What Cooking With My Mother in Law Taught Me

Author Malah Bhatt the owner of Barfilicious

Mother’s Day is all about honoring the mother of the family and the influence of mothers in society. This year we wanted to share Malah’s inspirational story about how her and her mother in law joined forces and started a business!

Tell us about your business?

Our homegrown brand, Barfilicious, embodies all aspects of: family, taste, and making memories.

Barfilicious’ journey began long before its existence. Twelve years ago, I started working in the catering and events industry, where it was universally known that one developed a passion for fusion food – this is where the idea of Barfilicious was born. Homemade barfi’s, made with love that are melt in the mouth delicious!

In essence, Barfilicious embodies fusion and at the heart lies two aspects: the Asian Tradition and Modern Britain.

We all have that one member of our family that loves cooking and is filled with a fountain of knowledge when it comes to traditional family recipes. This person is my mother-in-law.

Blissfully unaware of her talent, my mother in law has been satisfying a very large family’s sweet tooth for years with her legendary barfi making skills. The ultimate seal of approval however comes from her mother-in-law, our lovely sweet Ba (grandmother), who is one of the cutest human beings on this planet.

Having learnt the foundations of what a good barfi consists of, what intrigued me further was how I could merge a sweet, traditional barfi to modern confectionary, which is enjoyed by the whole family. And this is when I began experimenting with chocolates and flavours.

Mother and daughter bonds are unmatched, what made you join forces and start a business together?

The whole family have always encouraged my mother-in-law to make and sell her delicious plain and almond Barfi, as her recipe is so unique and the taste is just mouth-watering. This is not something that had ever really interested her, she was happy just making Barfi for her nearest and dearest however, with my love of cooking and creativity I started experimenting with lots of various flavours to cater to a wider and younger generation.

I started incorporating Oreo and M&M’s into my mothers-in-law Barfi recipe at special events and it was a huge hit, not only for the older generation who traditionally love Indian sweets but also with the younger generation who are typically not keen on traditional old school sweets. Thereafter we started getting requests to incorporate certain flavours into our barfi for other peoples events and with the blessing of my mother-in-law, and her fool-proof recipe she encourages me start up a family business. Over the years we have spent so much time cooking and developing new recipes together, to us its not just a business it about family, love and spending time together.

Advice to other Mother and Daughter teams?

My mother-in-law and I bonded over our love of cooking, we never set-out to start up Barfilicious, it just happened. Its hard for many Asian girls getting married and moving into another family, where things are always done a bit differently and expectations tend to be high, I found that being able to bond with my in-laws really helped set the foundation to the relationship we have today.

Malah’s Key Advice for Starting a Business
“Be honest, be understanding but ultimately, be happy.”

Your key piece of business advice to anyone thinking of getting started?

Its all about your passion, drive and determination. You don’t have to know everything about owning and running a business, a lot comes through time and experience. As long as you are doing something you are truly passionate about and willing to give it your all, that really the only thing that matters.  

It’s also really important to take onboard customer feedback and use this as a tool to develop and adapt to your customer needs and requirements. You are not always going to be able to, nor want to change your product to cater to each and every bit of feedback you receive but if you tend to have any common feedback, don’t take it as a negative, look at how you can develop your brand to keep your customers happy and coming back for more

If you would like to support a small business and taste some delicious sweets from East London, you can get in touch with Malah via Instagram and Facebook.

This article was written as part City Business Library’s Mothers Day campaign 2021. This year we want to support more people like Malah get their business started and grow. Our business databases can give you information and data that can help you with advertising, market research, company information, and industry factsheets. If you have already taken the plunge, we would love for you to join us at a seminar, our workshops cover digital marketing, business model canvas and planning, demystifying taxes and intellectual property to name a few. Visit our events page or website for more information.


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