Earlier this week I met Pritesh Mody, the brains behind World of Zing, the UK’s first contemporary Food and Drink Emporium which launched recently in September. World of Zing bridges the gap between recipe and ingredients supplying some of the most specific items to ensure that you end up with the most authentic dish possible. From Aji Amarillo Chillies used in Peruvian dishes to Grape Molasses use in Palestinian cooking you can find those special ingredients which not even the biggest mainstream supermarket stores have in their world food section. The range of products very much reflect the trend of adventurous foodies and contemporary eating and drinking habits such as Korean sauces and pastes; a cuisine which has very much spiked in popularity.
World of Zing however has more to it than just supplying unique ingredients; its creator has an unbelievable mixture of food and drink which is truly in his blood. His grandfather started the GOF (Gandhi Oriental Foods) cash and carries, coincidentally a cash and carry I grew up right next to in East London, supplying an extensive range of Asian ingredients since the 1960’s. Following on from his grandfather’s footsteps Pritesh has created a business which acts as a middleman and platform for food and drink artisans selling not only their products but also supplying the producers with the raw and rare ingredients needed to make their hot sauces, premade rubs, jams and chutneys.
With a professional background in the drinks business working in marketing for large distillery firms, Pritesh has reflected his experience through the innovative concoction of aged barrel cocktails. Bottled and premixed Negronis and Manhattans have been created by working with mixologists and world renowned bar agency, Fluid Movement. For me, the drinks are a real highlight and a unique product. I was doubtful at first as premixed cocktails, to me, are usually cheap bottles of ambiguous fluids collecting dust in supermarket shelves. However the aged barrel Negronis are flavoured with World of Zing’s own home made bitters with lavender. Combined with the ageing process in Bordeaux barrels this classic cocktail has a unique sweet taste and lingering bitterness and none of the burn of the alcohol. Of course, I couldn’t resist buying a bottle myself!
After visiting World of Zing HQ and meeting Pritesh and his team I think this innovative company is wonderfully gastronomic and it’s smart; an evolving business which adapts itself to consumer food and drink trends and I like that. To give you a better flavour of the World of Zing I interviewed Pritesh:
Food and drink are obviously in your blood, what was the turning point for you in taking the next step to starting World of Zing?
I come from a family of spice merchants, so food has always been a huge passion of mine. However, I took on a career a as a marketing consultant in the drinks industry, which really was every bit as fun as it sounds! World of Zing is essentially the culmination of all of my food and drink experience. I conceived the idea way back in 2010, but the recent burgeoning rise in interest for both artisan produce and ever more exciting ingredients from around the world meant that the timing was just right to launch World of Zing now.
If you could describe World of Zing in three words, what would they be?
Innovative, accessible, zeitgeist
What makes World of Zing different to other gastronomic online retailers?
The World of Zing range brings together produce from the country’s most exceptional food and drinks artisans alongside the finest spices, herbs and seasonings, essential for recreating dishes from around the world.
Customers can expect to find everything they need to add a touch of “Zing” to their home dining – including tongue-tingling BBQ sauces made by the most popular street food vendors, Peruvian chillies, Middle-Eastern spice mixes and even more fun items like bespoke popcorn seasonings. We are also the only business to cater to the needs of drinks enthusiasts, particularly with our in-house aged cocktails.Equally important is that we are also a proper bricks-and-mortar business that people can actually see and experience for themselves – whether it be our HQ in Mile End or our various market positions around London.
With a range of ingredients from around the world how do you go about sourcing these rare and fascinating ingredients?
I must confess to have something of a head-start here as my family have been dealing in fine spices for almost 50 years and are now one of the most respected spice merchants in the country. As such, I have been able to take advantage of an established and top quality supply network to source some truly exotic and exciting ingredients.
What is your favourite food product at the moment that you are selling?
Wow, that’s a tough one, simply because I really did spend months eating my way around London effectively curating our range of products. However, I’m really enjoying Korean food at the moment so often find myself adding Gochujang chilli paste into everything I cook!
Another tough question, but again, our drinks programme was designed around my favourite tipples – not self-centred at all 🙂 A sophisticated night with friends normally starts with Negronis and ends in the Manhattan, whilst a more boisterous night starts with the Rum Punch and continues to be fuelled by our potent Martini!
If you want to buy some of their aged barrel cocktails, hot sauces, rubs and other products you can go online at www.worldofzing.com or if you’re up for a walkabout on a sunny (or rainy) day, head down to Brockley Market on Saturdays or Wapping Market on Sundays. See you there!