Pardeep Vilkhu – P.O.W.E.R.ful Women
Owner/Director of Catering, Ashwin Inc. dba Saffron nola
Q: What can you tell us about your company?
Ashwin Inc. dba is a hospitality company specializing in restaurant and catering operations, events and packaged food production. The restaurant menu is based on the family’s Indian heritage, local roots and international influences.
Q: When did you launch?
Catering company was launched in 1998 on Gretna Blvd. as a side business while I worked as a psychologist for the State of Louisiana. After I retired, Saffron nola was launched on March 2011 as a once a week restaurant on Gretna Blvd. The success of the restaurant resulted in launching Saffron nola on Magazine Street in August 2017.
Q: How were you inspired to start your business?
Encouragement from friends based on our unique cuisine inspired us to start catering and the restaurant on the Westbank. The push to start Saffron nola on Magazine Street came from our son and daughter when they realized the potential of the business.
Q: What were the biggest obstacles and how were they overcome?
Initially, staffing was the biggest obstacle. Hiring the right people and using their personal and professional affiliations to reach talented individuals was a challenge. Ongoing training and positive role modeling has resulted in an amazing group of staff members who contribute to the success of Saffron nola.
Q: What local resources have you used?
We use as much local seafood, produce, meats, spirits and artisanal products as we can.
Q: What is your big focus right now?
Our biggest focus now is empowerment amongst our staff across all positions.
Q: What is the best advice you ever received?
The best advice I have received is to work hard, but at the same time, to relax and enjoy life.
Q: What success have you had in the last year?
James Beard: Nominated Best New Restaurant 2018
Eater Nola: Restaurant of the Year 2017
New Orleans Magazine: Restaurant of the Year 2017
Q: What has been the biggest benefit of being a POWER member?
The biggest benefit of being a power member has been in meeting other women entrepreneurs and knowing that Fidelity Bank is there as a partner in supporting our current business and future endeavors.
Q: What does POWER mean to you?
To me, POWER means to achieve ones dreams with integrity, hard work, determination and dedication. The power of our family unit with each member’s unique strengths has been one of the most important contributors to the success of Saffron nola.