For Shalini Vaswani who grew up in Flushing Queens to immigrant parents, food was a way to keep connected to the family’s roots in India. “My parents were from a small sect in India called Sindh, Sindhi’s lost their land in 1947 during the partition and were forced to leave, so holding on to what you remembered was important and food did that." Shalini's mother always made it a point to cook Indian meals from different regions and took Shalini to spend the summers in India (please enjoy our Pics from India below) with her Grandparents where her passion for the food of India developed.
"What most people don’t realize is that the food we cook at home is very different than what we eat when we go out to dinner. It’s fresher, lighter and healthier while still remaining intensely flavorful and I want to bring this type of food to Taza Mkt. Almost all Indian food served in New York is made by men from Punjab and Bangladesh in the North and was modeled after Indian restaurant food which is heavy cream. India has 29 states, offering a wide variety of flavors and cooking techniques which I’m excited to bring to Taza”
Growing up in New York Shalini’s family sought out ethnic foods which had similar flavor profiles as Indian; Thai, Malaysian, Filipino, Chinese, Persian and Mexican. “Contemporary Indian food brings in ingredients from other cuisines that are complementary and give a little twist to the traditional. We will be bringing this “fresh” perspective to Taza."
Shalini cooks with her adopted sister Kathleen, a native of Dominica in the Caribbean, who has been cooking Indian meals for family and friends with Shalini and their mother for over 20 years. Kathleen says “I may be from Dominica but my soul is Indian.” Taza Mkt was born with encouragement from Shalini’s fiancé James - who is also a native New Yorker - and their mutual passion for food. As Shalini puts it “Food is love and our passion for food is what brought us together and Taza was born from that.” Of the three partners, Shalini notes “The three of us are like a mini United Nations. We believe our diverse experience with a common passion for exciting, flavorful food makes us a better team. Debating ingredients to add or change is our obsession.”