Down to Cook Founder and CEO, Trishna Saigal, started her healthy eating journey in college. Campus food made her sick so she had to figure out how to eat well on a tight budget. Each week she would take her suitcase down to the local health food store and stock up on what she could find in the reduced and damaged section. Then the experiments began! Mushy mangoes became yummy granola bars. Whatever misshapen veggies she could find became ingredients for a pot of Indian food.
Her love of experimenting with food transitioned to her studies, where she went on to earn a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, specializing in complex fluids and emulsions. Her research dealt with how food is structured – how the proteins interact with fat and how the texture of food affects flavor. This led to her first job formulating, of all things, ranch dressing! She discovered how to reduce the fat content, while maintaining the creamy goodness, which is no easy feat!
From there, Trishna joined the plant-based food movement at a vegan food startup, where she made vegan milks, yogurt, cheese and fake meats. These products were highly processed, which made them expensive, and they often were not very healthy. That was when it hit her: shaping plants to try to mimic animal products was unnatural. It always felt off. It was time to accept plants for who they are and to get back to her veggie-loving roots, so she started Down to Cook.