Kalpana Waikar, Inspired Indian Cooking
Born in India and raised in Ohio, Kalpana Waikar loved eating her mother's homecooked Indian food, but not so much when it came to making it herself! The lack of measurements and clear instructions intimidated her, so after a few failed efforts she stopped trying. Until one day, she found an Indian cookbook with easy to follow recipes. She began cooking Indian food for herself, her family, and friends. Soon, she began informally teaching friends and colleagues, and would often give them pre-measured spice kits so they could recreate the dishes at home.
A few years ago, she finally realized there was a broader need and launched her company, Inspired Indian Cooking. It started as a monthly subscription box, which would include pre-measured spices for a full meal she would curate every month. After taking a break (thanks, COVID) and surveying her customers, they overwhelmingly asked that she offer spice kits for individual dishes (rather than a whole meal). So she updated her business model, designed new packaging and last December opened a retail store (including a commercial kitchen) in Evanston, IL. So far, her company has grown mostly from work of mouth, and she is ready and excited to see where she can take it!