Serina S. Bajaj, Ishpal Singh Bajaj and Ivana Tillich, the team behindRaisin’ the Roof, share with us a little about their latest venture.
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
Serina: Although I work in the fashion retail business, I’ve always been passionate about cooking and started my own vegetarian health food blog a couple of years back while living in Dubai. Then I got to meet Ivana, also an advocate for clean cuisine, and got her on board to help materialise a concept I had in mind for Kuala Lumpur (Raisin’ the Roof). All this wouldn’t have been possible though if it wasn’t for my extremely supportive husband, Ishpal, who invested not only his money but his time and trust in making this happen.
Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
Serina: We set out a mission to make gluten-free, refined sugar-free Pandan Chiffon cake – a Malaysian favorite – thinking it was going to be a breeze. It took us probably over 20 times to get it right!
Ivana: From a dancing and singing smoothie man, a stand up comedian dishwasher to a fortune telling chef – it never gets boring behind the scenes of Raisin’ The Roof.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
Ishpal: The best part has to be the satisfaction of seeing customers enjoy, understand and appreciate healthy eating. As well as seeing plates going into the kitchen empty. There isn’t a worst part yet! Every mistake, every time we falter, it’s all a learning curve. If it wasn’t for that we wouldn’t be here.
What’s your favourite meal at Raisin’ the Roof?
Ishpal: It would have to be the Sushi Bowl (our version of a deconstructed vegetarian sushi) accompanied by a bottle of Pistachio Rose moo-less milk. Only to end with our Matcha Lava cake served with our raw, vegan ‘NICE’ cream.
Serina: It’s definitely a tie between our Baked Pistachio Felafel Wrap & Sushi Bowl. My favourite drink is our freshly cold-pressed Passion Potion juice and as for dessert, it’s again a close call between our gluten-free, refined sugar free Pandan Chiffon Cake & raw, vegan Key Lime Cheesecake!
What’s one of the most memorable things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
Ishpal: The most nerve-wrecking thing for me so far was our Chocolate Lava Cake collapsing right before serving it!
Ivana: During our first week of trial before the official opening we had an unexpectedly high amount of people which made us panic a little bit but somehow despite of all the chaos we managed to pull through as a team!
The perfect day off would be…
Ishpal: Playing golf in the morning and watching an awesome movie with my wife in the afternoon.
Ivana: Yoga and a green smoothie in the morning, relaxing at the pool and a good book!
What do you do for fun?
Ishpal: Golf, golf and golf!
What’s something you’d like guests to know about Raisin’ the Roof:
Serina: At Raisin’ the Roof, we don’t count calories, we count the nutrients. We use only unprocessed, chemical-free ingredients to make wholesome and nutritious foods. We also want to show people that healthy eating can be fun, flavourful & fitting to modern lifestyles.
What’s your favourite (s) food & drink pairing?
Ivana: My favorite food and drink pairing would be Raisin’ the Roof’s wholesome Avocado Toast on freshly baked ‘Way Better’ bread with our energising dairy-free Vanilla Cashew milk. The perfect way to the start the day!
What’s your view on the KL food scene?
Serina: Being from Bangkok, I’m naturally a food lover and am accustomed to an explosive urban dining scene from road-side cheap-eats to uber-trendy restaurants. For me, KL has perfected the art of street food but there’s still a void to be filled in the fine dining scene. The casual coffee culture in KL is also evidently fast-progressing with cool and quirky coffee shops popping up all over the city. There is however a lack of genuine healthy eateries in KL which doesn’t include those that claim they are healthy just because they use certain organic products and serve vegetarian food. This is exactly where Raisin’ the Roof comes in. With the global health trend moving towards Asia, we feel that it’s a great time to introduce the concept of really healthy, really simple, really good real food.
What’s in store for Raisin’ the Roof in the upcoming months?
Ivana: We have a lot of exciting plans for the upcoming year such as plenty of delicious and nutritious dishes and products as well as the launch of two more stores – but we don´t want to reveal too much, so follow us and stay tuned for more surprises!