BENGALURU: Chef Ishmeet Singh Chandiok is familiar to diners in the country from his stints at Hyatt and JW Marriott. But when he started cooking for his dog Harley, he thought of venturing into the dog food business. This led to Harley’s Corner which is India’s first ready-to-eat wet dog food brand. The chef, who is a dog lover and a certified canine nutritionist, has a range of gourmet food for canines including activated charcoal treats, beef jerky, subscription boxes for meals, India’s first ‘DIY’ Doggy Cake Kit and much more. We speak to him about the brand:
What’s on the menu for the pets? Tell us more about the subscription boxes and the DIY and Doggy Cake Kit.
Harley’s Corner is India’s first ‘Ready to Eat’ Wet dog food brand. We have taken the goodness of a meal prepared daily for dogs and made it easy and convenient for the pet parent to access and use. Our subscriptions are designed to take away the pet parent’s hassle of having to keep remembering to order their dog’s food. Each pet parent knows the trouble they go through when the food their dog regularly consumes is out of stock and getting their dog to eat other food is a herculean task.
Once a pet parent subscribes, we send them the food on a monthly basis with a 4-5 day overlap to ensure that their dog never runs out of their yummy and nutritious food. Based on the multiple food offerings, our subscription plans are divided into Basic, Advanced and Premium plans. These comprise various combinations that the pet parent can choose from. The plans are for 1, 3 and 6 months and come with multiple offerings like free shipping, free treats, etc.
The DIY Dog Cake Kit is something under development. After being a baker to the dogs in Mumbai, when I moved to Bengaluru, I realised I had left a lot of dogs missing their cakes. Hence I thought, “Why should a dog have to wait for a baker to make their cakes, why can’t their pet parent make it?” Hence, I thought of starting this. While this does eat into my fresh cake market, the fact that I can get more pet parents to bake fresh cakes for their dogs is worth it.
What sets your brand apart from the other dog food, especially from a nutrition point of view?
Harley’s Corner is the only brand that uses “100% Human Grade Ingredients” in all our meals. This means that the meat, vegetables and rice used are of the quality fit for human consumption and not animal consumption. This in itself takes the nutritional value, taste and quality to far superior levels over any other brand of dog food. All the meals are nutritionally balanced as well and 100% safe for all dogs.
What are some of the challenges? Especially when compared to cooking for human guests in a restaurant?
Dogs are creatures of habit – and their food choices also reflect that. Any pet parent will vouch for this. Getting them to change their food can get very difficult.
While this is true, dogs also get attracted to food through smell before taste. If the smell interests them, they will try the food. So while we use the latest technology to ensure the food is 100% preservative and additive free, the challenge lay in being able to capture the sensuous aroma of the food when cooked.
I personally feel dogs are far better customers than humans – they don’t complain about masala, taste, salt, etc. If they like the food, you are rewarded with a large sloppy lick and a set of puppy eyes imploring you to feed them some more.
How has the response been so far?
The response to Harley’s Corner in Bengaluru has been really good. This city definitely has more aware and conscious pet parents who understand what their dogs’ needs really are and why they are important to the health of the dog. The city also has its share of romantic canine love stories, we had quite a number of orders on Valentine’s Day for doggies professing their love for their besties as well as pet parents making their dogs their Valentines.