Tanuj Grover, founder of Neats Kitchen, explains the story of his career and the inspiration behind the north Indian vegan curry brand.
There is arguably no better comfort food than a curry, especially after a long week. It’s restorative, delicious and great social food. My wife Anna and I felt there was a lack of authentic, fresh curries in the vegan market that were also nutritionally balanced and able to be delivered to your door, with the ease of a takeaway.
Noticing this gap, we set out to fill the hole in this space by taking north Indian recipes and translating them into modern, convenient, delicious plant-based food in the form of both traditional recipes as well as those with a British twist.
My journey to this point has been fuelled by both passion for food and a desire to have people from all walks of life try my food and reap its health benefits. We believe in using the freshest ingredients that are sourced ethically and responsibly.
So how did I get here? I started out life in the bustling, vibrant and colourful city of Delhi in India, and, inspired by its pulsating life and outrageously tasty food, I became passionate about cooking by watching my mother and grandmother create magic in the kitchen when I was a boy.
After coming to the UK to train to become a chef, my first official gig was in a super busy commercial kitchen — I turned up to work with a ton of enthusiasm, ready to go. In fact, I was so enthusiastic that I ended up chopping off the tip of my index finger on my second day of work.
Never one to accept defeat, I was there the next day, in a blaze of glory, ready to get cracking on the next day of challenges. Two decades later, I’m still just as impassioned by what I do. I feel this is something I have really channelled into Neats Kitchen, where we have stayed committed to our ethics and ethos unwaveringly.
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My partner in life and business, my wife Anna, is much the same. She is an accomplished hotelier and holds a master’s degree in law and administration. We met for the first time when we were both working in a hotel, we fell in love and are now parents to two wonderful kids.
After I was diagnosed with cholesterol in 2019, Anna and I set out on a mission to create food that is plant-based, naturally low in fat, with ingredients that boost immunity as well as metabolism.
When we started Neats Kitchen, we both wanted to create hand-cooked, mum- and grandma-style, fresh, authentic north Indian meals at affordable prices. It also needed to be in eco-friendly packaging and fully vegan.
Makhani curries feature on the list of north Indian dishes that Neats Kitchen have to offer. This dish is native to my hometown of Delhi and was taught to me by my mother and grandmother, and then adapted by my knowledge of how to make delicious vegan food.
Our food has both north Indian and fusion dishes. On the traditional Indian side, we have dishes like tofu makhani curries — made as thick, creamy and buttery as their non-vegan counterparts — and an 8-hour slow-cooked Punjabi dal makhani. The fusion side of things at Neats Kitchen includes barbeque feast kits packed with jackfruit and lentil patties, tofu and vegetable skewers, and red cabbage and carrot slaw with yuzu juice, as well as vegan burger kits.
We are part of a movement looking to promote the protection of the environment and animal welfare, as well as looking out for our own individual health and wellbeing, by creating food with heart, honesty and a good bit of spice.