Munaf Kapadia: A Google exec who became a samosa seller

Munaf Kapadia: A Google exec who became a samosa seller
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Munaf Kapadia former Google marketing executive. (AN photo)
Munaf Kapadia: A Google exec who became a samosa seller
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Famous Indian dish Samosa offered with a variety of sauces on the side. (AN photo)
Munaf Kapadia: A Google exec who became a samosa seller
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Indian dish offered at Munaf Kapadia's restaurant (AN photo)
Munaf Kapadia: A Google exec who became a samosa seller
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Indian dish offered at Munaf Kapadia's restaurant (AN photo)
Munaf Kapadia: A Google exec who became a samosa seller
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Indian dish offered at Munaf Kapadia's restaurant (AN photo)
Updated 18 August 2017

Munaf Kapadia: A Google exec who became a samosa seller

Munaf Kapadia: A Google exec who became a samosa seller

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.”


Hong Kong orders thousands to stay home in two-day virus lockdown

Hong Kong orders thousands to stay home in two-day virus lockdown
Updated 23 January 2021

Hong Kong orders thousands to stay home in two-day virus lockdown

Hong Kong orders thousands to stay home in two-day virus lockdown
HONG KONG: Thousands of Hong Kongers were ordered to stay in their homes on Saturday for the city’s first coronavirus lockdown as authorities battle an outbreak in one of its poorest and most densely packed districts.
The order bans about 10,000 people living inside multiple housing blocks within the neighborhood of Jordan from leaving their apartment until all members in the area have undergone testing and the results are mostly ascertained.
Officials said they planned to test everyone inside the designated zone within 48 hours “in order to achieve the goal of zero cases in the district.”
“Residents will have to stay at their premises to avoid cross-infection until they get their test results,” health minister Sophia Chan told reporters on Saturday.
The government had deployed more than 3,000 staff to enforce the lockdown, which covers about 150 housing blocks.
Residents were seen lining up for testing at 51 mobile specimen collection vehicles parked in the area and for basic daily supplies provided by the government.
Hong Kong was one of the first places to be struck by the coronavirus after it spilled out of central China.
It has kept infections below 10,000 with some 170 deaths by imposing effective but economically punishing social distancing measures for much of the last year.
Over the last two months the city has been hit by a fourth wave of infections, with authorities struggling to bring the daily numbers down.
Stubborn clusters have emerged in low-income neighborhoods notorious for some of the world’s most cramped housing.
The district of Jordan recorded 162 confirmed cases from the beginning of this year to January 20.
On Friday, the city recorded 61 infections, of which 24 were from Yau Tsim Mong area where the restricted district is located.

On paper Hong Kong is one of the richest cities in the world.
But it suffers from pervasive inequality, an acute housing shortage and eye-watering rents that successive governments have failed to solve.
The average flat in Hong Kong is about 500 square feet (46 square meters).
But many squeeze themselves into even smaller subdivided flats — cubicles that can be as tiny as 50 square feet or even less, with shared bathrooms and showers inside aging walk-up buildings.
It is in these kinds of buildings where clusters have been located in recent weeks, prompting the first lockdown order.
In recent days health officials began carrying out mandatory testing in about 70 buildings in the area, but the government has now decided to test everyone so as to “break the transmission chain.”
The lockdown has created considerable confusion for residents.
The looming restrictions were leaked to the city’s local media on Friday but there was no official statement from the government until Saturday morning once the lockdown had come in overnight.
Some media reported seeing residents leave the area ahead of the midnight deadline while others said locals were frustrated by the lack of clear information.
Authorities said people who were not in the restricted area at the time but had stayed in it for more than two hours in the past 14 days must undergo compulsory testing before midnight today.
The area is also home to many ethnic minorities, mainly South Asian Hong Kongers, a community that often faces discrimination and poverty.
Earlier in the week a senior health official sparked anger when he suggested ethnic minority residents might be spreading the virus more readily because “they like to share food, smoke, drink alcohol and chat together.”
Critics countered that poverty and a lack of affordable housing forcing people to live in cramped conditions were to blame for the virus spreading more easily in those districts — not race or culture.
The health official’s remarks also came as a video of predominantly white migrants dancing at a packed brunch on the more affluent Hong Kong Island sparked anger but no admonition from officials.