A new business is aiming to turn up the heat in the spice market and meet the rising demand from top chefs and from ambitious amateurs who are tackling Covid-19 by cooking at home.
The team behind Tapasya Spices says diners have followed Eat Out to Help Out with stay home to stay safe. To help them hit the highest standards of quality and authenticity, the new company is drawing on its contacts throughout India to import around 50 varieties of spices plus Basmati rice, lentils and other pulses.
Mukesh Tirkoti, CEO of Tapasya Spices, said: “Indian spices are in demand at fine-dining restaurants for various cuisines, not just Indian. They are also important to other sectors, such as the expanding craft gin market, but it is not easy to source the best quality and that is what we will bring.
“There is also rising demand from people who have been cooking at home a lot more since lockdown started. They haven’t been able to go to their favourite restaurants so they have become more ambitious in their own kitchens but have been held back by a lack of variety and quality on the store shelves. We will help them to create the authentic combinations and tastes by supplying the spices and by showing them how to use them.”
Mr Tirkoti has a long history of running Indian fine-dining restaurants including launching the award-winning Tapasya in Hull in 2013. In 2016 he opened Tapasya@Marina, which last year became one of only two Indian restaurants in Yorkshire to be awarded a Michelin Plate.
Tapasya Spices is a separate venture and draws on Mr Tirkoti’s experience of sourcing ingredients and catering for the tastes of British diners. He is joined in the new business by lifelong friends and fellow directors Meghdut (Bobby) Biswas and Soumen Hajra, both based in Chelmsford.
The team of “spice boys” is completed by renowned chef KK Anand, whose career started at the five-star hotel Sofitel in Delhi before he progressed to similarly luxurious establishments in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the United States and London.