AMAI is crafting delicious Raw and Vegan dessert | Indie Eats
The Leela’s AMAI product range is a macrobiotic inspired wholesome and nutritious product line imagined by Aishwarya Nair Mathew. On the launch of the Raw Vegan Dessert Menu, Mumbai Foodie got the opportunity to ask her about her culinary journey thus far. Here is what she had to say.
What does AMAI stand for? What made you start it?
AMAI means sweet in Japanese, the brand of products is inspired by a Japanese aesthetic. Also, in a lighter context, I do not use any refined sugar on the menu so the Japanese interpretation of sweet was the perfect name.
The Japanese influence comes from my yearly trip to Japan and its food markets. The inspiration for my recently launched Raw and Vegan menu came when I decided to align my lifestyle more toward wellness. Taking care of oneself should be our foremost objective, and this indefinitely starts with food. I have recently chosen to pursue a more plant based diet and therefore the need to craft a vegan dessert menu came about. The raw aspect also was inspired by food allergies and an interest in nutrition. I have come to realize that food in its nascent form has a pure and fresh appeal which is perfect for dessert.
As a food entrepreneur are you self-taught or do you have a background in hospitality?
I have a bachelors degree in culinary arts, I have trained as a chef in New York and thereafter trained to become a sommelier as well.
Did you have any links to the hospitality industry before you started AMAI?
My family background is steeped in hospitality with The Leela hotels.
Take us through the best and worst things about running an upcoming food business.
One of the best aspects is that allows you to be creative. Also, food is a universal language to be a part of that story is fascinating to me. When it comes to the negative aspects, there is a prevalent inconsistency of products in the market. There are also varying price points for imported organic ingredients. One thing that is both a positive and a negative is that India is a young market.
What’s your favourite food to make?
From the AMAI menu, the banana walnut cake is my favourite perhaps, it’s like a healthy breakfast cake and perfect to pair with floral nuanced coffee like Jamaican blue mountain.
At home, I cook mostly eclectic health inspired versions of the things my husband and I like. Zucchini lasagna for instance. I’m quite experimental so there is nothing in particular that I like committing to while cooking. Although, I think I make a mean Kerala crab curry and my father-in-law seems to like it, which makes me happy.
Where do you get your ingredients from?
For AMAI, I try and source as local as possible with vendors who can meet the quality standards of the hotel. Whereas for products that are imported, for example, Brazilian nuts, of course, I go to speciality importers.
What’s product defines AMAI the most?
All our products are wholesome and as unprocessed as possible. I vouch for the entire menu. Though my personal favourite in the savoury has to be the Miso toast.
Towards who have you targeted AMAI?
AMAI is for the person in the know about themselves. Our clients are people who not just go on a diet and decide to eat healthy, rather are people who are interested in wellness as a lifestyle choice.
What’s your favourite dish from the menu at AMAI?
The Raw and Vegan menu’s Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake. I love the cold pressed coconut flavour that I find is a common favourite for those who tend to eat well.
The AMAI Macrobiotic product range is the first of its kind to be introduced by a major hotel in India. We hope that other hotels follow in the footsteps of The Leela, Mumbai and bring us some more delicious treats we can devour without having to spend any time worrying about the ingredients.
Interested in giving one of these desserts a try? Pre-order on Scootsy for delivery all over Mumbai and at The Lobby Lounge at The Leela Mumbai.