Sonia’s Kitchen is a small, Toronto-based company that provides event catering, as well as private home food deliveries. The focus of the company is to create a memorable experience for every client.
Owner Sonia Sengupta says that the philosophy of her brand is to “make good food more accessible to people, based on their individual needs, tastes and schedules.” Here is what she shared with FAJO‘s readers.
1. What is your professional business background and education?
I studied kinesiology in university, with the intention of going into the field of rehabilitation. Over the years, I have worked primarily with children in different capacities and also spent some time doing therapeutic recreation. But all along I had a passion for cooking.
From a very young age, I have always enjoyed being in the kitchen, watching and learning different skills from my mother, aunt and other great cooks in the family. I have done different cooking classes with friends and family, and I’m always either reading cooking magazines, cookbooks and blogs, or have the cooking channel on in the background.
It’s easy to draw inspiration and get ideas for different things to try in the kitchen. Studying kinesiology gave me a keen sense for the importance of leading a generally healthy lifestyle, and food is an important part of that. As such, I enjoy taking ingredients and making the best possible food from scratch.
2. What was the turning moment for you, when you realized that entrepreneurship is something you wanted to pursue?
I’ve always loved cooking and feeding people. Coming from a family of phenomenal home cooks, many gatherings and memories have had food at the centre of them and it has showed me that food/cooking/enjoyment of it is as much about the experience as about what you’re serving.
While I have always been the “cook” in my group of friends, in March 2013 a close friend asked if I could start providing them food on a weekly basis. This was the turning point that gave me the confidence to take a passion and turn it into a career and lifestyle change.
After that, I had a few opportunities to cater events and began finding more clients via word-of-mouth. It was amazing to see things start organically. I am excited to continue to nurture it and see it grow.
3. How long have you been running your business for?
I started preparing meals in March 2013, but officially launched Sonia’s Kitchen in November 2013.
4. Please describe your business mantra.
To make food and the experience of enjoying tasty and healthy food more accessible.
Food is a very personal thing. I believe it is important to stay open, and to continue to grow based on what people are looking for. As such, my food options are guidelines rather than a list of the things that I do. I want people to feel that the food works for their personal tastes, needs and lifestyles.
5. What has been your biggest success to-date?
I have been fortunate to have a variety of experiences to help expand into the different avenues of the catering business from creating family meals, office lunches and parties with finger foods, to full course plated dinners and art gallery shows. I have enjoyed the dynamic nature of what I do.
My greatest success is when people tell me they love what they have eaten! Of course, I was especially excited to be the catering sponsor for FAJO‘s Summer Social this year. It was a fun event with an amazing energy and crowd.
6. What makes a good caterer?
I believe a good caterer is someone whose food you enjoy and who is open, flexible and easy to work with. A good caterer gets excited about cooking, food and nutrition.
7. What is your favourite catering dish and why?
I have a Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad that I have made for a variety of people; that is one of my favourite dishes to prepare. It’s a simple dish, but comes together very nicely and is very balanced. It’s something that is slightly different, but can still accommodate for people who aren’t looking to step out-of-the-box too much. Also, I have found that it is a dish that even people who are hesitant at first to try, always end up loving it; it’s requested all the time. It really is a great culinary response to the bad rep that Brussels sprouts tend to get!
8. Please describe your typical day.
Alongside running and expanding Sonia’s Kitchen, I also provide childcare for an active two-year old. She tends to be my biggest food critic! If I can get her to eat her vegetables, that is a culinary success. My day involves balancing her care with trips to the butcher, grocery stores and markets. Luckily, she loves food shopping and I can take it as an opportunity to teach her about different foods. My evenings are typically spent in the kitchen preparing for family, home and office deliveries, and/or events on evenings and weekends.
9. What makes your catering company unique?
I think one thing that makes my company unique is that I don’t have a set menu. Rather, I provide a thoughtful and creative food experience, working with the clients to create something that complements what they are looking for.
10. How can potential clients find you/get in touch with you?
You can visit my website (www.soniaskitchencatering.com) or give me a call (647-388-4841). Also, you can see more recent pictures of food that I have been preparing by following me on Instagram (SoniasKitchenCatering).