A Telford businesswoman has scooped an award for her business venture less than two years after launching.
Lajina Leal, who runs Masala Magic in Telford, won the “Most Innovative Business Award” at the county’s first Always Consult Business Awards, sponsored by Santander.
The Asian cooking entrepreneur was nominated for the awards, which were held at Upton Magna Business Park, for her innovative pot of spice which she sells in outlets across the borough.
Mrs Leal, who runs her business from The Enterprise Hub in Telford, said she was overwhelmed to win the award and to receive such great feedback from the judges.
“Masala Magic was born out of a conversation with a friend who told me whilst sitting in an Indian restaurant that my meals were so much better than what they were eatimg and what they could enjoy on a commercial basis.
“My friend said we were going to cook a batch of Asian food and take it to a car boot sale the following week and if we sold out then I should set up my own business – we sold out so I did just that!” Mrs Leal, from Muxton said.
“From there I created the Masala Magic brand and the sales of the pots of spice went crazy and everyone wanted one or more after trying my food at food fairs and events.
“Now I am hosting regular dinner parties in people’s homes and teaching people who have never even cut up an onion before to cook their own curry, bhajis, samosas, chappatties and accompaniments. It’s been amazing.”
The Asian cuisine guru said she was now looking to expand the business further with corporate events and away day events at hotels and venues across Shropshire.
“I feel this is just the start for me and Masala Magic. I have an exceptionally loyal customer base and now it is about spreading that message further.
“Literally anyone can use Masala Magic due to how simple it really is – I do the hard work so the customer doesn’t have to but yet they get to enjoy a home cooked, authentic, healthy meal.”
Carol Ewels, director of Always Consult who launched the awards ceremony, said: “The team of judges was extremely impressed with Lajina’s passion, enthusiasm and drive for the business and the opportunity she had identified and then developed a product and a brand to fill the gap in the market. We wish Lajina every success.”
The mother of one, who is supported and inspired to achieve success in the business by her husband, Krish and 17-year-old son Sam. Lajina, admits she is often invited around to cook and teach one member of the family and then she disappears so her client can serve a first class meal and may not always admit that they had a helping hand!
“I love cooking, I love Asian food but it’s got to be good and Masala Magic gives everyone the opportunity to achieve that great cuisine,” she added.
Masala Magic attends food fairs and offers one to one classes, group cooking demonstrations with community groups, family cooking lessons, event catering for functions and corporate team building.