She’s a chef, who starts her day with Buddhist prayers and is a diligent believer of the faith. And it would not be surprising if Arpana Gvalani’s dispensation spills into her professional life, as an entrepreneur in the service industry who stresses on innovating and serving people, an healthier alternative to what we otherwise know as junk food.


Her Mumbai-based restaurant Gostana, is a twist in a conventional tale as it chooses to serve healthy burgers. Yes, you heard that right.


Gostana means four strings, of a guitar, or a garland. It is also an ancient Chinese city where the Buddhism of Lotus Sutra was preached, which is followed by Arpana Gvalani, chef and founder of the eatery.


Picture Credit: MidDay
Picture Credit: MidDay


Arpana says, “Prior to this, my friend and I used to set up clubs and restaurants for others. We were in Delhi for three years on a project, so we ate out a lot. That’s when we started to experiment on turning junk food in to a healthy option. So when we came back to Mumbai, Gostana was born.”


Elaborating on why their burgers are nutritious, she adds, “We only use whole-wheat or multi- grain breads. Our chicken is 100 per cent steamed. Also another example, our spinach burger uses a whole bundle of spinach (which we grow), for that we use compressed form of cooking, which keeps your nutrients are intact.”


Born and raised in a business family in Mumbai, Arpana says that both her parents were great cooks, but her father was the more patient one, when in kitchen. They inspired her to experiment with cooking from a very early age but she was confused if she wanted a career in photography, music or food.


“But after college it was very clear, food it was, and off I went to Australia to study at the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School,” informs Arpana whose favourite comfort food is Thai curry and tomato soup.


Apart from cooking, Arpana is also involved in the music scene in Mumbai.


“I do a lot of gigs to promote upcoming Indie artists. I’m also a committee member at the prestigious Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. I take care of the entire music programming,” she says.


Arpana has never been the one to believe in trends, but the chef feels that simple hearty food has always been around and always will. She doesn’t think much about what the future holds for her.


“But growth is always the goal,” she adds with a smile.