We spoke with Michele Mistry, chef and owner of INDIKAAP, a food business built around the nutrition and teachings of Ayurveda.
1. Tell us about INDIKAAP and what inspired it?
I created INDIKAAP in 2016, to spread the awareness of the power that essential, quality food, holds to transform us. This knowledge runs through Indian culture even if unconsciously, in some places. When I moved to Cape Town in 2014, I longed for this culture and wanted to see it reflected in the spaces around me. With my food, I share the lifetimes of knowledge and adaptation, amassed by the many people who’ve lived before me.
I started in 2015, with cooking at various artisanal markets in Cape Town and had a few supper clubs. When we decided to home school our children in 2018, I had to re-invent the business. I had also started my vegan journey then. In 2019, I created an online store with a range of vegan products like cook-in-sauces, ferments, pickles, snacks and sweetmeats. Things that make flavourful, healthy and conscious eating accessible, despite busy lifestyles. I use organic vegetables from small scale urban farmers and seasonal ingredients.
2. What is Ayurveda for someone who doesn’t know?
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian health science that’s more than 5000 years old. Yet it’s even more relevant today with the state of our collective poor health, lifestyle and compromised environments. It is holistic, complimentary to other health sciences and seeks to remedy the cause of illness, not just the symptoms.
For the individual, Ayurveda can become a conscious approach to bringing your health into greater balance. It gives you tools with which to better understand your emotions, your body and your mind.
One of the basic tenets is that you are what you eat. You become aware of how these aspects of self are inextricably linked to nutrition. You don’t need to be vegetarian or vegan either. Just implementing a few of the principles creates tangible change.
3. What are your thoughts on the fact that Ayurveda has become trendy in Western wellness movements?
I’m happy wellness movements around the world, not just in the West are embracing Ayurveda. This hasn’t just happened through osmosis of thought though. There are Ayurvedic doctors who have intentionally made this knowledge accessible and understandable to anyone willing to learn. Ayurveda supersedes culture and politics.
4. What are your dreams for INDIKAAP?
I have big dreams for INDIKAAP perfectly aligned with my Vata Pitta nature. My words for INDIKAAP and myself in 2020 are mastery and collaboration.
I’d like to find a permanent retail space for INDIKAAP Ayurvedic Vegan, my pop-up store. I’m looking for a space that is either in or close to a Yoga studio. I’d like to be able to extend my reach with my online store. I’ll be collaborating with other Ayurvedic practitioners to create workshops/cooking classes/retreats for a holistic approach that incorporates the other aspects of Vedanta like yoga and meditation.
5. Tell us about your food business and where people can find you.
I had a pop-up store at GOODFOOD Woodstock in November and December that will begin again in mid-January. The menu caters for all dosha types and offers kitchari bowls, dosas and salad bowls.
I have an online store with Cape Town delivery for now. I sell a small range of bottled products, cook-in sauces, sweatmeats and snacks. Website: https://indikaap.com/shop
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