Hi Kapil, thanks for speaking to us! Tell us the story of Mrs Patels – when did you set up the business & what inspired you to do so?
Mrs Patels was established in 2013. My grandmother’s food was loved by many, our small house was always full of guests enjoying her food, they still reminisce now!! To this day you cannot leave her house without eating.
Mrs Patel’s was founded by the inspiration and the passion for food and bringing people together. My family moved from India to the UK in 1968. Like most immigrants they had nothing, but rich with hopes and dreams. In recent years, mom’s health has deteriorated but she glows with pride in the knowledge that I’m sharing her passion for cooking exquisite food.
I spent a year travelling, seeing the most beautiful places in the world and sampling many different cuisines, my passion grew even stronger. With this experience, I was able to further enhance what I had learnt from my family and deliver flavoursome food that has now become loved and appreciated by so many. My mom always states that to make good food you must have love & passion.
Lovely background story! What do you think is so unique about Mrs Patels?
It’s Indian food, but not as you think you know it!! Not the so called Indian restaurants with the typical oily food without the true tantalising flavour.
The taste is so unique and authentic – flavour in every bite. The recipes are unwritten and yes, before you ask, guarded!
Mrs Patel’s Lamb Pot –
This dish goes back many generations and the spices, texture and taste has remained the same. Soft and tender lamb curry, slow cooked to absorb the flavours. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Mrs Patel’s Ultimate BBQ –
Homemade succulent tandoori chicken pieces marinated for 24 hours. A unique recipe infused with irresistible fresh ingredients and spices.
Mrs Patel’s Street Food Classic Samosa Chaat –
Homemade samosas. Gujarati chick pea curry, fresh coriander and fresh red onions. Crunchy savoury sev, served with a drizzle of tamarind chutney and fresh yoghurt. (v)
These are just three of our many recipes, we go from traditional to fusion foods, the flavours in all are explosive, always leaving you wanting more.
Sounds delicious, can’t wait to try it! So, how did you go about keeping the business functional during Covid-19 and what were the biggest hurdles?
To be honest Covid-19 has been very challenging and unexpected, it has made such an impact to how we would run the business. At first we didn’t know what direction to take as we were used to being busy doing mobile catering, moving to different events, wedding functions etc., to having to shut down our usual business procedures. We almost came to a breaking point with so much invested into the business, but family has taught me to never give up. I believe that the situation will change and we are blessed to have so much support and encouragement from family, friends and customers.
It is with this love and support and so much feedback and encouragement from customers that we have now decided to start a click and collect service, providing meal kits to allow our customers to try making Mrs Patel’s food at home. The kits contain the spices and recipes you need to become a Mrs Patel’s at home pro.
Completing the Covid-19 regulations course helped also!
That’s great news! What led you to become an NCASS member?
At Mrs Patel’s we don’t believe in cutting corners and joining NCASS was one of the best decisions we made, they are great in every aspect for catering businesses. Very helpful, polite and always guiding our business to grow ethically. They will help you to ensure you adhere correctly to all legislation while developing your business, they provide you with all the documentation you may require and the training courses required. They have helped me every step of the way in growing my business and completing my courses.
What’s next for the business when we finally come out the other side of the pandemic?
We have just invested in a beautiful, classic 1971 truck, which was converted to a very high spec, so much attention to detail went into the style of it. We cannot wait to get ‘Kamala’ on the road, she will definitely turn faces – absolute show stopper.
We do want to invest in bricks and mortar, although not in present circumstances. We never say never, who knows where the road will lead us.
We can’t wait to see Kamala rolling into town either! What’s the best thing about working in street food and running your own business?
Every event brings something new, it’s exciting and challenging but also very rewarding. We love the demand; we have so many returning customers sharing the love and passion. It’s a real buzz and makes all the hard work so much more worth it. You also get the opportunity to meet other traders, exchange food, and listen to their journey, which is beautiful and inspiring.
Running your own business is great, you are rewarded and reap all the rewards yourself for your hard work, you are in charge, but it does take a lot of hard work, perseverance, learning, self-sacrifice, commitment, and most of all, love and passion. You have to push yourself every day and make things happen and also be realistic. It’s not for everyone and especially if you are not willing to put in the hard labour that is required, however if you do, then the “world is your oyster!”
What advice would you give to people wanting to start up in street food?
It takes time, and you will have hurdles, it is a part of your growth. Have faith at all times!! Believe in yourself. Do your homework. Don’t be afraid to approach people already in the game, there are plenty of people out there willing to help – especially NCASS, they will guide you and help you with any questions you may have.
Learn from every opinion and advice you receive, they teach you and help understand what people want. Remember “your why” – what it is you want, why you are going into a street food business – be truthful to yourself at all times. It will be challenging and a lot of hard-work, but the rewards can be endless and you get out what you put in. Be well prepared, it takes hard work, motivation, research, time, trial and error. You will make mistakes, but be sure to learn from every experience and move forward.