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Sharika Jain

IWB Intern

‘Saucery’ Founder, Gayatri Bhatia Shares ‘Sorcery’ Behind Success Of Her Retail Startup

  • IWB Post
  •  February 11, 2018

Normally, when you think of sauces, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Ketchup, right? But what if I told you there was a way to have all the fancy sauces you have at restaurants, right at your home.

Gayatri Bhatia is the founder of Saucery, a retail for gourmet sauces to quench your cravings at any hour. We talked to Gayatri Bhatia about being a female entrepreneur, her favorites, and what she misses about living away from home.

What inspired you to begin this start up?

I have always loved good food and have been deeply interested in it, but I realized what a struggle it was to continue to cook and eat clean and healthy food whilst living abroad – where neither did we have enough time to cook nor did we have the energy or some ingredients. When I finally moved back home, I saw how much like my friends and I when we were living abroad, so many people had midnight cravings for restaurant style food, or at home had uninspiring and unappetizing food, or who simply wanted to instantly transport themselves to another country by simply eating that cuisine. And what differentiated the food they made at home, from the food we eat at a restaurant is essentially just the sauce or gravy! And that’s when the idea of everyday gourmet, affordable gourmet, Saucery was born.

What makes something a good sauce?

Food is very relative to palate – but I believe a great sauce will always have a strong flavor, great texture and be versatile in the way it can be eaten.

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How long does it take to come up with each product?

From trying to understand what the market requires, the food science angle of it for some shelf life without any product corruption (preservatives, additives, etc.) to ensuring that we master the taste and texture, the product development process can take many months.

We follow a very detailed process and try to involve several people in our product development when it comes to the final taste and texture of the product. Since tastes are quite relative, it becomes important to validate the level of tastiness by multiple parties.

 How do you set yourself apart from sauce giants?

We compete with the likes of Fun Foods, Veeba, and Barilla. Our key differentiators are our freshness and the fact that we do not heavily process the food or contaminate the product with anything that may be remotely harmful to the human body (colors, chemicals, additives, MSG, preservatives and the likes).

We also try to add a healthy tweak to our products wherever possible – like our pestos are made out of sunflower and flax seeds instead of any nuts – making them less allergenic. We ensure that every single ingredient that goes into our products is carefully sourced and are now sourcing from more socially responsible suppliers as well.

What did you do to overcome the initial struggle for beginning a start up?

To be perfectly honest, it is clichéd but it’s important to be persistent about what you believe in. A little bit of stubbornness also helps. People constantly tell you what you want to do isn’t possible, but I’ve always been clear about what I want to achieve and we haven’t even reached a few percentage of it as yet. The mission and the vision need to be clear – and then it’s easy to overcome the struggles. The biggest struggle I faced was really just creating a concrete network – be it stakeholders or employees or even customers – and the only way to overcome that is to give it time and fire all your shots in a timely manner. I really do believe that being patient for a fantastic outcome, but never being lazy whilst working towards it always pays off.

What is one product that you take when going out of India?

I always take the sun-dried tomato pesto with me as I can eat it in any way – sandwich, dips, with a spoon, whip up a pasta or even eat it with thepla! It’s also great to share with people as it has a very universal taste profile.

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What is the definition of Indian taste to you?

“Chatpata”. Stronger flavors – enough salt, a variety of different herbs and/or spices which in western and other cuisines would often not be paired together and enough “umami”.

Owning a startup is stressful, what ‘sourcery’ keeps calm during the whole process?

What has really kept me sane and helped me through time is a very strong emotional support system in my employees, friends, and family and more importantly being regular with my exercise regime. I usually vent all my frustrations while kickboxing and this allows me to maintain a calm headspace.

What was one thing about India apart from family and friends that you missed while working outside?

Good, simple, homely food! And the radio with all the Bollywood music!

And, one thing about each city out of India you have worked/studied in that you would like to bring to India?

Singapore – Buddhist Chinese food

Toronto – The adorable wild fox and good maple syrup

Sydney – Everything! The people, places to go, weather, outdoor activities, and most importantly the fantastic fresh produce (fruits and vegetables) available. Especially the avocados and the tomatoes.

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How h
as your pervious job experience helped in shaping Saucery?

I previously worked very briefly, about 3-4 months, with the Four Seasons in Mumbai. It was extremely different given that it was purely a sales and marketing role in an established MNC where most leads were inbound and all practices and standards were set. What did help from my experience there was, first of all, dealing with different people and understanding the broad work style in Mumbai and secondly, understanding customers food preferences while planning menus for different large scale events

What is one thing you miss about your old job?

Being able to turn off from work as and when convenient, it is impossible at such an initial stage of our firm.

Being a young female entrepreneur, if you had faced criticism, how did you deal with it?

I have faced plenty of criticism and questioning for being young and female. I believe we just have to work a little bit harder in terms of our understanding of the space and what we hope to achieve to be taken as seriously as men. I have never been perturbed by it too much, it is an unfortunate reality in the social fabric of India. However, I make sure my work and my actions say what they need to.

Please share one quick recipe that you enjoy.

My favorite recipe is hands down the simplest – sautéing zucchini and bell peppers with 1 tbsp of the Aglio Olio or classic pesto, add a little bit of salt and that’s literally all there is to do. It is super healthy and carb free! I also love a simple pesto sandwich with some freshly sliced tomatoes, cheese, and pepper. All you have to do is spread the pesto on some toasted bread, put your sliced tomatoes and cheese, salt and pepper and eat!

One of my other favorites is roasting 2-3 sweet potatoes which are cut into small rounds and putting one dollop of Harissa on each round once out of the oven. Garnish with chopped parsley or even coriander and enjoy!

For more recipes, check out www.saucery.in/recipes

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This article was first published in October, 2017.

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