Brands We Love: Tasty AF Chili Oil

We love Aya Forster’s chili oil! Aya was born and raised in Japan and her mother and grandmother’s homemade Japanese comfort food continue to influence her cooking style. She says Asian food should be approachable and wants to show others that they, too, can learn how to make everything from dumplings to noodles to sushi. She took courses at Le Cordon Bleu in Tokyo and other classes in Tokyo, Kyoto, and NYC to polish her culinary skills. Today, she continues to learn from fellow chefs, cookbooks, and even from students who take her cooking class. We posed a few questions to this food lover and entrepreneur!
 
What brought you to this business? 
It all started when I made a small batch of my chili oil in my kitchen and I started sharing it with people taking my cooking classes, and my fellow chef friends. Through word of mouth, people started knocking on my door for my chili oil, and they all encouraged me to start selling it. That was the beginning of my journey.  
 
Why are you passionate about this product? 
I constantly get very heartfelt messages from people. A few examples: “Thank you for creating such an amazing product.” “I use your product on my eggs every morning.” “I sent your chili oil to my best friend who lives in Texas.” When I imagine someone out there using what I created on their food, it gives me so much joy.  
 
How has the Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center helped you? 
I didn’t know how/where to start my food business. There’s so much that goes into food products, and so many regulations I needed to follow. I also didn’t know how to scale my business. The WMFPC/FCCDC helped me connect with wonderful experts, and provided me with great resources. They helped my small business tremendously.  
 
What are you looking forward to in the coming six months/year? 
I am working on adding another product that is compatible to my existing product, chili oil. I’m also hoping to find right distributors so I can grow my business even more.