Natasha Shrimanker: Providing Home-Cooked Vegan and Vegetarian Recipe Meal Kit

Growing up in a family business environment, Natasha Shrimanker exhibited innate business acumen alongside a passion for entrepreneurship. She has always envisioned herself as a business owner. “Growing up in a family business environment, entrepreneurship was in my blood from day 1. I have worked many jobs after graduation but always felt something was missing, I craved doing something of my own, and constantly had several ideas brimming at the same time. The excitement of thinking something and sharing it with the world has always excited me,” says, Natasha Shrimanker, founder of Gourmet Veg Platter.

Natasha completed her schooling partially in Dubai and in the United Kingdom. She has a degree in business and media and an MBA degree. “I have always been a foodie all my life and would love to spend time making snacks for my family. Being it a simple cheese toast with my own spice mix, or being a simple chocolate chip milkshake I developed the love and passion for food at the age of 10,” recalls, Natasha. “When I went to university I was tired of eating out and started experimenting more with recipes recalling things I’d have watched my mother cook. Soon, I became the designated cook for my friends.”

Natasha Shrimanker
Natasha Shrimanker, Founder, Gourmet Veg Platter

The Story of Gourmet Veg Platter

Gourmet Veg Platter (GVP) started as a Facebook page several years ago where Natasha cooked vegetarian recipes with a gourmet twist and used the platform to post them. She aimed to change the concept of the limited food options that vegetarian and vegan food had and create recipes using fine and simple ingredients. During the pandemic, she started hosting online and offline cooking classes and she noticed that people would follow cooking videos and spends a lot on ingredients for one-time usage. This inspired her to develop a brand catered only to vegetarians and vegans with various recipes and measured ingredients.

While taste is paramount while eating good food, Natasha believes that it is also important when one curates recipes. To begin with, Natasha ensures that her customers have the right equipment to prepare the recipe at home. In addition, she customizes the recipe as per the diet and taste of the customers. Furthermore, after the customer receives their meal kit, the team at GVP contacts them via Whatsapp and helps them during their cooking process in case of difficulties. In the future, the team plans to supply a cooking video to the customers with the kit.

The mission of GVP is to be the one-stop place to enjoy a meal, host cooking classes, and also take back home meal kits (uncooked) with recipes. It aims to build a team with other passionate cooks and encourage them to be a part of the team to develop their recipes. Natasha says, “The menu and cooking classes will keep changing. We are lucky to be living here in the UAE where we are introduced to diverse cultures, and ingredients and are living in a constant fast-paced environment.”

The biggest challenge with GVP was the initial setup of sourcing ingredients without overspending, packing, and pricing. The team also faced challenges in delivering the kits as some items such as yogurts and cheese can go bad if it’s not stored correctly and delivered o time.

Natasha’s Advice to Budding Entrepreneur

According to Natasha, a good leader is someone who recognizes talent and encourages it. Delegating work and entrusting projects to the right people and minds will help the company grow positively. People cannot do everything, it will wear them out. “My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is, “DO NOT GIVE UP” it is ok to have many ideas, it is ok to try them and it is equally OK to FAIL. If you truly believe in your service or product then it will work. It’s just a matter of time. Today our environment is more competitive as every idea may already have been established. But note that there is a market for everyone,” advises Natasha.

She also advises doing market research, and host trials and tests with friends and family to get honest feedback. And most importantly keep up with the constant trends by educating yourself on the product/ service. It’s always good to stay on top or in line with the changing and developing market.

Future Aspirations

GVP aspires to develop a formal cooking studio with a restaurant structure and offer uncooked recipes with ingredients. The company’s goal is to expand its online global presence by offering vegan and vegetarian courses and information about nutrition and well-being. It also aims to develop budget-friendly recipes as opposed to misinterpretation of vegan food being costly. In conclusion, Natasha plans to tie up with corporate and groups with DIY kits and Corporate cooking classes.

Also a Health Coach, providing a holistic approach to individuals on living stress free and enjoying mindful eating. Organizing corporate and individual sessions.