2019 Oscars after-party will have a distinct Indian flavor: Gourmet ghee from Indian American entrepreneur Nazia Aibani

Ghee products from Gourmet Ghee.
Ghee products from Gourmet Ghee.

This Sunday’s celebrity Oscars after-party attendees will carry home in their goodie bags a jar of ghee from the New York-based Gourmet Ghee.

As people around the world intently sit in front of their TV screens to watch the Academy Awards, apart from the honors and the red carpet looks, there is something that remains a subject of intrigue and interest: the coveted and often mysterious Oscars goodie bags that the celebs get to take home.

For years, guesses have been made about the contents and estimates have been drawn about the exorbitant cost of these glam bags. It is said that the Oscars goodie bag in 2018 contained stuff worth a whopping $100,000!

This year, things seem to have gotten more diverse. And believe it or not, after this year’s Oscars after party, set to take place on February 24, the celebrity guests will walk home with coveted goodie bags that will contain, in addition to all things expensive and elegant, a jar of ghee. Yes, you heard it here first. The desi ghee you all grew up with is the new glamazons’ favorite.

Lynbrook, NY-based, Gourmet Ghee Co. will be supplying jars of their specialty gourmet ghee for 200 VIP guests, who would be receiving the Oscars after-party goodie bags. Indian American Nazia Aibani, who founded the company along with her husband, Steven DeFrank, is understandably excited about this association.

Nazia Aibani
Nazia Aibani

“We are associated with one of the largest companies that makes gift bags for the Oscars and other award shows,” she told the American Bazaar, explaining how her ghee got into the good books of the rich and famous. “They approached us and felt our product had a great presence in the world of edible favors. They wanted to change things up and thought a jar full of rich golden ghee butter would be perfect to add to their prestigious event.”

Aibani said Gourmet Ghee’s one of most gourmet products will be in the bag. “We have chosen our most desired flavor, which is a black truffle ghee butter,” she said. “We could have chosen a number of flavors for this event but since the Oscars is a black-tie event, we figured black truffle would fit just fine.”

Asked if her little jars would make to the very talked about goodie bags, Aibani said, “The Oscars stopped giving ‘personal’ bags to each and every celebrity, it was not only getting expensive but also controversial in a way with trips to countries that had certain political unrest. The bags that our products will go into will go to celebrities who attend the after parties from the Oscars as well as the academy board members.”

Even though the company has in a short time managed a star following. “When we first got an email inquiring about our products and such a prestigious event wanting to work with us, I was of course taken a back and it was a lot to take in,” Aibani said. “I was also very flattered that I could bring an ancient food from India that never got much attention at all. We are the first company to be a part of such a worldly event and we are doing it in a very classy way.”

Gourmet Ghee also has celebrity customers. “We cannot mention names for confidential reasons but we have sent baskets to Beyonce who also was recently in India, her manager Alan Floyd, celebrity wives, models, business moguls and more,” Aibani said. “A lot of our celebrity clients love our 24k gold ghee butter.”

Born in Bombay, Aibani moved to the United States in 1984, when she was 4, along with her family. After doing her undergraduate degree in business and marketing from Hofstra University, she worked in the television industry for Warner Bros Television and the Anderson Cooper show. Aibani launched her business in the summer of 2017. To promote her products, she has appeared on Dr. Oz show and celebrity chefs. On her website she says, “A lot of people ask me why I chose Ghee Butter? My answer is always the same… ‘If the woman of India were intelligent enough to make a superfood hundreds of years ago, knowing the health & beauty benefits. Then its long overdue for an Indian woman to represent it who knows the benefits; not just the basics.'”

Asked about the selection process to get her products on the ‘it’ list, the entrepreneur said. “There was no selection process, we were the only ghee butter company who was called. We always send samples for our clients to approve of, we did send samples over but not for the board to choose but for them to get a feel for our flavors. We send over our products usually one week before the show. The packaging for the event is a glass jar with a gold dust cap and a small card on the neck. We will be sending 200 jars in total and these will be given not only to stars but presenters, the board members, and movie directors.”

So, all you desis out there, the next time when your mom offers you another ghee chupdi roti, do not roll over your eyes. Because as you heard it, ghee is the new glam in America.


Freida Pinto’s initiative feeds hundreds with leftover food from the Oscars (March 3, 2017)

Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra dazzle at the Oscars (February 28, 2017)

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