Heer Kothari in a tête-à-tête with the founder of ‘Mafia Chef’, Devansh Jhaveri
We meet simple people and meet those who do some extravagant things and ambush themselves in the crowd. Chef Devansh Jhaveri is one such artist! I comprehended the nuances of his talent when a mystery box of goodies arrived home one evening! When I opened the box I was in for a treat! I was greeted by the choicest of sauces from around the world! All ‘Made in India’, Sriracha included! The ‘Mafia Chef’ (As his friends jokingly called him, which he took rather seriously and christened his brand thereafter) gleefully adds that he managed to prep some of these sauces right in a single go!
Pre Chef Era
The ‘Mafia Chef’ got ‘gangsta’ while at University in the United States. His seamless passion for preparing and savouring culinary delights encouraged him to garner some hands-on experience with people from different nationalities in live kitchens. Devansh Jhaveri now specializes in preparing the South American, Filipino, Ethiopian and Mexican cuisines. After getting back to the bay, he joined into the steel business. A few years back he found his calling and took to becoming a full-time chef.
A note on the Mafia Chef
Devansh Jhaveri is an artful hustler, who intelligently combines his culinary skills with keen business acumen. “Creating quality products has done the trick! It has automatically paved a way to profitable avenues that has taken me places in a short span of time.” Chef Devansh heavily relies on perfection! He doesn’t shy from restarting all over, and keeps trying till he reaches the final product that’s to his satisfaction!
Earlier, ‘Mafia Chef’ was an umbrella for all food products including live foods and FMCG products. But gradually as business got along; the FMCG products got labeled as ‘Mafia Chef’, while the live foods (that follows a Quick Serve Restaurant (QSR) format) fell under the banner of ‘Senor Swanky’s’. Chef Devansh also helps set up manufacturing units for other foods. He also helps people set up restaurants and create menus.
Foraying the FMCG route
“I have been extremely passionate about spicy food’ and every meal would be accompanied with Sriracha. I was sickened by the idea of constantly asking relatives to pick up a bottle on their foreign trips. And decided to prepare the sauce myself instead.” Adds Chef Devansh. After intensive research and numerous trials, Chef Devansh managed to strike a perfect balance between sweet, salt, spice, sour and umami. He proudly adds, ‘I’ve strived hard to make my version of Sriracha, however, my variation has reduced garlic (pungent) ends.’ Mafia Chef mass produces other sauces that include the likes of Green Sambal, Sambal Oelek, Mango Bhut Jolokia, Peri-Peri, Sriracha dry seasoning, and peri-peri dry seasoning. Bhut Jolokia is one of the spiciest chilies in the world. It is predominantly sourced from the region of Assam. But Mafia Chef has added a twist to the tale, as he procures most of the produce from his farm in South Gujarat.
The ongoing saga
Presently, Chef Devansh works hard towards promoting and marketing the FMCG products he manufactures. His sauces are soon to hit the e-commerce market by January 2019. Simultaneously, he gears up to launch Senor Swanky’s in the first half of 2019.
According to Chef Devansh Jhaveri running a successful show in the food business could get iffy if certain things are not taken into consideration.
- It is essential to create a phenomenal product, using quality resources. One will understand the success of the product when an extensive market research is conducted.
- Sourcing quality resources that are cost effective can get tricky. However, the key lies in directly approaching the manufacturer.
- Packaging should accord to the sentiments of your target audience. The brand logo and the overall appeal of the product should foster memory recall.
- Your chosen supply chain should efficaciously penetrate the market.
- Penetrating the market isn’t enough! It is crucial to feel the customer pulse, and keep your eyes open to fill in the void using innovating marketing strategies from time to time.
As we wrap the interview, I can only state that Chef Devansh Jhaveri isn’t only a role model to aspiring start-up’s in the food industry, but is also an artist who’s preparation simply satiate the soul.