The best possible taste
Chef Bombay – North America’s most popular ready-to-eat Indian food brand – is the brainchild of Noorudin and Anis Jiwani, the founders of Aliya’s Foods Limited
Founded on the ambition to introduce the delights of delicious Indian samosas to a North American audience, Aliya’s Foods has evolved from small beginnings into a leading food manufacturer specialising in authentic Indian cuisine.
The story starts with samosas – fried pastries stuffed with a savoury filling, such as spiced potatoes, onions, peas, meat, or lentils. At the time the company was founded – the year 2000 – the Canadian and North American markets were not familiar with Indian cuisine, to the extent that the Jiwanis admit that ‘no-one really knew what samosas were’. However, once they tried the Chef Bombay creations, they were hooked, and the company went from strength-to-strength, continuously expanding its original tiny 3000 square foot plant, eventually moving into today’s state-of-the-art, 45,000 square foot production facility in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
A major component of the success of the dishes created by Aliya’s Foods is the company’s dedication to replicating authentic family recipes, and maintaining a total focus on quality and taste. “We only make dishes we’d eat at home every day, that’s why we use only the best, all natural ingredients; it just makes for better tasting food,” agreed Anis Jiwani.
The recipes have been in the Jiwani family for generations, and have been tried and tested to ensure that the unique spice blends hit the perfect flavour notes, and traditional slow-cooking processes are embraced in order to deliver an authentic Indian experience. From its most popular dishes – samosas and butter chicken with basmati rice – down to new launches, the family prides itself on ensuring that all of its products are made with the freshest and highest quality ingredients. Every Chef Bombay appetiser and entree is free from trans fats, preservatives, artificial flavours and colours, and come in a variety of vegan, halal and gluten free options. They also come in all shapes and sizes, meaning that retail, club and hospitality packaging options are available for all the Chef Bombay products in both the frozen and fresh (refrigerated) ranges.
Every dish produced by Aliya’s Foods goes from raw ingredients to frozen product as soon as it is cooked, to seal in the freshness. The highest levels of automation are embraced within the factory, as are the most stringent quality and food safety standards. The plant is CIFA/USDA, HACCP and SQF certified, and Aliya’s Foods works with the CFIA on a daily basis, to ensure that it not only surpasses the HACCP and SQF requirements, but also continues to find new and innovative ways to maintain the highest quality and safety for every product that leaves the factory. Additional steps mean that in-house quality managers monitor every single stage of the manufacturing process – from the moment raw ingredients enter the plant to the final product.
From the time the company was founded, a willingness to invest in innovative equipment has been a focus point for Aliya’s Foods – in fact, when it initially came to life, one of Noorudin and Anis’ first tasks was finding, and in fact, eventually inventing (alongside an equipment manufacturer) the world’s first samosa-making machine (today the business manufactures upwards of 400,000 samosas a day!) This pioneering spirit is still alive and well at the company, and 2019 saw major investments dedicated to expanding the production facilities, and plans are already underway for another string of investments into the organisation’s infrastructure.
This combination of authentic flavour and highly efficient manufacturing has enabled Aliya’s Foods to achieve significant growth and become a major supplier across Canada and the United States. Now selling to foodservice and retail outlets with coast-to-coast coverage, and supplying supermarkets throughout Canada and the USA, in 2019 Aliya’s Foods was listed as one of Canada’s Top Growing Companies by the Globe and Mail.
The success experienced by the company is not only enjoyed by the management team and their employees, but also by the wider community, thanks to Aliya’s Foods dedication to giving back to society. This approach has always played a huge role in the way the organisation undertakes business. Whether it’s through supporting local food banks and fundraisers or working with the Aga Khan Foundation and the annual World Partnership Walks, Aliya’s Foods makes sure that it is contributing something every step of the way. This philosophy also includes working to mitigate its environmental impact thanks to intelligent ingredient sourcing, working to simplify the supply chain, and employing greener production practices. Overall Aliya’s Foods continuously strives to find ways to improve the world around it. Family values are ever present, with integrity and transparency at the core of all of its undertakings.
Two decades ago, Aliya’s Foods was the dream of Noorudin and Anis, and in its 20th year, the company is able to celebrate 140 per cent growth over the last three years, continue to promote its growing range of Indian inspired dishes and be gratified by its incredible heritage of bringing food to tables across North America. The team has no intention of slowing down, and for the next five years it has plans to introduce refreshed branding (reflecting the same great taste, but with a new look as the next generation of Jiwanis become more involved), further sustainability goals; including new products with a focus on vegetarian options, and eco-friendly packaging, which will reduce approximately 200 tons of plastic annually.
Looking back at the legacy he has created, Noorudin is understandably very proud of his team, his products and his supply chain, and he still maintains a mantra of ‘if I can’t eat it, I won’t sell it’. Treating every customer as a guest at their own table, the Jiwani family and the staff at Aliya’s Foods put in immense amounts of hard work, to ensure that the last bite of one of their dishes is as enjoyable as the first. With the next generation poised to take over the family business, the coming years look set to be filled with even more amazingly tasty, authentic Indian dishes from the company – each with the right amount of spice and designed to delight the taste buds.