Hunger pangs usually make us reach for the quick and crunchy chips, namkeens, laddoos, pakodas and greasy sandwiches that satisfy those cravings, but also add up in pounds later. So, what’s a gal who likes to eat to do? Call the duo Akila Vankalapati and Midhila Raavi of Akimi Gourmet who dish out healthy gourmet bites, and cakes made from organic and nutritious ingredients.
With organic becoming a buzzword in the city, the two friends who share a common passion for exploring different foods never really thought of one day starting a venture together, it all happened ‘organically’. “After I had a baby in September last year, my mom had made Antu laddoos which is made from dry fruits, khus khus, dry coconut, gond fried in ghee for me which help a new mother regain her strength. The post-partum bites got me and Midhila thinking about making snacks that healthy as well as tasty,” recalls Akila Raavi who delivers orders from Akimi Gourmet in Chennai and surrounding areas, while Midhila takes on orders from Hyderabad, Vijaywada, Vishakapatnam, Rajahmundry and Guntur.
After a lot of trial and testing different ingredients, the duo launched Akimi Gourmet and began to take part in pop-up bazaars and exhibitions. What one gets here is vegan brownies, carrot cake, almond flour coconut cakes (their bestseller) apart from the quick bites like black sesame laddoos, ginger bread bites, salted caramel granola, coco pistachio bites, cranberry almond bites, vegan nutella, etc. The choices are endless.
“People came to know about us purely through word-of-mouth. And everyone has become conscious of what they are eating. A lot of people also take bulk parcels and take it abroad,” adds Midhila. They also get a lot of orders for kids birthday parties, baby showers, house warming functions, etc., where the bites are used as return gifts packed in pretty cardboard boxes. Ideally if one wants to place an order, one has to give them a day’s notice as they are both a ‘one-man army at the moment’.
Since it’s not a full-time commitment, it’s challenging but the duo makes it happen between their jobs and the baking. “Our products are a bit expensive than others as we focus on quality than quantity. Once our patrons understand that, it gets easier,” says Akila.
The business partners hope to come out with more options in vegan, gluten-free products in future. For bulk orders, give them a week’s notice. The cost for the bites is Rs 250 and cakes is Rs 600 to Rs 1,800.