Shraddha Bhansali always wanted to own a restaurant of hers ever since she was 16. “My family was into business but nobody was into the service industry with prior experience,’ shared Bhansali who was always fascinated by the restaurant fraternity. It was then; she went to Boston University and studied hospitality and business management from there. “After I graduated, I came back to Mumbai and worked with few 5 Star hotels including The Taj Hotel, St. Regis when it was The Palladium Hotel,” remembers the 25 year old happening restaurateur who is all set to promote the clean and green eating from her first maiden venture – Candy & Green at Breach Candy in Mumbai. Read what she has to say on her journey in the world of food:
Why Candy & Green?
I was always a vegetarian myself and growing up when I used to visit a restaurant there were restaurants like Shiv Sagar and Kailash Parbat in the option that has lots of spices and butter and ghee options in the menu. There were no good restaurants in the line of casual dining or fine dining segment. Being a Gujarati we do not eat lots of masala and cheese etc and that’s where I couldn’t connect with these restaurants when eat out. Also, when I was studying at Boston there was this whole new trend of veganism. I am not a vegan myself. But one thing I always loved about these restaurants was they were very ingredient centric. The technique it was cooked in was very impressive. Also, chef used to have lots of care about their ingredient and food. That’s why I opened Candy & Green that completely focuses on ingredient-centric food.
Giving Birth to the Farm to Fork Concept
We have a farm on our rooftop of around 750 sqft wherein we grew our own produce. It came as a need to control the quality of what we serve on the restaurant menu. We grew lots of greens by ourselves. The farm is on the top and hence we get the fresh, organic produce with zero carbon that also help us to be sustainable. We cut the ingredients according to the need and don’t over cut and waste them.
Why Sustainability is a big factor to Talk?
In our country we have so many people and such limited resources. If we keep abusing them there would come a time when the next generation would not have access to these resources. That’s where the need to sustainability pertains. I am not thinking of Candy & Green now but it as a restaurant from ten years down the line. And, if we do not do it in sustainable manner I don’t think it would be possible. Not just restaurant but people in general. If we do not give back to the environment now it will be little late. Entrepreneurs are focusing on sustainability as top priority.
The Debate is Still on About ‘Healthy’ Food
Healthy is more debated food in the world. For every person definition of healthy is different. Healthy is very subjective to one person to another and what is healthy clearly depends on a diet. What we believe at Candy & Green is that we don’t stick to anything rather we focus on the concept of clean eating that means that all our ingredients are sourced consciously. I personally believe in concept of clean eating and India as a country has so much variety in terms of produce and when you have got so much of these how can it be boring, you just need right person to cook it.
Spreading the Colour of ‘Joy’
Nutritionist also says that you should eat rainbow that means you should bring a lot of colour on the menu that has all the important nutrients including; vitamins, calciums, iron etc. And, that was something we had done at Candy & Green. My goal wasn’t to bring lots of colour on the plate instead huge item and produce available in my menu. We use lots of vegetables and fruits. Our menu is seasonal and we change it every season based on what is available in the market and what we grow ourselves. Seasonality is one of the main determinants of our menu planning. We also like to put a good ratio of things that are experimental which people have might not tried before and things that are more well known to people but we cook it in a way where we highlight clean and natural eating. We believe in each dish having one main ingredient.
Catering to a Wide range of Customers
A lot of our regulars are people who live in the Breach candy area. People who come from far off are people who are very conscious about what are they eating and what goes into their body. They are those customers who want to maintain good, quality and clean lifestyle.
Pairing Food Right with Wine
We have our own brand of wine and are very focused on the quality of it. We get get our wine from Winery in Nasik. They are blended exclusively for us. I don’t serve those Indian wines that come with a price tag. Instead, I serve my in-house wines that are very premium in quality and quality is very important for us. Since, we have got the luxury of blending our wine we are not only pairing food to the wine but wine to the food.
My goal is to make clean eating accessible to everyone. And, hence I am planning to launch a new brand that will be called XYZ by Candy & Green and will be a chain of more affordable healthy eating joint with candy & green branding on it.