Caterer Spotlight: Ranv’s Rasoi

In 2019, whilst training for the London Marathon, Ranv ventured into cooking ‘real food’ for the first time in order to aid his training. Working in software sales at the time, he had no idea that his mission to run 26 miles would change his life.

The concept of the business was determined in late 2019 – Ranv knew he wanted to cook, but how and what were still unknown. Then in early 2020, the pandemic hit, and two of Ranv’s closest friends, the Ramsay brothers, encouraged Ranv to begin making meals for them on a trial basis; giving Ranv the unexpected opportunity to hone his skills and develop the business into something tangible.

Ranv’s Rasoi has been a family affair from the outset. In the six months spent at home perfecting his craft, Ranv acquired a wealth of knowledge from his mum, whose homecooked Indian dishes had fuelled the family for many years; and it was out of that time spent in collaboration with her that Ranv’s Rasoi – a homecooked Indian street food business – was born. What’s more, it was Ranv’s brother’s kitchen where all meals were originally created and it was this site that was registered with Nuneaton Council, permitting Ranv to follow his dream. Ranv stresses that without his brother’s help, he wouldn’t be where he is today.

Armoured with passion, a concept, and a menu, Ranv was for all intents and purposes, ready to get started, but instead decided to shadow traders such as Cleopatra’s Kitchen, Urban Cheesecake and The Paneer Wrap Co, before setting up shop himself. Evidence that Ranv hasn’t just got what it takes in the kitchen, but also has the insight and forethought to run a thriving business.

Thank you so much for talking to us today, Ranv. You’ve been working in the street food industry for about year now, is that right? How has your first year been?

Yeah, I started full-time in June 2021, before that I’d spent a lot of time testing dishes, curating a menu and then I spent some time shadowing other businesses.

That’s something we always recommend, which businesses did you work with and how was your experience?

I reached out to Digbeth Dining Club (DDC) traders, as a Midlands-based traders, the people who work at DDC are at the top of their game, so I worked with people like Cleopatra’s Kitchen, and I also did some shadowing at the West Midlands Jerk Centre. Having those experiences showed me how amazing this community is and really spurred me on.

The community spirit amongst street food traders is definitely one of the draws for the industry. It must’ve been rewarding to go from learning from those businesses to working alongside them at DDC. How did you get into events in the first instance?

The first event I did was Eat, Street, Repeat with Andy Dyer which was great. Then when I approached DDC, they were really positive about my food and gave me so much confidence to push ahead, and it was then that I heard about NCASS.

How has being part of an association helped you as a new trader?

I knew compliance was important, but then I joined NCASS and immediately felt as though I was running a safer, more compliant business. You can have the best food in the world, but customers want to know that a business is clean and safe and NCASS helps me deliver on that. The gas engineers I sourced through NCASS have been great and I also get better value when I shop at places like Nisbets. My membership also meant that my close family could all do their L2 training, so now it feels like a family business.

Talk to us about the food – did you grow up cooking?

No way, when I went to university, I lived off pizza and beer, but I’d grown up eating my mum’s amazing Indian food, in a house where you smell how incredible the food is, even before you taste it. My mum taught me so much, and now she makes all the spice blends for the business, which helps to ensure that our food tastes unique. None of the flavours we use are generic.

You’ve come a long way in 12 short months, trading at one of the country’s most prestigious street food events, and with a regular pitch at BCFC. Do you have any long-term plans, or are you taking it one step at a time?

I’ve got dreams, definitely. I love doing this and don’t think I’d stop – like I said, the community is incredible, and I value it a lot. My ambition is to create high-end, chilled meals for retail.

That’s a great aim and something we’ve seen a couple of members do recently with great success. Finally, let’s talk sustainability; not only is it important for the planet but we’re seeing so many more events and customers who view having green credentials as a non-negotiable.

This is something I’ve made a start on but want to progress further with. All of our packaging is compostable and I’m passionate about avoiding waste. For a lot of events, I only take pre-orders as I hate the idea of food potentially going to waste. Sustainability is high on the agenda for a lot of customers now, and rightly so.

You can follow Ranv’s journey here and read other caterer spotlights here.

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Note: The NCASS office will be close from 2PM on Friday 14th June for staff training.