In the late 80’s I travelled to India with a close friend to meet her family, I couldn’t wait to be immersed in their culture and experience their cuisine.
My expectations were exceeded by the open arms I was welcomed into, sharing meals in their family homestead watching how they live out their lives and of course how they shared and celebrated food.
What really inspired me whilst on my journey was the house cook ‘Pradeeb’ where I was staying in the heart of Mumbai, he slept in the stair well landing to the small block of units where the family reside, and in return for the roof over his head he would cook all meals for the family.
I was humbled by his life, so different from life in Australia. I befriended him and before long he was sharing with me his family recipes, which he pointed out to me were nothing fancy, just basic and frugal nourishment, I thought differently.
My taste for Indian cuisine became an emotional experience, from the accessibility of being able to make a call and order Indian takeaway in Australia, to being in an environment where your survival depended on feeding a family with absolute minimum spend. Whilst honouring the flavour an integrity of these medicinal spices, I was truly inspired.
On my return to Australia I was still in awe of my Indian trip and began making my own curry spice blends that were taught to me by Pradeeb. I would make bulk amounts in advance pre packaged so that when I wanted to make a curry (which was more often than not) all the timely work was taken out. That was some 30 years ago. I’d set aside an annual ‘curry day’, my benches were loaded with every single, bowl, cup, saucer, plate and vessel I owned. Friends would pop in and we would bond and laugh over curry and share wine.
My friend Sarah said to me ‘You should sell these’ I replied with ‘I’ve looked into it, everything is too expensive and time consuming to make, I don’t think it would work’…
We chatted further and with a little research and push I decided to take the plunge and bought $1,000 worth of spices and packing materials and thought, I’ve either got curry for life which isn’t a bad plan B, or a sellable product.
We set forth to a local market, I was apprehensive and scared, I didn’t even know how to set up a marquee, the car didn’t start, I cried and after all that hard work and anxiety, I sat down and counted the days taking and was astonished I made $1,000 that first market! First lot of spices paid for! – Looks like I have a sellable product.
Fast forward two years and over 25,000 packs have been produced and sold.
I have introduced more products, ranging from a spice rub to a stock paste and ginger juice (sold at local markets), all vegan, all natural and all delicious!