Founded in 2014 by Shivani Dhamija, who moved to Nova Scotia in 2011 to be with her partner Abhishek Asthana. She moved here with a Diploma in Public Relations from Fanshawe College to pursue a job here. She tried various media and public relations companies but had no luck. She's a very independent person who doesn't give up easily - so while waiting for her dream job she started working wherever she could find work. She worked at MacDonald's as a cashier, volunteered at the Lung Association of Nova Scotia and then as a front desk person at the Canada Games Center.
It was while working at the Canada Games Center that a friend of Indian origin told her that an Indian trucker friend she knew was missing home-cooked food and wanted someone to make food for him to take on his trips. He was Shivani's first client and helped launch Halifax's first packaged Indian Meal Delivery Service!
We initially called our company Home Made Tiffin but couldn't get the name registered. Finally, Shivani realized there shouldn't be anyone with her name selling Indian food. She applied to get Shivani's Kitchen registered, and the rest is history!
Taking a chance Shivani created a Facebook page publicizing her Meal Delivery Service and got a tremendous response. Then a second opportunity arose. People tried her food and wanted to learn to cook Indian Food. Our second line of business (Cooking Classes) began in 2015. People absolutely love our cooking classes! We still have our cooking classes but because of COVID19 we've had to pivot and delay!
In 2015, we ventured out and joined the Farmers' Markets. Our first one was the Spryfield Farmers Market. We realized that meeting our clients and getting direct feedback became the roadmap to success! Shivani's Kitchen products are now found at the following Farmers Markets: (in alphabetical order)
If you're a Farmers Market and are interested in working with us, please reach out to us.
We continued to increase our visibility from 2016 to 2018 going to more Farmers' Markets and trade shows. Our cooking classes grew so much that we moved from our home kitchen to a commercial kitchen in downtown Halifax.
Shivani's Kitchen Spices Launch
Another opportunity presented itself to us from listening to the feedback from our fun Cooking Classes. They absolutely loved the classes but said they found it difficult to find the spices to prepare the meals at home. Understanding our customers, and sensing a need we launched our Spice Blends in 2016. We initially started with our Garam Masala Spice Blend in hexagonal bottles with self-printed labels. The packaging has since improved significantly, but this Spice Blend is still our #1 seller.
Shivani focused on quality from the very beginning. That's why - even today our Spice Blends have no fillers like garlic or salt and are gluten free. Just the spices you need!
Going wholesale and being able to bring the authentic experience of Indian flavors to more people had been Shivani's focus for a while. Shivani's Kitchen Spices launched on the shelves of Pete's Frootique & Fine Foods in 2016, and launched on the shelves of Sobeys in 2019!!
Shivani's Kitchen Sauces Launch
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. We got a tandoor, and our own space to do cooking classes. Most importantly, it brought us closer to our extended family, you. It is here, where we honed our skills, experimented with new products, and matured.
It was here that we sensed a need for people to be able to recreate our restaurant's food in their home and hence we launched our Ready to Use Sauces. We realized people have very busy lives and still want a delicious authentic meal. So, you save time (up to 30 minutes) - and just have to add veggies or a protein and your authentic dish is ready!
Just like our Spice Blends, our Sauces contain only the ingredients you really need and nothing more! Our Ready to Use Sauces are salt-free, gluten-free and have no preservatives. We use only fresh ingredients from our local farmers for our Ready to Use Sauces.
From Food Delivery to Food Production Plant
Shivani closed the door to her restaurant at the Seaport Market the end of August 2020 to focus on her new venture – Food Production Plant! Located in The Station Food Hub at the Newport Station in West Hants, Nova Scotia!
“I’m excited about our Food Plant and it will help keep up with the demand for our Spices and Sauces!”
As of today, we are on the shelves of many retail stores throughout Atlantic Canada and the United States and restaurants and cafes in HRM. If you are a restaurant, cafe, farm market, and/or grocery store we would love to hear from you!
While growing her business, Shivani has helped other entrepreneurs, especially women and immigrant entrepreneurs because she knows the struggles they may have to face and supports them. She strongly believes that the success of Nova Scotia and Canada is found in its' people and giving back!!