NEW DELHI: “Beginnings are a seductive necessity,” wrote Manan Ahmed Asif in his book “A Book of Conquest.” It is this curiosity for beginnings that makes Munaf Kapadia, 28, so interesting.
Why did a guy with an MBA from a top business school in India, who was doing well as a Google marketing executive, decide to leave everything behind and start selling samosas? It was not a sudden epiphany but a fun experiment that changed his life.
During a family gathering in late 2014, it occurred to him to start a kitchen at home and invite people over to taste the cuisine of the Bohra community.
This, he thought, would keep his mother from idling away her time watching soap operas and gossiping. His mother Nafisa, a great cook, agreed to take part.
“We belong to a community where food is very intrinsic to us, and our delicacies aren’t known outside our community,” Kapadia told Arab News.
“It occurred to us (the family) that my mom is a fantastic cook and she enjoys it. Since we couldn’t afford to open a restaurant, we started inviting people over every Saturday and Sunday to eat at The Bohri Kitchen (TBK). That’s how our journey began.”
Initially Kapadia invited friends and acquaintances, but through Facebook and word of mouth the kitchen became a roaring success within a few months. People started befriending Kapadia so they could enjoy the dining experience.
“Luckily for us, there have been no downs for us, only ups, since we started,” he said. The project started consuming all his time as demand grew and his interest deepened.
So decided to bid adieu to his life as a Google professional after working there for four years. “The most exciting thing is that I’ve grown up a lot over the last few years because of this new journey. This gave me confidence to give up my job at Google,” he said.
His parents were initially apprehensive, but they started supporting him once he and TBK started getting attention from the media and Bollywood.
“When my parents started seeing my name in the media and saw that popular people are taking notice of the kitchen, they felt reassured,” Kapadia said.
Popular names in the Mumbai film industry, such as directors Farah Khan and Ashutosh Gowarikar, started visiting his home.
TBK started catering to Bollywood parties and doing home deliveries. Instead of just weekends, it started operating every day.
While TBK offers the full range of Bohra cuisine, among the most popular items are mutton samosas, raan, mutton biryani, jumbo chicken biryani, khichda, chicken tikka biryani, chicken dum biryani and mutton chops.
Next month, Kapadia’s brainchild will celebrate its second anniversary. “I plan to open a bigger kitchen where we provide much more variety. We plan to hire people from the hospitality and food industries who have expertise in managing a kitchen.”
He is currently searching for an appropriate venue. “Branding is important, and we don’t want to lose our niche in the rush for success,” he said.
“A few years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined that my life would evolve like this. My horizon is bigger now and my vision much broader. I’m really cherishing the moment.”