A date (and an orange) with the delightful Laxmi Hiremath

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Laxmi Hiremath.

If you’re an Indian food lover (and who isn’t) you may have a stash of heat-n-eat curry pouches in your larder for those moments the craving hits. Indian cuisine is well-known for being intensely difficult to replicate if one didn’t grow up at the side of mother or grandmother, stirring curries and puffing poori. For Laxmi Hiremath, creating came naturally, but not necessarily in the kitchen (or so she thought.) She loved to paint. She enjoys creating food-scapes & sea scenes.

In the beginning, cooking was a barely dabbled-in pastime.

“Thirty years ago, when I first came to America, I did not know much about cooking,” Laxmi Hiremath said. “Today, I’m a food writer, author, and an entrepreneur with products in Costco, Kroger, Safeway, Wegmans and Whole Foods.”

Though past is often prologue, in Laxmi’s case, her route to delighting with spice in Indian cuisine was not a direct one. If you ask her, she will immediately let you know that there was no way she’d have ever thought her life would include such accomplishments as chef, author and entrepreneur and yet, today she is all three.

Yes, Laxmi learned the basics as most children do, at home from mother and grandmother, but let’s skip ahead a bit to what put her on the food product map. She created what is still the only flax seed spread available on the market. She credits mom for the basis that she in-turn innovated by adding a myriad of specially-chosen spices, herbs, fruits and flavors that provide easy ways to really make a meal exciting.

Laxmi tends to favor blending fruits into her spiced sauces and they really lend a complexity that many other ready-to-eat meals don’t possess. She loves using pineapples, mangoes, dates and oranges together with traditional (and not-so traditional) ingredients to meld each individual component into what is akin to a symphony that is absolutely greater as a sum than its parts. They are both beautiful bases and as-is accompaniments. Among Laxmi’s spreads are the aptly named Golden with dates & orange, Savory with sun-dried tomatoes, and Lemony with ginger & honey, which not only add to the palette of an Indian Thali platter, but pair great with a petite wheel of goat cheese and thinly sliced Coppa. Her spiced nuts are truly scrumptious, usually indulged-in by the handful. It is apparent how adeptly her items lend themselves to a spectrum of of cuisines and are not just to be enjoyed as “Indian food.”

These unique products helped earn Laxmi two Sofi Awards from the Specialty Food Association. This is the specialty food industry’s most prestigious award competition and she earned Outstanding Innovation in Nut Butter category and was deemed an Outstanding Food Innovation winner.

Of course, just because she came up with delicious dishes and the brilliant idea to sell them, doesn’t mean bringing that concept to fruition was easy. Sure, her family and friends enjoyed her meals, her children’s friends begged for sandwich trade-sies at the school lunch table and she enjoyed strong-readership as a food writer and recipe author, but turning a mouthwatering dream into a business?

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Laxmi’s line of tasty flaxseed spreads.

That would require more than just a buffet of friendly accolades—it would take practical business knowledge. So Laxmi, possessing both creative and intellectual savvy, educated herself on how to effectively produce and market her products.

She worked closely with a small-batch, artisan-centric co-packer to develop the right method for achieving the best quality and meeting exacting standards and then she set-out to determine how to get it in flavor-loving mouths everywhere. Her due-diligence paid off.

Laxmi’s Delights can be found at many small-to-large markets like Andronicos, Safeway, Costco and Kroger’s as well as being a tasty find at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market and directly from her website www.laxmisdelights.com

 

With painting, cooking, writing, a degree in chemistry and a collection of delectable victuals under her belt, Laxmi is a bit of a renaissance woman.

“I thank my mother and my grandmothers who taught me the basics of cooking and instilled a standard of excellence in me,” Hiremath said. For Laxmi and her brand, it always circles back to its foundation: family.

Tracy lives in a rather large nutshell. Former gator wrestler come chef and once-in-a-while somm, her greatest feat by far is raising a kid who teethed on blood sausage and Picholines. She longs to steal away to Cuba, but in the meantime gets by on making her own mojo and threatening bodily harm to anyone who serves a Daiquiri topped with whipped cream. If you hear what sounds like a kitchen full of people arguing over who gets the chicken oyster, it's probably just Tracy.

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