‘Why I stop as a barrister to observe my dream job’ – BBC Information

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Mowgli Road Meals

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Nisha Katona was a barrister earlier than she grew to become a restaurateur

The BBC’s weekly The Boss sequence profiles enterprise leaders from around the globe. This week we communicate to 48-year-old Nisha Katona, founding father of Mowgli Road Meals – a up to date Indian restaurant chain within the UK.

When Nisha Katona determined to stop her profitable profession as a barrister after 20 years to open a restaurant, her family and friends thought she was having a mid-life disaster.

Nisha knew the transfer would include dangers as she can be giving up a properly paid job and had a mortgage to pay.

However she had lengthy had a dream to develop into knowledgeable chef and it was beginning to give her sleepless nights. So whereas she was nonetheless working full time in 2014, as a household and baby legislation barrister in Liverpool, she determined to make the leap and opened Mowgli.

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Mowgli Road Meals

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Nisha says the meals at Mowgli is a “far cry” from what’s served at conventional curry homes

The Liverpool restaurant, which specialises in “genuine” Indian delicacies, shortly took off and has since grown right into a UK-wide chain with gross sales of £10m.

“Mowgli is a pet title I’ve for my two teenage ladies which accurately means feral baby,” Nisha says of the title, which isn’t, as some folks suppose, linked to the well-known Jungle E-book character.

“My daughters selected the emblem and the restaurant was named after them.”

The daughter of Indians who emigrated to Lancashire within the 1960s, Nisha was at all times obsessive about Indian delicacies and even used to plan her holidays round attempting new meals.

She says she has taken cookery classes all around the globe, however by no means from skilled cooks, solely dwelling cooks and “normally grandmothers”.

Earlier than she launched Mowgli she gave cookery classes herself, launching her personal Youtube channel. And she or he did a number of market analysis – as an illustration, standing within the nook of restaurant kitchens at night time to see how they operated.

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Mowgli Road Meals

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There at the moment are seven Mowgli eating places throughout the UK

Nisha says Mowgli is about displaying how Indians eat at dwelling and on the streets, which is a “far cry” from what you discover at conventional UK curry homes.

She says her dishes, that are all based mostly on household recipes, are “easy, recent and delicate” whereas having a contemporary twist.

“What I need is folks to grasp how my grandmother cooked. That is how we, as Indians, eat at dwelling. We do not have a balti or a bhuna, and we do not have naan breads and poppadoms.”

Her ardour for Indian delicacies has additionally led her to write down three of her personal cookbooks – Pimp My Rice, The Spice Tree and Mowgli Road Meals.

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Mowgli Road Meals

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Nisha has written a number of prepare dinner books

“I nonetheless keep in mind once I wrote my first prepare dinner e book. I might by no means written a e book in my life, so I assumed how do I publish this? I appeared within the Jamie Oliver prepare dinner e book and Googled among the names in his acknowledgments.

“One was his agent and so I despatched her my proposal, and inside 10 minutes she wrote again to me and stated ‘can we meet on Monday’? And she or he signed me on.”

However regardless of her success, Nisha says beginning her first restaurant wasn’t simple. As a second-generation immigrant residing in 1970s Britain, she had developed “a thick pores and skin” early on in life, and he or she had been the primary feminine Asian barrister in Liverpool.

However she was nonetheless unprepared for the pressures she confronted as a lady coming into the male-dominated restaurant scene.

Extra The Boss options:

“As I used to be constructing Mowgli, at instances I used to be met with disdain from family and friends as I threw myself into the enterprise and had much less time to spend with my daughters.

“It struck me that if I have been the husband, or just the person, I would not obtain this criticism. And sadly, at the moment, I nonetheless should combat my nook as a businesswoman.”

The actual fact there have been so few feminine position fashions within the trade did not assist, she says, as she would have cherished a lady to have “guided her or been a mentor”.

Right now the entrepreneur runs seven profitable Mowgli eating places in cities similar to Manchester, Birmingham and Oxford.

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Nisha Katona was given an MBE this yr

“The truth that Nisha has opened not one or two however seven eating places within the UK, in simply over 4 years, means she is unquestionably doing one thing proper, particularly in at the moment’s extremely aggressive meals trade,” says Mr Yawar Khan, head of the Asian Catering Federation.

He additionally says giving up her job and beginning a brand new profession in her 40s took “braveness and guts”.

“South Asian girls want extra position fashions like Nisha to encourage them to begin eating places and curry homes.”

Earlier this yr Nisha achieved one other milestone when she made The New 12 months Honours record and was awarded an MBE in recognition of her providers to the British meals trade.

“It simply felt like a blessing. It was nearly as if we acquired royal assent for my mom’s dhal,” she says.

“It was essentially the most shifting second and what it meant to my mom, who got here to England 50 years in the past with nothing, is past phrases.”

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