Industry Leaders|September 2020
Pooja Bavishi has taken the New York food scene to a whole new level with the introduction of Malai. Started as an entrepreneurial venture, Bavishi now hopes to see new & unique flavors overtaking the traditional flavors in the country.
Pooja Bavishi

As far back as she can trace, Pooja Bavishi’s family has been entrepreneurial. Her parents were entrepreneurs and have been for her entire life. Today, Bavishi is following in her parents’ footsteps, yet her version of entrepreneurship is a bit unconventional.

When it comes to food trends, the New Yorkers have got it covered. From brisket ravioli to black ink martini, if you’re after an unlikely food combo, there’s no better place to fuel your fix than the bustling streets of Manhattan. But if your taste errs on the traditional side, the latest dessert craze making its way over the Atlantic might be more your bag.

Combining delicious scoops of the finest whipped ice cream encased in a layer of Indian-ness – it’s no wonder ‘Malai’ treats are slowly becoming New York’s hottest new dessert trend. To make these sweet indulgences readily available to New Yorkers, North Carolina native Pooja Bavishi’s brightly colored ice-creams are here to win your heart.

After earning her MBA and acquiring business acumen, Bavishi knew in her heart she was ready to start her own entrepreneurial journey with Malai.

At Malai, Bavishi sells a variety of flavors and concepts, including “Coconut Tahini with Date Caramel” and “Masala Chai.” New York’s most innovative ice-cream shaman believes the ice-creams’ uniqueness lies in its texture, its depth of flavor, and the nostalgia factor.

“I think that food makers are moving more towards using traditional, “authentic” flavors rather than developing something that would be acceptable for the mainstream audience,” she explains. “There is a need for representation in the food world, and it’s so exciting to see it take shape.”

“My passion for food started at a young age. I made the connection that desserts make people happy, and I knew that I eventually wanted to be in the business of making people happy,” Bavishi explains. “I loved that food is so cross cultural, and cross traditional, social and hospitable.”


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September 2020