IWM: Richa Gupta

We spoke with Richa Gupta, founder of GOOD FOOD FOR GOOD. She makes fresh, local, artisanal foods, and with very purchase, donates a meal to someone in need. We found out how to make a delicious butter-free butter chicken, why she refuses to use canned ingredients, and how tonight’s dinner can help keep a child in school.

GOOD FOOD FOR GOOD. What does “GOOD” mean to you?

Very interesting question! Personally, GOOD means something that I am proud to make and share and is on par with my moral standards. Specific definition of GOOD might vary from situation to situation but overall I believe in our hearts we all know GOOD when we see it.

GOOD FOOD FOR GOOD is based on two simple values, GOOD food and GOOD business:

My GOOD food is made from scratch, with food and only food. It is made with ingredients that I used growing up in India, always fresh, local and organic. Foods that are rich in nutrients and flavour, and always made fresh.

GOOD Business strives to achieve more than just profits. It’s a business based on purpose. I strive to make a difference one meal at a time feeding people who can afford GOOD FOOD, and through donating to people who cannot. With every purchase we donate a meal to fight world hunger.

Who receives those food donations?

Last year we donated to The Akshaya Patra Foundation and Second Harvest. The vast majority of our meal donations was to Akshaya Patra, an India based not-profit organization that provides underprivileged children in India with a healthy, balanced meal that they would otherwise have to work for. The meals are provided in schools and also serve as an incentive for children to continue their education. Education can significantly improve the quality of life of a family for generations to come. When the basic needs of a child, such as food are not met, education often becomes the last priority.

I was in India this January and had a chance to spend a day with Akshaya Patra. We visited their kitchen where they make fresh wholesome meals everyday, and then we visited a school and actually served food to the students. It was amazing to see how happy these kids were despite the hardships they live in. It was very inspiring, and motivated me further to continue this work and help feed children around the world. This year we are also partnering with Action Against Hunger Canada to help fight malnutrition around the world.

Besides the money raised through product sales, we also do events in the city to fight hunger in Toronto. Our dinner series EAT 2 FEED TO will raise funds for Foodshare Toronto this year. (View the menu and buy tickets to eat GOOD + support GOOD here!)

Where do you source your ingredients from?

All of our food is fresh (not canned), and we source all of our fresh produce (tomatoes, onions, garlic, red pepper and eggplants) as local as possible from certified organic farms. We import ingredients that do not grow in Ontario like spices, coconut milk etc.

Why fresh ingredients?

I choose to use only fresh ingredients, despite everyone warning me and telling me that it will be a nightmare, because canned ingredients just do not have the same nutrition or taste. For example, I can easily get canned organic tomatoes throughout the year, but I choose fresh because canned tomatoes have hardly any nutrients left. Lycopne, the antioxidant that prevents cancer, is in the skin of a tomato which is eliminated during the canning process stripping most of the antioxidant. Also Vitamin C is another important nutrient in tomatoes that is lost during the heating process. When you use a canned tomato, you are cooking food with something that tastes like a tomato, but hardly has any nutrient that makes a tomato.

Your spreads and sauces are incredibly flavourful. Are the recipes your own personal inspired creations?

Thanks, I am so glad you like them! Yes, the recipes are my creations that came from researching and refining several recipes. All the sauces have my twist on flavours and ingredients, for example Butter Chicken Sauce has no butter – it is made in olive oil and uses cashews instead of dairy cream. Chiltomate, the Mexican simmer sauce traditionally uses habanero peppers, but I use chile de arbol as it lets you enjoy all the flavours before kicking up the heat. All the spreads are unique to the world too. There is no Mumbai Mint spread in Indian cuisine, as a matter of fact, there are no spreads in Indian cuisine. Similarly there is no Oaxaca Arbol in Mexican cuisine, and no Bunol Asado in Mediterranean cuisine. I think that the fresh and real food ingredients add to the flavor of our sauces and spreads, making them delicious on their own or added to other foods too.

What’s your favourite thing to make?

I like innovating! I don’t think there is one thing in particular that I enjoy cooking. I like making new things, creating flavours that I experienced in a restaurant or someone’s home and giving them my own twist. I enjoy experimenting with different flavours or forms that have not been combined before.

What’s your favourite thing to eat?

I love flavour and love fruits! If I have to pick just one thing that I can eat at any time of the day I will pick watermelon!

What does it mean to you to be a part of the Toronto food community?

Toronto Food Community is fabulous! I love how meeting amazing entrepreneurs and real food lovers in the community. It is really tight knit and everyone is ready to help each other. I feel grateful to be in this beautiful city and among a group of extremely passionate people.

Do you find social media helpful to connect to the community?

I can’t even imagine life without social media! It has helped me connect to not only the community in Toronto but around the world!

Where can people find you and your food?

Our food can be found at local farmer’s markets and select stores in Toronto (Click here and scroll down to find a retailer near you). 

For more information, visit goodfoodforgood.ca. Tweet with Richa at @GoodFoodForGood, Like her foods on Facebook, and on Instagram too!