Every year, approximately 40% of the vegetables and fruits produced in India—a country which is home to a third of the world’s malnourished children—go to waste.
One way to lower this terrible number is to ensure that the raw food somehow reaches those who need it the most. The other way is to make condiments, pickles or jams from them to ensure that it is preserved for a longer time.
George Penner, a restaurateur and entrepreneur based in Kodaikanal, is taking the latter path. And in the process, he is also helping the women in Tamil Nadu get a decent livelihood. Click here to check out the organic condiments he makes.
Penner has had a close association with India for the past three generations. His grandparents had migrated to the country from Russia in 1930. Years later, his parents who lived in Canada, made the choice to shift here too.
“I was born in Andhra Pradesh, went to school in Kodaikanal, moved to the US to study further, and then lived in Canada and Japan. But even though I’ve been all over, I think of Kodaikanal as my home town. For a few years, I was running a website in Hyderabad, but my wife and I got tired of the city life and decided to move, bag and baggage, to Kodaikanal,” he shares with The Better India.
There, he started baking bagels and pizzas and soon moved on to making his own pasta and pizza sauces. The sauces became incredibly popular, so he employed some local women and formally started George’s Gourmet Kitchen, a home-based business.
“We started by making a mustard sauce and barbeque sauce, among other things. Eventually, we focused more on sauces and condiments than anything else. Authentic, locally-made and organic, that is the goal,” George says.
Currently, GGK’s production unit employs three women. It is small, but the team has reached out to organic farmers from other states too, to ensure that there are no preservatives or additives in their sauces and condiments and cookies.
“So, the shelf-life for the sauces is about a year, as should be whereas the cookies last about 4 months. Apart from the chocolate chip cookies, where we have to settle for non-organic chocolate, all other products are organic. That’s a promise,” he assures.
At just Rs 250, you can get a bottle of preservative-free mustard, while their delicious cookies are for Rs 295. Click here to read more and purchase them.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)