Wow! Can everyone say POWERHOUSE!! Lavanya Mahate has set a new standard for powerhouse entrepreneurs and a higher bar of what everyone can achieve. Lavanya was born in Chennai, India and moved to the US with her husband who had been offered a position in Utah. She was just 23 years old with 2 young children and ready to seize the adventure that life had to offer. In India, she had graduated with a master’s degree in communication but could not obtain a US work visa. However, Lavanya didn’t just sit idly by waiting for life to happen. She began her post-graduate degree at the U of U in Marketing. After graduation, she still didn’t have a work visa so she began volunteering at the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce to continue to show her commitment to being a productive citizen and contributor to her family and community.
After volunteering for two years, every day, for eight to nine hours a day, Lavanya learned some very big lessons about commitment and service. She took her daily service as an opportunity to learn from some of Salt Lake’s best entrepreneurs and honed her skills until she was ready for the next step. She asked the Salt Lake Chamber to sponsor her work visa and they were thrilled to do so as she was now a proven winner with vision. Lavanya went on to work for the Chamber for eight years and was appointed to Director of The Women’s Center! She knew she was an entrepreneur at heart and would ask herself every day, “What do I really want to do?” She remembered her childhood filled with turmoil but the happiest times were around the dinner table sharing food. In her heart, she knew this was her passion to create this for others and she was willing to make mistakes to find her mission.
Thus was born her first Saffron Valley location in South Jordan offering the finest Indian food. Her goal: Bring people together to break naan (Indian bread), and share the love around the Indian table. Plus to empower other women that anything is possible! She has definitely shown that as she now has four locations, plus a bakery, and NEWS FLASH....she just opened her first location in London, England!!! This incredible journey began in 2010 with her cooking classes and selling her signature spice blends. Yes, she surely stands as a beacon that anything is possible. At age 42, she still has lots of drive and vision for what’s next. The food reviews of her new London location have been so outstanding that she is ready to begin her next steps of restaurants in India and Singapore. Woot! Woot! Let’s all go to Singapore to try her next restaurant’s success!
I asked Lavanya where this kind of strength and vision came from in her life. Without hesitation, she pointed to the photos of her aunts on the wall and gave homage to them for inspiring her to be all she can be. Her thankful and humble heart told me she is always striving for more growth but this must be balanced with focus and gratitude for today. Lavanya is not your typical power woman moving through life and painting with a big paintbrush. Rather, she is a quiet visionary who moves through her daily life offering hospitality and love at every turn. To spend time with her is to spend time in the presence of grace and peace.
I recently returned from a food tour in India with some pretty amazing food but none of it was as good as her food cooked with love! To find the location nearest you, visit her website at https://www.saffronvalley.com. Congratulations, Lavanya Mahate, for being an American hero of perseverance and humble success! Namaste!
“In her heart, she knew
this was her passion...”