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Dan Garblik and Lalit Kalani
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Dan Garblik and Lalit Kalani are the co-founders of Bandar Foods - an American food product company inspired by Indian flavors. Lalit hails from Mumbai where he previously managed his family's liquor business and honed his love for regional cuisine. He currently lives in Philadelphia where he runs Bandar's production and East Coast Operations. Originally from Philadelphia, Dan previously managed restaurants in Las Vegas and worked in hospitality finance. He currently lives in San Francisco where he runs Bandar's marketing and West Coast Operations.

Please visit www.monkey-sauce.com to learn more!

Entries by Dan Garblik and Lalit Kalani

When to Quit Your Job to Start a Food Company

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 3:15 PM

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We recently quit our jobs so we could focus on making hot sauce full-time. Though we enjoyed our ambitious day-jobs, working 15+ hour days between two endeavors gets old - especially when your heart is in your side-project. We did this for over...

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Hot Sauce and Techies: A Love Story?

(0) Comments | Posted December 8, 2013 | 5:27 PM

2013-12-08-Bandar_at_TrialPay_medium.jpgAs we started looking for product evangelists to spread the Monkey Sauce gospel, we didn't first look to the fashionistas or other traditional tastemakers -- we approached tech companies. That's our irst target market and we want to take care of them....

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Can Food Products Be Both Delicious and Impactful? Q&A with Phil Hughes From Mavuno Harvest

(0) Comments | Posted November 1, 2013 | 4:35 PM

Though completely admirable that many food entrepreneurs are driven to "do good" by "doing well" (our own company included) - the product still needs to be delicious to sell. It's extremely challenging to achieve the balance between scrumptiousness and positive social impact (organic, fair trade, etc). And let's...

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Your Product was Accepted Into Whole Foods! Now What?

(0) Comments | Posted September 25, 2013 | 4:51 PM

Getting into Whole Foods, or any other major specialty food retailer, is a huge step for any aspiring food manufacturer. Given the crazy competition among small food producers, being accepted into a large specialty retailer is akin to a high schooler getting into a top-choice college. However, unlike college where...

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Q&A With the King of Coconuts

(0) Comments | Posted August 7, 2013 | 4:36 PM

One of the most important lessons for a brand new food company is to make friends with other entrepreneurs in the industry. Like a nerdy freshman in high school, we at Bandar Foods have been trying to make friends with a number of people in the space who...

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5 Insider Secrets of the Fancy Food Show

(1) Comments | Posted July 10, 2013 | 9:35 AM

Holy marinated artichokes, I'm full. We just attended the 2013 Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City -- our second time exhibiting at the caloric deluge. For those who've never had the belt-loosening fortune of attending the biannual Sugar & Fat Fest, it's the specialty food industry's most important...

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Stuff Each Other's Faces: The 2013 Valentine's Day Food Gift Guide

(0) Comments | Posted February 9, 2013 | 5:43 PM

Flowers are stupid Valentine's Day gifts because you can't eat (most of) them and it's unsatisfying to do a late-night jewelry binge. No, in 2013, the only way to impress that special someone is with calories, carbohydrates, non-GMO whole grains, and non-irradiated spices. This Valentine's Day, make sure you get...

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Is Indian Food Finally... Trendy?!

(6) Comments | Posted December 3, 2012 | 8:50 AM

It surprises me to say it, but Indian culture is becoming the next cool thing.

It's amazing to me because, for the longest time, the "cool" Indian kid in class was the one parroting swear words in his funny accent. But Indian culture has started to take off lately due...

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To Always Smell Like Onions or Not -- The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Your Food Product

(0) Comments | Posted August 27, 2012 | 2:24 PM

For those of you who have followed our first few posts, we've been providing (hopefully) amusing tidbits to those thinking about starting a food company. Now let's just say you have an awesome salsa recipe that you've spent months perfecting. Everyone goes nuts for it and your Aunt Doreen swears...

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We're like the Twitter for Hot Sauce: If Food Companies Pitched Themselves Like Tech Startups

(3) Comments | Posted July 26, 2012 | 4:27 PM

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Bandar Foods is the Indian Version of Sriracha rooster sauce. Bandar means "monkey" in Hindi -- so instead of Vietnamese rooster sauce -- we're Indian monkey sauce!

Boom -- that's our five-second sales pitch. You see, Dan is based...

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Lie to Your Friends - A Primer in Receiving Honest Feedback on Your Recipes

(3) Comments | Posted July 19, 2012 | 3:13 AM

Some while ago, a mutual friend served her "world-famous" sugar cookies for dessert at a dinner party she was hosting. She looked around proudly as we all hemmed and hawed. Not a crumb was left. Over cocktails, we followed the lead of her husband and talked through a go-to-market strategy...

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10 Things to Know About The Next Biggest Food Brand In The World

(15) Comments | Posted July 9, 2012 | 5:19 PM

1. We're starting a hot sauce company -- and it's primed to be the next biggest brand in the world. Seriously. The Oprah-iPad-Lebron of the condiment world. It's going to innovate how people eat food forever and we'll soon be on the cover of Forbes next to Richard Branson and he's going to be... like... cowering to our creative genius and I'm going to have a badass grin while... you know... sitting on top of a rhino with my pecs rippling - oh yeah, I'm not wearing a shirt... yeah... and we'll look like huge hitters and then we'll get our own Food Network show and then our own movie. Does anyone else hear the Star Wars theme song thundering in the background? I do.

2. Being a food entrepreneur is going to be sweet -- and it's a simple, sure-fire 3-step process.

Step 1: Develop a tasty recipe
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Badass picture on the cover of Forbes

3. As a brand new company, we're a long, long way from Forbes. Sure there's the upcoming rhino and the pecs, but we're in it for the long haul. We're optimistic, driven by a passion for food, and just naïve enough that we hope to influence American eating habits. Our products taste awesome, and our friends seem to like them, so why not try this out - right? Although in philosophy we're no different than full-bellied children who think their mothers should open a restaurant because she makes the bestest pancakes in the whole world, we are also just starting to see the enormity of the challenge of starting a food business. We're terrified. We're pumped. Let's do this.

4. Who are we? We're two normal dudes who became friends in grad school and loved to bounce crazy ideas off one another. We've both previously worked on the periphery of the food world, but lined up more conventional jobs in the business universe after graduation (consulting and internet startup). We are slowly figuring out hot sauce as we go.

5. How did this start? The idea for Bandar Foods, our burgeoning company, started when I asked an Indian restaurant in Philadelphia for hot sauce to spice up my takeout tikka masala and was met with confusion. Wait -was there no Indian hot sauce? But Indians adore spicy food! Lalit, my co-founder who hails from Mumbai, informed me that instead of "traditional" hot sauces, Indians use spicy chutneys called achar (pickles) to spice up their food. These extremely tasty achars are ubiquitous throughout South Asia but are limited in the US to specialty grocery stores. Sounds good - but as a white kid from the suburbs, I was intimidated by these chunky, oily, jarred chutneys. Boom - an idea was born!

6. We are the Indian version of Sriracha Rooster Sauce. Let's turn these flavors into condiments that Americans would actually know how to use and grow into one of the first mainstream Indian-American food brands. Spicy sauce, big dreams. So we pureed the chutneys down and put them in squeeze bottles. We put a monkey on the bottle because, well, monkeys are awesome and we wanted people to remember the product. Instead of rooster sauce, we're monkey sauce.

7. We've been at this for two years to get to Square One. We knew it'd be hard getting into it, but we still didn't expect that it would take us two long years of recipe iterations, FDA research, label redesigns, chemistry tests, business plan redrafts, and borrowed money just to get to the point where we're ready to sell. We are currently raising money by fulfilling preorders on Kickstarter so we can fund our first batch and get started (something we highly recommend to all other aspiring food entrepreneurs). Once we produce our first batch, we hope to push the sauce out through all possible channels.

8. We want this blog to be a live guidebook for the successes and failures of a startup food product company. We'll share interesting stories from farmer's markets to kitchen messes from experimenting with new products. To arrive at our current seedling stage, we've been fortunate to hear tips, tricks, and cautionary tales from other food entrepreneurs which have proven invaluable. We know a number of friends who make awesome popcorn, chickpea snacks, chocolate energy bars, or any of the dozens of jerkies, pickles, salsas, and other artisanal foods. We're learning as we go and want to help any other aspiring founders get off the ground, into the kitchen, and onto the shelves.

9. Please feel free to reach out to us with any comments or questions. We're not always sure what we should be writing about - so please tell us what you really want to hear!

10. Did we mention that we're raising money on Kickstarter?! Check it out and feel free to preorder from our first batch so we can have something worth talking about in this blog! Shameless plug... we know.

NEXT POST: The best ways to get honest feedback from friends about your recipes.

Thanks everyone!
Dan and...

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