Nilgai Foods Pvt. Ltd was started in Mumbai in March 2011. The company provides a unique blend of fine-dining experience and gourmet grocery shopping services under its Café Pico brand. The gourmet packaged foods of Pico are manufactured by the company under international standard and hygienic conditions. While replying to Anurag More through email, Arjun Gadkari, co-founder & president, Nilgai Foods, marketing activities, innovations and so on
Brief us about your company.
Nilgai Foods Pvt. Ltd was started in Mumbai in March 2011 by my partner Abhay Jaiswal and me. We were both passionate about food and came together to share our culinary experiences and create something new. Our mission is to create nutritionally balanced, everyday food and make it readily available to everyone. That’s how Pico happened.
Through our stores and under the brand name Pico, we provide a unique blend of fine-dining experience and gourmet grocery shopping services. At Pico, we offer a superlative shopping experience where we serve a carefully curated international menu and sell gourmet packaged foods of the highest quality, which we manufacture under international-standard hygienic conditions. We are collaborating with renowned international agencies to bring the latest food design and presentation concepts to Indian customers.
Pico has been set up with the promise to bring the best gourmet flavours from around the world to every food lover. One no longer needs to traverse the globe to taste world cuisine. From seasonal menus to everyday cooking, care is taken to handpick products and ingredients.
Pico operates in 4 different styles with one common passion – serving international delicacies made out of nutritional, high quality and fresh ingredients. Pico Gourmet Kitchen that offers a high-end dining experience, along with full range of retail products, Café Pico where one can linger on Bistro Lunch, ideal for catching up for quick business lunches, Pico Express that allows food on the go and Pico Events for catering services.
Tell us about your latest venture.
We have just opened our café at Phoenix Market City, Mumbai. Café Pico at Phoenix Market City (PMC) is a spacious 1,500 sq ft outlet, 50-seater indoor café, where food lovers can relax and enjoy nutritious quality international gourmet cuisines in a vibrant ambience. Food aficionado in the city can now experience an array of world’s finest cuisines in a friendly and youthful setting. In addition to the wide range of the quirkiest and most succulent foods carefully picked from across the world, Café Pico also offers its customers a retail experience at the newest outlet.
Tell us about your upcoming plans and strategies to promote the brand.
There are a few more outlets in the pipeline here in Mumbai. We have recently opened our outlet in Phoenix Market City Kurla will and we will open in Versova just after the rains. We are reaching out to a young, tech-savvy population that is growing rapidly in India. As a result we are moving away from conventional marketing activities and focussing more on innovations that have proven successful in the West.
Tell us about your expansion plans.
We currently have our outlets in Mumbai and plan to concentrate on opening more outlets in the city and increasing our footprint. In the near future, we will also be opening in other cities in tier- II cities.
Brief us about the gourmet cuisines you offer.
Kitchens at Pico promise to bring the best gourmet flavours from around the world to every food lover, flavours that linger on even after the meal. From seasonal menus to everyday cooking, care is taken to handpick products and ingredients, just as an artist would pick his hues to complete a masterpiece.
Translating our passion and experiences into super yummy food is our lovely head chef Nicole Gonsalves Pereira. After having studied and worked in India, Nicole went on to specialise in French cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu in London. She has worked with Gordon Ramsay at the Savoy Grill, and has separately worked at Rules, London’s oldest restaurant. Nicole completes Pico’s core team. At Pico, she is not just our head chef but also the lead innovator, constantly researching ideas to ensure that she finds and creates the right recipes to cook international food using local produce.
Pico offers fresh, nutritious and luscious cuisines that includes salads, sandwiches, pastas, soups, mains, smoothies, desserts and a whole lot more and is the ultimate destination in the city providing food connoisseurs and diners a plethora of international gourmet cuisines. Other than providing some relishing deli foods, we also offer a superlative shopping experience.
What makes you different from other players?
Pico strives to bring the best of the world cuisines to your plate. The best cuisines, cooking styles make have made it to the Pico Kitchen. When we say global cuisine, we ensure that all cuisines find adequate representation on our menu.
At Pico, we handhold our guests through a journey of pureness translated from the recipes to the ambience. We are passionate about creating an environment where each of our guests has a great time. We welcome you to Pico - a creation more than a restaurant.
We are in the process of creating and establishing sustainable procedure not only in the company but also in cooking.
Our kitchens work toward reducing as much wastage as well. We use our imagination and creativity to reuse ingredients wherever possible. So, for instance, we turn our whey into bread or soup, we dry our old herbs and use it as powder to flavour our food; and we turn old celery stalks into celery salt.
What are the new innovations happening in bakery and desserts segments?
The bakery and dessert segments are growing by leaps and bounds. At our end to be able to manage and increase our offering in this section we have now opened a dedicated offsite bakery space that has a full bakery team.
Our bakery team is constantly researching and innovating in this space and right now we are launching new products on a monthly basis. In the long run, we are looking to develop diversity in our fresh products, long life bakery and experimenting with the ability to scale up some of our product areas.
What are your offerings in bakery and desserts segments?
From the quintessential gooey chocolate cake to the more eclectic pavlova, you will find that our bakery offers everything. From the simple multigrain bread to the baguette or the focaccia, we offer a variety of breads. For desserts, a guest can choose from a large variety of options like brownies, gramma cake, meringue, cup cakes, cheese cakes, German beer coffee cake, biscotti, cookies etc. Like our food, we try and bring forth a truly global representation in our dessert and bakery offerings.
What are the new trends you are witnessing for bakery and desserts?
Today, everyone enjoys a dessert, either after a meal or in the course of the day. People, though choosy about what they eat are also willing to increase spends on desserts. More spends translate to the fact they want more premium options and variety in these options.
In India, the trend for bite size desserts is slowly catching up. It’s hard for people to turn down these