Globetrotting and innovative wife and husband team, Sayantani and Ahijit Chatterjee, bring together a mélange of exquisite flavors inspired by their travels and family history together with expertise from their distinct industry fields to create the vegan / vegetarian food label, My Apricot Kitchen.
My Apricot Kitchen, a fusion of international cuisines, began as a lunch delivery and catering company approximately five years ago. Sayantani, initially interested in the lunch market, curated recipes for delivery to her customers. To each meal were added delicious signature sauces developed by Sayantani herself, which were quickly in high demand as brand awareness and popularity of their food grew. Left and right, clients requested the sauces as they too were looking to incorporate these into their home-made meals and participate in the cooking experience themselves. Adapting to booming demand, My Apricot Kitchen recognized the scarcity of international sauces in Ireland, with solely two Harissa products in the market.
Harissa, a sauce that adds depth and complexity to a dish, is the cornerstone of North African and Persian cooking and, in its simplest form, consists of chilies that are rehydrated with blends of olive oil and spices. Chefs like Sayantani incorporate additional ingredients and modify measurements to create their own signature sauce to this base recipe. The Libyan cooking style influences the harissa, that My Apricot Kitchen produces.
From then on, the team has developed a collection of four main popular sauces: Red Harissa Paste, Green Harissa Paste, Szechuan Sauce; inspired by an Indo-Chinese sauce also not available on the island, and a Pickled Mango Mustard sauce; that is an adaptation of the famous Aam Kasundi, an eastern Indian mango spices sauce. All these products are versatile and can be used for marinades, grilling, dips, sandwich fillings, salad dressings, and more.
To no surprise, My Apricot Kitchen's trademark sauces and pastes were a tremendous success, so much so that the Red Harissa received a gold award at the Blas Nah Eireann Irish Food Awards when introduced to the market in 2017 and the Szechuan Sauce was adjudged Winner of The Irish Quality Food Awards in 2019! All of these outstanding products are vegan and vegetarian, with some items listed as gluten-free, as the team seeks to maintain the highest food and ingredient quality standards. The sauces and their fresh ingredients are all sourced from local farms, artisan shops, and markets and are also simple, all-natural with no preservatives, colors, palm oil, nor artificial flavors.
Ordinarily, Harissa varies from mild to hot depending on the peppers and spices used in the recipes. It is often smokey if it contains roasted chilies, sharp and tangy from citrus juice or vinegar, “saucy, thick or pasty” as described by Bon Appétit. Having lived in Ireland for many years, Sayantani and Ahijit have familiarized themselves with the Irish palate and have adapted their marvelous sauces and pastes to please everyone’s taste. Spices that are introduced to the recipes are dried and hand ground by the couple themselves to retain the authenticity of the original spice. As mentioned by the entrepreneurs, their goal is, “to create food with high nutritional value that is not too rich so people can take it regularly without impacting their bodies.”
Before starting My Apricot Kitchen, the husband-and-wife team was fully immersed in their own industries and areas of expertise. Sayantani, an economics graduate, also holds a diploma in fashion design. She worked for many years in fashion and mentioned that “although this was her passion, she was always interested in the food industry and world cuisines after living in the U.S., Singapore, and India.” Initially, she began as a cake designer and obtained her Wilton Cake Decoration Diploma and a PME Knightsbridge Masters in cake decoration. An itch to explore the lunch market still lingered as Sayantani and Ahijit were significantly influenced and inspired by the Singaporean food scene of roadside vendors; how the cooks quickly managed to control food quality, portions and taste. Fully intending to further explore this market, the couple then launched My Apricot Kitchen, where Sayantani served variations of korma, tikka masala, and many other sweet, savory, and mildly spicy dishes.
Ahijit, currently a consultant in the Information Technology Industry, began his career working on the operations side of the food industry in Chicago with Boston Market and then transitioning to Robert Foods, owners of supermarket giants on the West Coast of the United States. Here he got his first feelers of the food industry and all its nuances. Today, Ahijit works in Artificial Intelligence and data. He explores the convergence between food and AI and technological developments with vegan and vegetarian meat alternatives.
With their combined experiences, the founders developed their product line to what it is today. The brand name, My Apricot Kitchen, true to their global inspiration and healthy cuisine influences, loosely translates to - My Precious Kitchen, in Arabic. To Sayantani and Ahijit, their “kitchen” is a place they hold dear to their hearts and where they allow their innovation and creativity to flourish. The essence of their label also breathes healthy, green, homely, and holistic.
Currently, My Apricot Kitchen products can be found in Irish supermarket giants Supervalu and Lidl, in 70 and all 100+ stores in Ireland and Northern Ireland, respectively, as well as various boutique stores. In the future, the team looks forward to further developing their original lunch catering idea into vegan chilled and frozen meal options inspired by unexplored Indian cuisine.
My Apricot Kitchen Online