Founded in 2014 by Shivani Dhamija, who moved to Nova Scotia in 2011 to be with her partner Abhishek Asthana. She had moved here with a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Relations from Fanshawe College hoping that she will be able to get a job here. She tried various media and public relations companies but with no luck. She is a very independent person who doesn't give up easily so while waiting for her dream job she started working with whoever will hire her. She worked at MacDonald as a cashier, volunteered at the Lung Association of Nova Scotia and as a front desk person at the Canada Games Center. It was here where a friend of Indian origin told her that an Indian trucker friend of hers was missing home-cooked food and wanted someone to make food for him to take on his trips. He was our first client and helped launched Halifax's first packaged Indian meal delivery service.
We initially called our company Home Made Tiffin but couldn't get that name registered. Shivani tried to register different combinations of the name but none of them were approved. Finally, she said there can't be anyone called Shivani here selling food and applied to get Shivani's Kitchen registered which was approved and the rest is history.
Taking a chance Shivani created a Facebook page publicizing her meal delivery service and got a tremendous response. People tried her food and wanted to learn to cook Indian Food, which started our second line of business in 2015. We still get asked if and when we will be starting our classes and it is with great sadness that we have to point to COVID-19.
People went to her classes and loved them but when we asked if they made any the most common response was that getting all the spices is too difficult. Sensing a need we launched our Spice Blends in 2015, we Initially started with selling Garam Masala spice blend in hexagonal bottles with self-printed labels, the packaging has since improved significantly but this blend is still our #1 seller.
Shivani's has focused on quality and ease of focus from the very beginning and that is why even today our spice blends have no fillers like garlic or salt, just the spices you need, and our sauces are salt-free and frozen to avoid adding any preservatives.
In 2015, we started to spread her wings and joined farmers' markets, her first one was the Spryfield Farmers Market. We realize that meeting our clients and getting direct feedback is the road to success that is why Shivani's Kitchen can be found at the following farmers market (in alphabetical order).
- Annapolis Royal Farmers Market
- Avon Community Farmers Market
- Kentville Farmers Market
- Tantallon Farmers Market
If you are a farmers market and interested in working with us, please reach out to us.
We continued to increase our visibility from 2016 to 2018 by going to more farmers' markets, trade shows. Our cooking classes grew so much that we had to move from our home kitchen to a commercial kitchen in downtown Halifax, our spices were accepted by Pete's and Sobey's.
In 2018, we got the opportunity of a lifetime, something we have always dreaded and tried to stay away from, a Restaurant!!
We opened our takeout restaurant in 2018 in the Seaport Farmers Market. This gave us a space to produce, and retail our products. Get a tandoor, and have our own space to do cooking classes. Most importantly, I brought us closer to our extended family, you. It is here, where we honed our skills, experimented with new products, and matured.
Shivani's Kitchen has always been environmentally conscious which was even more evident here, we don't use straws, most of our takeout containers are compostable or recyclable. We use paper bags instead of plastic bags for packaging our meals.
It was here that we sensed a need for people to be able to recreate our restaurant's food in their home and hence launched frozen sauces. We chose to freeze them so that we wouldn't have to add preservatives to it and just like the spice blends the sauces would have only those ingredients that you really needed and nothing more.
As of today, we are in (alphabetically) Bedford Basin Farmers Market, Hennigar's Farm Market, Local Source, Pete's Frootique & Fine Foods, Sobey's, and a few restaurants and cafes in HRM. If you are a restaurant, cafe, farm market, and/or grocery store we would love to hear from you.
All this while Shivani has been talking to other entrepreneurs, especially women and immigrant entrepreneurs because she knows about the struggles that she had to face. She strongly believes that the success of Nova Scotia and Canada lies in its people.
If you would like to invite her for speaking engagements, please reach out to us.