Tiffin Good!

Vijs Rangoli


We did it. We went for broke and gutted our house --- while living in it. I know, I know: we were warned. Six months of washing dishes in a storage tub with the garden hose (sadly, I am not joking…), half-installed floors, a smattering of working light switches, and the ever-present troupe of contractors has the upcoming holidays seeming even more daunting.

With step-daughter Madeleine flying in for the week, I would have loved to have our new kitchen installed in time to cook up a gourmet’s feast, served atop a beautifully dressed table, using our finest china, and savouring it all. But it just isn’t going to happen. Rather, we’ll be squatting on paint cans, balancing paper plates of take-away (still having a good time, thanks to the company). So, in that frame of mind, I thought I’d look at some innovative take-away food packaging design. Because, hey, if I can’t have the gorgeous kitchen in time, I’d at least like the best looking indoor picnic I can muster.

When Vikram Vij, the Chef and Owner of Vij’s in Vancouver’s South Granville neighbourhood, chose to open a little sister to his world renowned, contemporary Indian restaurant, he got creative:

Rather than a simple café or delivery joint a la the 50-100 other pizza/burger/Chinese food restaurants going, Vij has created a take-away market of sorts. His idea? Rangoli, a ‘restaurant’ that serves up meals from the menus of Vij’s original restaurant in handy vacuum packed sachets (yes, folks, we’re talking super premium boil-a-bag). Made on site, the sachets are available refrigerated or frozen for the most versatility.

In bringing this product line to consumers, Vij connected with a design firm that was able to balance functionality with gorgeous looks, and offered something unique to the market. Not on the menu for this project was the standard grocery deli’s PET or restaurant take-away’s polystyrene or polypropylene containers that don’t effectively retain freshness or heat; aren’t environmentally healthy; and do zero for presentation.

The silver, vacuum-sealed sachets are patterned with a tone on tone repeating logo, and bear vibrant coloured labels lending an artful, modern feel. The packaging successfully expresses the style of Indian food housed inside (playful, current, innovative):

Vij creatively massages traditional Indian recipes to incorporate locally relevant meat and seafood and, though his relationship with the surrounding farming community, uses fresh, quality produce, benefiting one’s palate and health. At 300g each, the sachets are a perfect size to mix and match; choose from 17 make-you-weak-at-the-knees mains to build your delicious, cohesive dinner. And completely tote-able, toss a few of these into your briefcase for a lunch you’ll actually want to stay at your desk to eat; pack some into your rucksack to make that camping trip a bit more civilized; or simply drive home comfortably knowing there will be no new spill stains on the upholstery…despite taking those turns waaaaay too fast. Then simply heat in a microwave, boil in a pot of water or warm up in a saucepan for a tasty gourmet treat.

At least the perfection-seeking hostess in me can have something in this house looking (and tasting) wonderful!

Category: FoodYour Name