Chai, Entrepreneurship & the Asian American Experience w/ Poonam Ribadia (WBDP 32)

Today we are joined by Poonam Ribadia, she is a Manager for Curriculum Development in EdTech  and Founder, Owner of Rekha’s Chai Co.

We discuss Chai’s significance in Poonam’s life and culture, her experience building up her passion project and her efforts encouraging others to explore authentic aspects of Asian culture through cuisine.

Learn more about Rekha’s Chai co. Follow Poonam’s page and journey and feel free to order a kit for making Chai at home!

If you liked the podcast please give it a stellar rating and recommend it to a friend! Thank you for checking out the WoBistDude community.


00:00- Intro

00:56 – What is Chai?

03:58 – What are the ingredients in your version of Chai (infographic from Priya Krishna)

05:13 – Is there a difference between Chai and Masala tea?  

06:05 – Explain the significance of Chai to you, your family and your culture

08:22 – What sort of manifestations of Chai have you seen being presented to people in the western world?

10:31 – How did Rekha’s Chai co. come about?  

12:29 – What is something that people usually don’t have at home that is needed for Chai?

13:46 – How did you get mom to hand over the secret recipe?

18:08 – Chai wala, the stigma of the business back in India and challenging this while running the small business out of Brooklyn

22:27 – What is someone going to see when they unbox one of your kits?

24:27 – Please share your favorite lesson from this endeavor of starting your own small business

27:41 – Thoughts on American receptiveness to authentic cultural cuisines now compared to when you were growing up?   

31:46 – Talk about your thoughts on where you would like the project to go in general or share the way you view this project now.

34:14 – Book recommendation “Brave Not Perfect” by Reshma Saujani

35:13 – Share your thoughts on the Asian American traditional model of success      

Brain teasers

38:47 – If I gave you 500 dollars after this podcast what will you spend it on?

40:10 – What are you excited about for 2021?

41:53 – What is one weird habit that you have or a bizarre thing that you love?

43:18 – Does Michael drink chai?

43:51 – Learn more about Rekha’s Chai co. – @Rekhaschaico on Instagram.

Poonam is born, raised, and educated in New Jersey, and she currently lives and works in Brooklyn. She is a curriculum development manager at a leading edtech company; outside of her corporate 9am-5pm, Poonam runs a very small business that sells authentic masala chai kits inspired by her mum’s top secret recipe. Check out @Rekhaschaico on Instagram to learn more!

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