Cast your mind back to May 2018. I had recently made a big career change, going from the world of sales management in the Finance Sector, to becoming a Support Worker for CCP, a local Cheltenham based charity who do amazing things for the community.
A few months in, I still wasn’t satisfied with my working life. As much as I enjoyed being away from a stuffy office and actually working for a good cause, something was missing. It was at this point, I decided I needed to take the plunge and start my own business. I’ve always wanted to be my own boss, so now was a good a time as any. What would I do though?
Well, I’d been saying for many years that Cheltenham was lacking real Indian food. That’s not to say we don’t have some great curry houses. But most curry houses don’t serve Indian food! It’s like the UK’s best kept secret. All the delicious dishes I grew up eating were nowhere to be seen in any restaurants. Not even just in Cheltenham, but generally apart from a few, not many “Indian restaurants” in the country seem to serve traditional, authentic Indian street food or food which Indians actually eat at home. In fact, did you know that the Chicken Tikka Masala was invented in Glasgow?!
Whenever any non-Indian friends of mine came to an Indian event, they would always bang on about how good the food was and how different it is to what they had come to expect of Indian food. I mean, did you know that Indians rarely even eat naan bread at home??*
So that was it – I wasn’t much of a cook, but I knew there was an opportunity to introduce this familiar, yet so unfamiliar cuisine to the people. I asked my mum to write up some recipes of my favourite dishes, checked with my wife that she’s happy for us to live on a shoestring budget (again), read the instructions of how to use a hob, washed my hands and got to work.
Little did I know that in less than 6 weeks, I’d be launching The Indian Guy at a popular brewery where I’d actually have to ask people for money in exchange for this “amazing food”. Let’s just say, s**t got real… fast.
* It’s important to note that I’m from Gujarat, one of about 17,000 states in India (massive exaggeration, but hopefully you get my point). So a lot of my words are coming from the perspective of a Gujarati Indian and my opinion may differ to someone from Punjab, or Mumbai for example #disclaimer