“Pivoting” became a buzzword during the pandemic as people altered course to adapt to the constantly changing conditions. Simran Savlani took it to new levels. In 2020, after years in the food industry – opening restaurants across Asia and Africa – the restaurant management graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris was ready to open her own establishment. Then Covid-19 struck, and she found herself stuck in India for six months under some of the strictest lockdown measures in the world. She got proactive. “Most people have had something taken away from them during Covid, and it’s always seen in a negative light, but I put a positive spin on it and decided I’d write a cookbook,” says Taiwan-born, Hong Kong-based Savlani , who set up her business, A Spark of Madness, in 2021, selling handmade-in-Hong Kong sauces. View this post on Instagram A post shared by A Spark of Madness (@asparkofmadness) “I never had plans or a desire to be a cookbook author – in fact, I’m notorious for not following recipes – I like to freestyle,” says Savlani, an ethnic Indian. “But it was a way to manoeuvre around closures so I started my cookbook during my first hotel quarantine in Hong Kong, in October 2020.” A Spark of Madness is a tasty collection of 116 recipes that blend vegetarian and vegan Asian staples. But her pivoting didn’t stop there. Covid-19 meant further travel disruptions and she was forced to do washouts – a week in Bangkok and a week in Singapore. “I did A Mad Dinner pop-ups in Singapore and Bangkok,” she says. “It wasn’t the easiest task because I didn’t have any F&B [food and beverage] connections in either city.” View this post on Instagram A post shared by A Spark of Madness (@asparkofmadness) Savlani also has plans to expand her sauce business, which for now is built on three products: Crispy Chili Oil (seven spices and five chilli varieties), Crack Sauce (the addition of peanut butter is gooey genius) and Caramelised Spring Onion with notes of ginger and sesame. Sweet tooths are also catered for with Spark Bark, which combines Sichuan peppercorns , rich chocolate and crunchy pretzels for the right amount of tongue numb. “I grew up eating See’s chocolates in Hong Kong and Fantasie chocolates in Bombay,” she says. “I love the old-school charm of chocolate, the ones that are not perfect but taste delicious.” Her new additions, which she plans to launch in July, have a cheeky alcohol twist but, for now, she’s not giving much away.