By Jaspreet Kulair
“If my parents can travel from India not knowing a word of english and still set up their very own business anyone can” – Karamjot Singh a student from Thames-mead at the age of 20 spoke with pride of his parents accomplishments after deciding to move to Britain. Karamjot along with his older Brother, Mother and Father run a quaint Indian cuisine catering business from their very own home.
35 years ago Karamjot parents- Balwinder Singh and Rajwinder Kaur emigrated from India in search of a better life in England, with their first child on the way and little in they way of money, Balwinder found a job in a factory and quickly adjusted to life in England. Karamjot explained “ I remember my Father seemed rather content with his life here, but my mom would always tell us stories of India, looking back I could tell she missed the culture and vibrance of her homeland”.He recalled how Rajwinder would never be as happy as she was on their family trips back to India, “She had adjusted to England rather well, she had found a community and made friends but to her it wasn’t the same as being back home, she would always try and enforce a sense of culture in our home”.Precisely 11 years ago Rajwinder began sharing her home made food with her community, “Dinner was is my favourite part of the day, my mum would spend all day in the kitchen, it would remind her of home and its where she is happiest” Karamjot explained. In the beginning other family’s that had also emigrated would come over for dinner to enjoy Rajwinders food, but as the community began to grow as did the reach of her cuisine.
As her two sons grew older Rajwinder thought it time to take advantage of the communities love of her food and named her soon to be catering company ‘Taste of India’. “ I was around 10 years old when my mum decided it was finally time to officially brand and sell her food, in the beginning it was just a takeaway style business, my mum was the only chef and would work out of her kitchen, while my brother Jasveer and I would make deliveries having just got his drivers licence” remembered Karamjot. The unique idea around Karamjots family business was the authenticity of the food, Indian cuisine is a competitive market, especially in London with a curry house around every corner. “My mums food wasn’t like all the other takeaway restaurants, it was real homemade Indian food, you wouldn’t find a korma or chicken tikka on her menu”, it was evident Karamjot was overwhelmed with honour when speaking of his mums achievements as well as her unique style of cooking.
As the business grew Rajwinder was able to branch out into catering, booking jobs for small Indian weddings and parties while still maintaining the takeaway sector of the business. Karamjot recalled how this reminded Rajwinder of home, “She loved catering events, she would befriend a lot of the guests, it gave her a further sense of community”. As the profits of her business grew as did her age and her ability to keep up with the overwhelming amount of requests she was receiving.”After a while the business down sized again, we keep the takeouts local and take requests for events if the timing is right” he explained. The family had opportunities to expand and even hire help yet these ideas did not appeal to Rajwidner,“ My mum couldn’t envision anyone else running her business, she sees it as her baby and she has accomplished what she had set out to do, which was to build a community around her food”. The business albeit small is running strong, with Rajwinders sons as part- time drivers.”Although I wasn’t a integral part of the business while it was at its peak, I feel as though its given me something to aspire too and be inspired by”.