Crafting distinctive South Asian ice cream in NYC

Pooja Bavishi



Pooja Bavishi is the founder and CEO of Malai, an artisanal ice cream company with flavors inspired by her South Asian heritage including aromatic ingredients like ginger, rose petals, saffron and cardamom.

While earning her MBA from NYU, Pooja was inspired to create Malai by her love of desserts. To launch the business in 2015, she signed up for food fairs all over New York City and sold her first scoop, a signature orange fennel flavor, just three weeks after graduation. Four years later, Pooja opened her first store in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood.

In 2020 Pooja was the winner of an episode of Food Network’s Chopped Sweets and was named one of Inc. Magazine’s Female Founders 100. Pints of her prize-winning flavors can be found online, in select grocery stores and at a seasonal ice cream cart on Manhattan’s High Line Park.

In 2023, she received a Community Advantage loan from Accompany Capital to support the opening of a production facility in Brooklyn, NY and a retail storefront in Washington, D.C. While expanding, Pooja continues to produce all Malai products in Brooklyn, earning her the Accompany Capital Made in New York Award in 2024.