We had the good fortune of connecting with Bina Mehta and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bina, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
The creation of my business is a story of one thing leading to another to another to another. Here it is. I’ve always been a passionate home chef who has enjoyed preparing authentic Indian cuisine as well as many other cuisines from all over the world. I love to nourish and nurture people with my food and share the ancient knowledge of Ayurveda, which I grew up with. I started teaching cooking classes because of a demand from my friends, family, and acquaintances who wanted to learn how to make the Indian recipes I was serving to my own family. During the time I was teaching Indian cooking classes, my students kept asking me to create Indian spice blends that would make it easier for them to prepare my dishes so that they wouldn’t have to buy so many spices, some of which they were not able to find in their local grocery stores. That is when I decided to launch my Indian spice blend business. But my blends are not just spices thrown together; I put all of my Ayurvedic knowledge and experience into the creation of my spice blends to support a healthy lifestyle and diet. Ayurveda means understanding your body type and eating the right foods at the right times to bring your body into balance. The creation of my spice blends then led me to write my first Indian cookbook, Turmeric and Spice: Indian Cuisine for the Mind, Body, and Spirit. Indian food has become quite trendy in the U.S. in the last decade, and I am so passionate about sharing my skills and techniques for preparing this food that is such an integral part of my entire life. I think Indian food’s popularity is due to the many flavors that are created through different spice blends, and it is also very versatile and adaptable to any dietary needs.
What should our readers know about your business?
The spice blends I have developed are unique and there are no others like them in today’s market. I bring ancient wisdom to the modern table in my spice blends, and my Indian cookbook is presented in many layers and is not just an ordinary Indian cookbook. My book gives you the cultural experiences of India as well as Ayurvedic philosophy and cooking techniques. I got to where I am with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. There was a huge learning curve with every step, and I had to learn how to do it step by step. It was not easy at all, but today I feel very empowered because I overcame the challenges one by one with the help of others. The lessons I’ve learned along the way are that to accomplish your business goals, you need a team of professionals who will advise you whenever you need help. Also, you need to be open to listen to the advice of others because such projects are not a one-woman show. I want the world to know that everything I do comes from a place of love. I chose food as my business because it can nourish and nurture, and it’s something I can share with the world through my knowledge and experience of Indian culture and wisdom.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take my best friend on a tour of my own kitchen because it is well stocked, absolutely beautiful, very efficient, and a chef’s dream. Then I would serve my friend wine and proceed to cook a seven-course tour of India with all of the wonderful flavors, textures, and aromas I know. We would hang out in my back yard and enjoy the many flowers, plants, and fountains that adorn my borders. I would make breakfast and lunch and dinner for my friend every day. We don’t have to go far. This is what I do. I love to feed people and watch them feel happy.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would dedicate my shoutout to all of the people who supported me, including my family, Rajiv, Kabir, Mona, and Siya, who believed in me and encouraged me to pursue my dream; Samantha and Laura, my editor and graphic designer; and all of my teachers who encouraged me and helped me make my business a success. You don’t know if you’re going to be successful, but it’s necessary to take that journey through the adversity and successes and be determined and confident enough that under whatever circumstances, you are going to complete your goals. This is my message: If you have a dream, pursue it. You cannot guarantee the outcome, but unless you pursue it, you will never know.