WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES JUNE 10, 2021 21
goodies with neighbors during the COVID-19 pandemic
Bollywood shows for Indian radio
stations in New York, and a spice
manufacturing company that she
started last January.
For budding food-preneurs, Arora
suggests reaching out to QEDC, which
she said is a great resource thanks to
their mentoring and entrepreneurial
programs. They also have an incubator
kitchen in Long Island City.
“Queens is still a great place for
food — even with the pandemic —
thanks to entrepreneurs like Nupur,”
Rob MacKay, director of marketing
for Queens Economic Development
Corporation (QEDC), told QNS.
MacKay said Arora’s “great spirit
and energy” helped her sell her
“She cooks, she teaches, she leads
culinary lessons,” MacKay said. “It’s
been fun watching Queens Curry
Kitchen as it started as just an idea
and now it’s blossoming. Nupur is
going to have a restaurant soon, I
Arora also suggested the Tech
Incubator at Queens College. Under
the guidance of Ying Zhou, Arora met
many budding entrepreneurs locally
and discovered many resources available
to small businesses.
“Know your gift s, solve problems
with your product and/or service,
and build a network you can rely on.
Be authentic and know your ‘why’…
you will be able to fi gure out the
‘how,’” she said.
Arora also suggested to work from a
licensed, inspected facility approved
by the Department of Health to adhere
to the state and city regulations
and ensure safety for your clients.
“Also, taking the test for the Food
Handling license is super helpful for
every individual in the food business
to know the best food safety practices,”
Arora will be expanding into
catering for intimate events. In the
future, she’d love to open a cooking
school and set up a brick and mortar
“This community is everything
to me. I had an off er to set up a spot
in Hicksville Long Island, where
Indian community resides, but I
declined it because my heart is in
Queens. Heck, even my brand is called
Queens Curry Kitchen, so why would
I want to be anywhere else?” Arora
said. “Queens is life, Queens is love.
The variety of deliciousness that we
have here is so unique, we owe it to all
the nationalities that call it home. We
can eat a new dish from a new culture
every day in Queens, and still not run
out of options. I always say, ‘Live like
a king, but always eat like you live in
When the pandemic hit, Costa was
working at a nonprofi t job, which she
had transitioned into aft er years in
the food industry. In April of 2020,
she was suddenly laid off and was
having trouble fi nding another job
in the same industry.
“I was also dealing with the mental
health impacts of the pandemic,
which made it diffi cult for me to move
forward,” Costa recalled.
But, Costa found motivation by
merging her two passions: helping
people and baking.
“I didn’t have the time or courage to
start something on my own until the
pandemic hit,” Costa told QNS.
That changed when Costa participated
in a nationwide online bake
sale, Bakers Against Racism, in June
“I was really excited to use my talents
to contribute to a good cause. The
success of the bake sale motivated me
to start baking weekly, especially
when people who bought during
the bake sale asked for more,” Costa
said. “Also, I really needed an outlet
to get me in a better mental space,
and this was the perfect blend of
baking and giving back to the Queens
Baked off erings include sourdough
loaf, a naturally leavened, long fermented
“country” style loaf, as well
as a sourdough focaccia with rotating
toppings. She also always off ers cinnamon
and sugar brioche morning
buns, which are her most popular
Every week, the Culinary Institute
of America graduate likes to make a
rotating item, which is usually seasonal,
or “just something fun” she’s
working on. In the past, Costa has
made olive oil cake, s’mores cookies,
doughnuts and, more recently,
Costa’s baking days usually begin
between 3 or 4 a.m. and don’t end
until about 9 p.m.
“The days I’m baking are a little
crazy,” Costa said. “My two volunteers
(my boyfriend Andrew, and my
delivery man and father, Gus) help
me pack everything up.”
Deliveries or pickups usually happen
around the night. On Saturdays,
when Costa’s done baking, she still
has to prep for the following day and
“I usually work until dinner time,
and if I’m lucky, I’ll grab a short nap!
I try my best to get to bed by 9:30 p.m.
and then wake up at 3 a.m. and do it
all over again,” Costa said.
Costa, who is registered as a home
processor through New York State,
said the hardest part about the business
so far is the capacity and space,
as she’s been “gradually taking over”
her whole apartment.
“I always want to produce more
products, but have had to recognize
what my limits are, which can be
diffi cult,” she said. “I would love to
graduate to a bigger oven, which will
hopefully happen some day.”
Costa said most of her customers
are from Rego Park and Forest
Hills/Kew Gardens areas, as well as
some folks from Long Island. Every
delivery helps her business donate
to Queens organizations and other
nonprofi ts — mostly to Together We
Can Community Resource Center
Inc., a volunteer-led nonprofi t serving
residents of Jackson Heights,
Elmhurst, and Corona.
Costa’s deliveries, which are kept
contactless and wearing masks, are
made between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30
p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Currently, local deliveries within 8
miles or so cost $2, which she donates,
with deliveries outside of that zone
typically a higher rate.
For more information, individuals
can visit her website at peaceloveanddough.
Costa said fellow budding food-preneurs
should work on QuickBooks,
in order to have a good sense of their
fi nances. She also noted it’s important
to make time for self-care.
“There have been so many days
where I’ve been overwhelmed by the
amount of work, but it always eventually
gets done,” Costa said. “Just go
for it! People have been telling me
for years to sell my baked goods, but
I never believed I could do it until I
got this push.”
Costa said the experience has
helped her believe in her abilities.
“Prior to the pandemic, I didn’t really
know many people in the community,
but this experience has introduced
me to a lot of my neighbors,”
Costa said. “My area is really great
because of the people. I feel like my
customers are the nicest people ever
and I feel really grateful to have the
opportunity to get to know them.”
Arora’s business has been growing since launching last year, and she continues to make delicious Indian vegan
dishes from her husband’s restaurant kitchen. QCK/viewfi nderphotography
Lemon blueberry scone with lemon
glaze Photo courtesy of Lisa Costa