes and that's what I want to put out there." The achaars were a big success. A Surge of Opportunities Although Agrawal was immersing herself in the food world at night, she continued with her marketing day job. But a variety of things happened to propel her to join the specialty food world full-time in 2013. Up to this point, everything she'd done was with prepared foods, but her then boyfriend—now husband—Ben Garthus, a food packaging designer, offered to design the look for the achaars if she wanted to sell them as a packaged product. They launched — 2010–2011 Collaborated with New York farmers to host Indian-inspired pop-up dinners and teach cooking classes; started selling Indian/Mexican tacos at local Brooklyn markets. — 2012 Developed recipes for achaars using traditional Indian cooking techniques and local produce and served them to guests and students. — 2013 Launched Brooklyn Delhi and got a cookbook offer from Penguin. — 2014 Officially brought products to market and began working with 50 specialty stores. — 2015 First foodservice client for Tomato Achaar, Greene Grape Provisions. The product is featured on the BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado, and tomato) sandwich. — 2018 Wins Front Burner competition. Plans to launch curry ketchup and curry mustard with Whole Foods. HIGHLIGHTS "I had a CSA farm share and never knew what kind of vegetables I would receive. I'd apply these different Indian cooking techniques to those vegetables." SPRING 2018 41

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