Geeta Samtani talks to Tandoori

Posted on Movers and Shakers Aug 2008 - by Tandoori Magazine
Geeta Samtani talks to Tandoori

Geeta Samtani, proprietor of Geeta’s Foods which produces the renowned premium mango chutney and other products, talks to Tandoori.

How and when did you start producing the chutney professionally?
I used to make them for friends and family and also sell them for charity. But then the demand got so high that I couldn’t keep up with it. So the orders were enough for me to feel confident that I could turn this into a viable business venture in 1990. The packaging and marketing side has been good too, plus the fact that because the chutney is manufactured in India, with fresh seasonal mangoes, it all adds to the flavour.

Why do you think your premium mango chutney, became so successful?
Like so many of my products, the recipe had been passed down the generations. It has an authentic, aromatic and very flavoursome taste, with high quality ingredients and just the right balance of spices. There was nothing like it on the market at the time and there still isn’t.

As a successful female entrepreneur, do you feel like a “trailblazer”?
I don’t even like that term. I’m an individual and do things my way. I’ve never emulated anyone nor do I feel that being a woman has kept me back from achieving anything. You have to be true to yourself and I don’t think gender has any bearing on it.

If you hadn’t become a businesswoman, what else would you have done?
I would have done more charity work in India. I still do as much as I can. I li9ke helping people in the rural areas like digging wells and educating children. It’s good to see the communities being uplifted and helped. As time passes, I will try and put in even more effort.

Do you and your family eat your own chutney?
We always have it on the dinner table and my grand-daughter can’t get enough of the mango chutney! She always asks for it. But at the same time, I do have to see what our competitors are coming up with so naturally, I have to try the their products as well.

What is your perception of the Indian restaurant scene in the UK?
I think they have done an absolutely fantastic job, I genuinely feel that if it wasn’t for UK Indian restaurateurs, Indian food, whether it is of Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani or Sri Lankan origin, wouldn’t have made its name on the world culinary stage. They have proved that Indian food can be so versatile and flavoursome. They have also taken Indian cooking away from the myth of ‘curry’ even though that term is still banded around, Indian restaurant is much more advanced now. The dishes and the presentation style chefs are coming up with are astounding and the quality and flavours to be reckoned with.

What advice would you give anyone wanting to make chutney at home?
Buy the best fruit and vegetables. Don’t compromise. Do a good blend of spices and put a lot of love into it. Without the latter, nothing will work. Also, follow your own instincts as to what will taste nice.

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