Reflecting back on the sixteen odd years of owning and running this business I realise that it was never just a “business”. In fact I was once told that I had a pea-brain for business and frankly, I’m so glad that I did, because I brought “Heart” into what would otherwise have been an exchange of food from our kitchen to someone’s table.
To me, Daddy’s Deli (as it was originally christened) was about many things…….it was about preserving, in some small way, the proud heritage and lineage that I come from. Anyone who has a Parsi Bawa/Bawi for a friend knows how much they love being one ! It was also about sharing the joys of cooking delicious food and receiving satisfaction from satiated customers…it was about teaching and training the complete novices who entered our kitchen and see them blossoming as cooks….it was about meeting customers and, over the years, enjoying their company as friends.
Initially I wasn’t really prepared for the brutality of the restaurant world. The challenges and excitement of a new business kept me motivated over the initial months of back-breaking, heel aching days. As bone-weariness set in, many a night was spent spilling huge tears of frustration and tiredness onto the kitchen table at home over which I slogged to cook the next day’s menu. But somewhere within me was a well of perseverance and an obstinate streak (which my parents and sisters will swear to !!!) which would just not let me give in. Believe me, the same brutality exists even today but life teaches you many lessons if you’re willing to learn……now I just RESPOND rather than REACT.
When customers tell me how “lucky” I am to own and run a restaurant I want to scream and say that Lady Luck, whoever she may be, never lived in my kitchen…the only one who resides there is Murphy with his Laws, but I smile, politely nod and thank them. Many others tell me that it’s their dream to own a cute little place like mine…….I excitedly offer them a week of work at Red Fork, with lunch thrown in for good measure, so that they may discover their dream. Till date no one has turned up to work !!!!
This business is not about one chef or one owner, however dedicated he or she may be – it’s about the TEAM. Going forward I want to pay tribute to all those who work in our kitchen and front of house. We are proud of how we have survived the turbulent waters of the food industry and we are very, very proud of the plates that leave our kitchen, our principles and ethics of business and of everyone who is part of the Red Fork family today.
Through the next few narrations I do hope you will see how a little encouragement and patience goes a long way in changing the lives of ordinary people.