Upon spotting Vik Khatwani behind the counter, they settled for a chat about his journey establishing one of the country’s leading vegan cafes. Born and raised in Mumbai, Vik initially ran a jewellery manufacturing business for nearly a decade before transitioning into the food industry.

His journey took an unexpected turn when he spent several years in the US conducting research and development for his jewellery business. During this time, he embraced a vegan lifestyle, which was still a novel concept in India. Drawing inspiration from the burgeoning vegan movement in the US, Vik returned to India in 2014 with a newfound passion for plant-based living.

With a desire to introduce Mumbai to the delights of vegan cuisine, Vik embarked on the ambitious task of establishing Earth Cafe in 2019. Despite lacking experience as an entrepreneur, his determination and innovative spirit drove him forward.

Vik’s motivation stemmed from his belief that there was a significant gap in India’s food industry that needed to be filled. Armed with knowledge acquired during his time in the US, Vik meticulously planned every aspect of Earth Cafe’s menu, ensuring that each dish was not only delicious but also aligned with his vision of promoting sustainable, cruelty-free dining.

From the moment customers stepped into Earth Cafe, Vik wanted them to experience the essence of veganism through their taste buds. Signature dishes like the melt-in-your-mouth Better Chick’n Wrap, the irresistible Avocado Bruschetta, and the indulgent Veggelicious Pizza with vegan cheese quickly became customer favorites.

While Vik prides himself on creating dishes from scratch, he also actively supports the commercial vegan community by sourcing select ingredients from local vegan brands across India. This collaborative approach not only fosters a sense of community within the vegan ecosystem but also ensures that Earth Cafe’s offerings are of the highest quality.

As Vik and his guest conversed, he couldn’t resist sharing a surprise trial of his latest venture—an upcoming vegan pan-Asian brand. This new addition to Earth Cafe’s repertoire would not only operate as a standalone brand but would also be integrated into the menu at their new outlet in Juhu.

The prospect of expanding Earth Cafe’s reach excited Vik, who envisioned the 80-seater space in Juhu becoming a landmark destination for vegan dining in the area. With ambitious plans on the horizon, Vik and his team of 70 dedicated individuals were kept busy managing the cafe’s operations and exploring new avenues for growth.

Despite his busy schedule, Vik relied heavily on the support of his family—particularly his wife, Pooja Khatwani, and his son, Aryan. Aryan, at just 13 years old, displayed an impressive understanding of vegan cuisine and actively contributed to Earth Cafe’s food trials with his innovative ideas.

During the challenging period of the lockdown, Vik’s commitment to community welfare shone through. Earth Cafe initiated a free vegan food drive, providing up to 400 meals per day to senior citizens and individuals in need. Additionally, the cafe partnered with Sunny Leone and the US-based NGO Million Dollar Vegan to distribute over 2000 meals in Dharavi.

In Vik Khatwani’s journey from jewellery entrepreneur to vegan cafe owner, one thing remained constant—his unwavering dedication to promoting veganism and fostering a sense of community through food. As Earth Cafe continues to grow and evolve, Vik’s vision of creating a more compassionate and sustainable world through plant-based dining remains at the heart of everything they do.