by Ted Scheffler
A Talented Chef & Nice Guy
I have known Houman Gohary, chef/owner of Good Karma restaurant in Park City and owner of Instant Karma Artisan Foods for more than 20 years. Our kids had play dates together when they were young. He’s an immensely talented guy, and one of the nicest you’ll ever meet, to boot. Among his many talents is that he is a virtuoso guitarist.
I confess to being totally addicted to Houman’s Instant Karma Vindaloo Sauce. It’s an incendiary sauce that makes my eyes water and my nose run, but I just can’t get enough of it. Other Instant Karma products - all of which are vegan and gluten-free - include fresh hummus, naan, daal with spinach and tomato, saag with garbanzos and butternut squash, aloo channa vindaloo, persian rice with dill and lima beans, bademjan (eggplant) dip, green chili chutney, and others.
Artisan-prepared, Vegan & Gluten-free
Instant Karma creates artisan-prepared Indian and Persian foods. According to Houman, “Our products are fresh, all-natural, health-conscious, vegan, and gluten-free. Quality ingredients, attention to recipes, care in services, and creating value for the customer are the foundation for Instant Karma. Promoting local and ‘Cooking with Passion and Integrity’ is our goal.”
Classically trained as a chef who worked in some of the finest restaurants in the world, Persian-born Gohary explains how Instant Karma came to him as a business idea. “In 2009 when the stock market crashed, the first thing people cut out of their budget was entertainment and going out to eat. All of the sudden, my [restaurant] sales declined, and I was very close to closing the doors to my Good Karma restaurant. I knew people liked my food but could not afford to come purchase it in the restaurant. So, I made it easy and accessible for them to get it elsewhere. Also, I was faced with a very hard decision to downsize. My team members were like a family to me and I didn’t have the heart to lay them off, so I proposed to my staff the idea of helping me to make and package our artisan vegan/gluten-free products and sell them at the restaurants, grocery stores and farmers markets. This way I didn’t have to lay my staff off and helped the Utah economy grow a little.”
Local, Local, Local
As part of Gohary’s commitment to supporting local businesses like his own, he says “We are locals. We buy local and sell local. I purchase seasonal produce from local vendors and gardens whenever possible. We are part of Slow Food Utah, Local First Utah and Utah’s Own movements.”
When asked about future goals, Houman has both short- and long-term ones: “My short-term goal is to educate consumers about preservative-free, ready-to-eat fresh and diverse products. My long-term goal is to have a presence online with Amazon/Whole Foods or other companies and increase my distribution channels.” He cites his family and brother-in-law Mahmood in Toronto in particular as giving “lots of good advice” regarding the tough times that operating an independent business can bring saying, “The tough times come and go but tough people stay the course.”
Instant Karma products can be found in Park City grocery stores, at Good Karma restaurant, Riverhorse Provisions, Westgate & Canyons markets and the Park Silly and SLC Downtown Farmers Markets.