Member Spotlight: Homemade Curries

Homemade Curries

Homemade Curries stands as a testament to founder Sheetal’s resilience, determination and creativity.

What started in a small flat kitchen in 2018, has blossomed into a successful catering business and bricks and mortar restaurant that seeks to showcase authentic North Indian cuisine. For Sheetal this authenticity is at the heart of Homemade Curries and from this she has fostered a wonderful community. We sat down with Sheetal to find out all about Homemade Curries.

Sheetal, Founder of Homemade Curries

How did it all begin?

It began from the kitchen in my small flat in St Margarets in 2018. I had just split from my husband, I was a single mama of two children under 10. I didn’t have any options in relation to work, as the children were so young. I knew my food was good, so I came up with the idea of ‘tasters’ for the mums at my children’s school. This was a great success and through word of mouth I was asked to cater for private parties, fundraisers and school events. Covid then hit and I created a takeaway service for my local community. This was a great success and it inspired me to create Homemade Curries and become a serious caterer of authentic North Indian food.

How do you evoke that  ‘homemade’ feeling in Homemade Curries?

All our food is designed by me, created and tested in my kitchen, inspired by my own experiences back home in India with my family.

If you could go back in time before the foundation of Homemade Curries, what advice would you give your younger self?

I’d tell my younger self to not to let the mistakes affect me, to move on and try something new. Things change so quickly in this business, if something hasn’t worked out it’s best to just turn the page.

Your Friday Night Takeaways started as smaller, intimate, experiences – what lessons did you learn from starting this way?

In the beginning I was scared to give customers authentic Indian food, as the local palette is so used to the atypical Anglo-Indian menu of red chicken tikka and chicken jalfrezi etc. But I quickly realised through the takeaway experience that people were open to my menu, they loved the authenticity of it and the uniqueness of my offering. It gave me the confidence to develop my menu to be true to what I know as Indian food.

Spice Up Vintage Airstream

You recently opened a bricks and mortar restaurant Spice Up, can you talk to me a bit more about that?

After 5 years successful growth of Homemade Curries I realised there was a real demand locally for my food. Although I had my takeaway service, that format doesn’t allow you to really present the food at its best. For example, our chaat (Indian street food) is much better freshly presented in a restaurant environment, rather than in a takeaway box. By opening Spice Up I have created a hub within our local community. Aside from running a fully licensed restaurant, we hold regular events at the restaurant such as supper clubs and Bollywood nights, we also work with local community groups and offer free monthly buffets and Christmas Day lunches for people in need.

Why is creating a sense of community with your food so important to you?

It’s honestly who I am, being a Sikh giving back is an integral part of our daily life. But it’s even more than that, for me when I see a customer happy, eating my food, it brings me such joy. Food is love and it brings a community together.

What is something you wish more people knew about North Indian cuisine?

That Indian food is not just chili, it is far more flavoursome. The spice mix can be delicate, complex and it’s not oily. Honestly, the well known Anglo-Indian menu isn’t true Indian food, our real authentic dishes are far more flavoursome, they’re lighter, they’re healthier and there is so much more variety.

Spice Up (Homemade Curries) Vintage Airstream

What was your biggest achievement of 2023?

Launching our restaurant Spice Up – this was an amazing achievement for me – and acquiring our vintage Airstream Food truck. We have already taken it to F1 at Silverstone, Cricket at Lords and International Rugby matches in Twickenham with great success!

What are you most looking forward to in 2024?

2024 for us is all about establishing our catering company Homemade Curries within the corporate world as the go to caterer for events, parties and lunches.

As a Brummie girl I’ve got a lot of love for a curry, what dish off your menu is a must try?

All of them! I would definitely recommend our signature Thali, that way you get to try the best of our menu in one sitting.

Follow Sheetal and Homemade Curries’ journey here and check out other Member Spotlights here.

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