Our perceptions create our reality. Properly preconceived notions shape our positive outlook. Add to it the right blend of precise projection and perfect marketing, creating a progressive mentality rooted in an accurate belief system. A mindset that rightfully links health to the food we eat and healthy food to tasty cuisine––the way at Santé Spa Cuisine, Founder and Director Sonal Barmecha and her expert team, including Chef Shailendra Kekade and business advisor Agnelorajesh Athaide have accomplished.
In a society where ‘healthy’ is often equated to ‘tasteless,’ Sonal challenged this belief and set out to prove that healthy food could be both wholesome and delectable. Thus, the visionary concept of Santé Spa Cuisine was born, a genre of cuisine that resonated with people seeking a balance between health and flavour.
Santé Spa Cuisine captured the hearts of food enthusiasts, including non-vegetarian aficionados who found delight in exploring Santé’s diverse and enticing offerings. Sonal’s dedication to empowering women also shines through her ventures, as most Santé franchises in India are owned and operated by women. Collaborating with women-led businesses, Santé provides them with a platform to reach a wider audience, contributing to women’s empowerment.
Devoted to Nature
At Santé, the commitment to purity is unwavering. With the tagline “Healthy Food, Organic from Nature to Your Plate,” each dish is a testament to their devotion to authenticity. Artificial elements and preservatives are shunned with a resolute purpose – to craft dishes that echo the wholesomeness of their ingredients. These ingredients, sourced meticulously from local farms, weave a symphony of freshness in every bite.
Organic is more than a buzzword at Santé; it’s a philosophy embraced with fervour. Chef Shailendra’s expertise and Sonal’s dedication converge to create a menu that not only tantalizes the senses but also respects the nourishing essence of nature. This commitment to quality shines through in every dish, resulting in an unparalleled symphony of taste.
Nestled within the heart of India’s bustling cities, including Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune, and Chennai, Santé Spa Cuisine beckons like a sanctuary. The moment you step through its doors, a sense of tranquillity envelops you. The minimalistic and soothing ambience, an outcome of Sonal’s artistic eye, ushers you into a world where wellness and taste harmoniously coexist.
Wholesome, fresh, and nutritious – these attributes form the cornerstones of Santé’s culinary philosophy. It’s a journey from farm to plate, where the right ingredients are expertly combined to create dishes that embody balance and delight. The menu isn’t just a collection of items; it’s a carefully curated selection that caters to a wide array of preferences, from invigorating salads and balanced main courses to indulgent desserts that whisper guilt-free pleasures.
The diversity of Santé’s offerings extends to a plethora of shakes made from soya, almond, coconut, and fresh A2 milk. Guilt-free desserts sweetened naturally with organic honey, jaggery, and stevia grace the menu, ensuring there’s something for everyone. From infants to senior citizens, Santé’s thoughtfully crafted menu embraces all ages, bringing them together in the joy of nourishing food.
Santé Spa Cuisine isn’t just a restaurant; it’s a destination where culinary artistry and wellness intertwine. With its locations spanning across vibrant cities, Santé invites you on a journey of delicious wellness that caters to your body and delights your senses. Nature’s bounty meets culinary finesse, and as you step into Santé, you embark on a voyage where every bite affirms vitality.
It all started with a visionary in health and culinary delights, Sonal. She is a leading restaurateur, passionate fitness enthusiast and health connoisseur whose journey from scratch to becoming a pioneer in the culinary world is nothing short of inspiring. As a chartered accountant with an ardent desire for nutritious dining options, Sonal embarked on a mission to redefine the notion of ‘healthy food.’
As a trailblazer in the restaurant industry, taking us back to the beginning of her journey, Sonal shares the motivational factors that inspired her to step into this dynamic field. “I attended a military school with a disciplined schedule and a focus on healthy food. The school’s colonel believed that our diet shapes who we become. This upbringing influenced my eating habits significantly in my growing years. I was exposed to nutritious and healthy hostel food throughout my childhood, rarely eating outside or indulging in junk food.”
After marriage, when Sonal moved to Pune, she realized there was a lack of the kind of food she had grown up with. That’s when she decided to open a restaurant serving similar healthy food, catering to people like her who appreciated such cuisine. “I studied chartered accountancy, but my heart was always into building something game-changing in F&B. And with Santé, I realized that dream,” adds Sonal.
Rewriting the Rules of Healthy Cuisine
Thus, in a world where health and culinary artistry intersect, Sonal became the innovator, rewriting the dining rules. With an unquenchable passion for health and an insatiable love for great food, she embarked on a culinary journey that gave birth to the phenomenon known as Santé Spa Cuisine.
Sonal’s story is about a health enthusiast who refused to compromise on flavour while seeking nutritious dining options. Frustrated with the lack of wholesome choices, she decided to be the change she wished to see. This relentless pursuit led to the birth of Santé Spa Cuisine, a movement that resonates with food connoisseurs and general foodies alike, even capturing the hearts of non-vegetarian enthusiasts who found themselves enchanted by the exquisite flavours.
As the driving force behind Santé, Sonal embarked on a mission to fill the gap in the culinary world. She envisioned a haven where health-conscious individuals could indulge in flavoursome creations without compromising on their well-being. With the collaborative spirit of Chef Shailendra Kekade and the enterprising Agnelorajesh Athaide, the concept of Santé Spa Cuisine was shaped into reality. Agnelorajesh, a luminary in education, real estate, and various industries, brought his ethos of ‘Learn, Earn and Return’ to the culinary table. Together, they nurtured a seedling of an idea into a flourishing oasis of healthy indulgence.
Uncompromising Nutritional Principles
As the Managing Director of Santé Hospitality Pvt Ltd, La Magia, and Yumma Swami, Sonal’s commitment to using the freshest locally sourced ingredients is unwavering. There is no room for artificial supplements or refined products in the Santé kitchen. Embracing organic ingredients and cooking with love, Santé crafts each dish just as one would prepare a meal at home.
That is how Santé Spa Cuisine has emerged as one of The Best Indian Firms Offering the Finest Vegan and Jain Products. Sharing their guiding philosophy that has propelled their tremendous success. Sonal says, “Indeed, our guiding philosophy is deeply rooted in Jainism, which I follow.”
Jainism aligns well with scientific principles, emphasizing factors like not eating after sunset and being cautious about consuming certain foods during monsoons. Sonal further found that the dairy industry often involved adulteration, which led them to embrace veganism. “We realized there were excellent substitutes available without compromising on nutritional value.” Hence, they’ve expanded their offerings to include not only vegetarian but also vegan, gluten-free, Keto, and Satvik options under their umbrella, catering to a wide spectrum of dietary preferences.
According to Sonal, the vegan and Jain food products landscape continually evolves. Yet they ensure that Santé remains adaptable and ahead of industry trends, providing healthy and tasty products. “We prioritize offering healthy and tasty food as our core criteria. Initially, people hesitated, thinking that healthy food might not be flavourful, but we changed that perception through word-of-mouth and consistent quality.”
Sonal adds that she just focused on serving good food to people. “I used to talk to them and educate them.” Also, they continuously studied market trends, and when they noticed the rising popularity of Asian and Japanese cuisine, they incorporated healthier versions into their menu. “We are committed to staying updated and evolving our offerings to meet market demands.”
Sonal’s leadership style is often recognized as a driving force behind Santé achievements. Shedding light on her approach to leadership and team building within the organization, she says that leadership relies on qualities like confidence, dedication, focus, and passion. “I believe in continuous learning through reading books and listening to motivational talks,” she says. She leads by example and is hands-on in understanding and running the restaurant. To complement her skills, she has assembled a competent team with various roles, including head chef and operational heads. They foster a culture of growth and skill development, where each team member plays a crucial role within their ecosystem.
Sonal further states that the essence of the vegan food industry lies in seamless procurement operations and creating nationally benchmarked products. This is where Santé strikes a balance between operational efficiency and standards adherence. Sonal mentions that the best thing they do is emphasize making everything in-house to maintain quality and consistency. This includes items like cashew cheese, sauces, dips, and more. “We make everything in-house. We conduct extensive research and development to standardize our recipes. By sourcing directly from farmers and avoiding intermediaries, we ensure the authenticity and quality of our ingredients,” she adds.
Also, sustainability and eco-friendliness have always been inherent to their philosophy. Sonal informs, “Whenever I see people using plastic (I travel to the US a lot, and I see people using tissue papers and plastic), I feel as to why people are not caring for Mother Earth. We use sustainable practices in all aspects, from decor to cutlery and sourcing directly from farmers. When you enter Santé, you will see that right from the décor to cutlery and, for instance, the way we make our straws, everything is sustainable. We make our straws with banana leaves. We try to use as natural products as possible and to source our ingredients directly from farmers. We aim to minimize our carbon footprint by using natural products wherever possible. Our commitment to sustainability is visible in every aspect of our restaurant.”
The Unique Vision of a Nutritious Cuisine
Highlighting their commitment to excellence and innovation, Sonal says she doesn’t come from a restaurant background, as she is a Chartered Accountant. No one in her family has experience in the restaurant industry. The success of Santé can be attributed to two main factors. Firstly, when they started Santé seven years ago, they recognized a gap in the market for healthy food options, despite initial scepticism from people questioning the appeal of their unique vision for nutritious cuisine. She recalls, “We heard a lot of ‘who would eat this Ghassphuss wala khana.”
Secondly, they began with a small 40-seat restaurant to minimize initial investment. This allowed them to focus solely on customer satisfaction without worrying about revenue. Rather than comparing themselves to other restaurants, team Santé followed a recipe for success within the industry, continuously innovating to build their unique brand.
In the realm of the food industry, technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing processes and products. When asked how they leverage technology to optimize their functioning and stay ahead in a digital age, Sonal says, “As I said, learning is always a process for us. We have a good ecosystem. We have a team of people who care for different aspects, and I direct them. We stay updated with the latest technologies and adapt them to our needs.”
For instance, they have realized the potential of digital marketing, which is at its peak and in demand more than ever. With that said, Sonal personally doesn’t manage all of these things, but she creates an ecosystem “Where we see that the technology is used to full potential to get the best results.”
Another instance is when they recently implemented a more advanced point-of-sale system with inventory tracking and customer insights. They ensured technology enhances their efficiency, from kitchen operations to customer service.
Earning Exceptional Distinction
According to Sonal, the workforce is the cornerstone of every successful organization. “So does it is at Santé. We foster a culture of growth, skill development, and empowerment among our employees. We’ve built an ecosystem with a clear hierarchy and roles. Each team member contributes their expertise,” says Sonal, who leads by learning continuously and seeking expert advice. Recently, they’ve added a strategic partner, Agnelorajesh Athaide, to guide them further. They believe in creating an environment where everyone plays their role effectively, driving growth and development.
Although being a leader in India’s veg and Jain food sector, Santé faced its share of challenges. Yet the team’s resilience and ingenuity triumphed over adversity. “Our main challenge was competing with restaurants that serve liquor and non-vegetarian food, which generate higher revenues, as the market for the two is bigger,” says Sonal.
However, they recognized their niche market and focused on providing unique, healthy options. They innovated continuously and didn’t compare themselves to others. Today, they’ve successfully carved their space in the industry and continue to thrive.
Further addressing the critical factors like safety, hygiene, health, and well-being, Santé emerged as a brand to trust. Sonal insists, “Cleanliness and hygiene are fundamental to our operation. Cleanliness is something that I have inculcated from my childhood from my mother, so cleanliness was always my priority. I feel so proud that anytime my guest wants to walk into our kitchen, I can take them and show them how their dish is being cooked. Our kitchen is meticulously maintained, with regular cleaning and organization. The cleanliness and hygiene are maintained with utmost priority. We source ingredients carefully and maintain the highest standards to ensure our customers’ safety, health, and well-being. I eat in my restaurant every day, and I can’t think of a better example than that.”
Looking to the future, Sonal reflects that after seven years of being in this industry, now and then, they have to raise their hand and tell people that they are still steady and strong. She adds, “We plan to expand our offerings through innovative ventures like “Sarva,” focusing on healthy versions of fast foods. We have just launched our cloud kitchen with pizza brands. We’re constantly updating our menus and exploring new avenues. For instance, changing the menu seasonally for Ganesh Chaturthi, winter, and summer menus. We have our niche customers who are our regulars, who make Santé their lifestyle, but to attract more people, we must keep updating ourselves, and that’s an ongoing process. FMCG, international expansion, and ongoing innovation are all part of our vision to remain at the forefront of India’s vegan and Jain food landscape.”
An Embodiment of #HonestlyHealthy Spirit
Embodying the spirit of #HonestlyHealthy, Sonal and her Santé Spa Cuisine continue to transform the culinary landscape, proving that health and indulgence can harmoniously coexist. Her vision for a healthier, happier society drives her initiatives, making her an exceptional leader and a beacon of inspiration for health-conscious and food enthusiasts alike.
*Agnelorajesh Athaide, Strategic Partner
In collaboration with Sonal Barmecha and Chef Shailendra, Agnelorajesh has ventured into the food industry with Santé Spa Cuisine. Agnelorajesh Athaide is an author, social entrepreneur, educationist, and business mentor who believes in learning, earning and return.
He founded the St. Angelos group of companies’ operative in Education, real estate development, food and hospitality, restaurants, e-commerce platforms, fashion Apparel, fashion jewellery and an architectural platform.
Agnelorajesh is the chairman at Santé Hospitality Pvt Ltd.
*Chef Shailendra Kekade
Sonal Barmecha, in collaboration with Chef Shailendra, formulated and confirmed the concept of Santé and its Spa Cuisine. After weeks of brainstorming, research and Chef’s valuable suggestions, Santé Spa Cuisine formally came into being with massive support. During Santé’s initial phase, Chef Shailendra reviewed many of the dishes before presenting them to the patrons. He is active with food and the design, which led to a minimalistic and soothing ambience for the place. His experience over the years also contributed to the success of spa cuisine, which is now a rage among our patrons.
So, whether you’re a fitness enthusiast, a discerning food connoisseur, or someone seeking a culinary adventure that aligns with your well-being goals, Santé Spa Cuisine extends a warm welcome.
Come, experience the harmony of nature on your plate, savour the symphony of flavours crafted with love, and elevate your senses to a wholesome delight. À Votre Santé – To Your Health and Wellness!
Read More: Click Here