Ienter the sprawling living room, home to the Kapadias, in a residential corner of Mumbai’s Colaba where old British era buildings and tall modern sky-scrappers co-exist. Early morning sunlight floods the space where a dining table rests comfortably on one side, and a large part of the floor is covered with a mattress meant for seating.
This is where the Kapadias entertain a group of 14 people every Saturday and Sunday, treating them to authentic Bohri food, topped with an abundance of warm hospitality. They call it ‘The Bohri Kitchen’.
They have a no-serial killer policy!
The process to try the food is simple. One has to go to their Facebook page and drop a message about the event they want to attend, and if the family finds the request genuine, their address will be shared. “My fear is that someday a random person will enter our house, a reason we screen people beforehand. I also introduced a no-serial killer policy,” Munaf shares, tongue-in-cheek.
“The reaction to the food and the hospitality at our home by our guests blew us away. They hugged my mom who has four kids, me being the youngest, who so far had taken her food for granted,” Munaf said about the first event they hosted.
For his mother Nafisa, it is a way to keep busy and do what she knows best. “I always loved to cook. We were a big joint family; my in-laws were there as were my husband’s brothers and their wives. We were always cooking. Now with my daughters married and with just the three of us in the house, cooking small portions was becoming a task,” she shares.
Coming soon – home delivery
While there were no financial ambitions when The Bohri Kitchen started, Munaf now has his eyes set on a delivery model and wants his mother to not cook regularly, but to simply oversee the cooking. “I invested sometime in building a brand and creating the logo. I decided to make it a premium, exclusive thing,” Munaf explains.
Almost all who come for the lunch are non-Bohris and are warned to wear loose expandable clothing in advance. But the family says that it is the varied mix of people who walk into their home that motivates them to hold more events.
“My father likes it. He believes that it is a great networking ground for me, at an early stage in my career,” Munaf says. His father incidentally was told that the first group of people who came to their home were just friends dropping by for lunch. The fact that they were being charged for the food was hidden from him. “My father would never dream about charging people for food in the house. He comes from a traditional mindset, but at the same time he is every adaptable,” he adds.
However there is little change or experimenting with the menu unless it is a group booking. “I have been following the recipes taught to me by my mother and mother-in-law. Munaf is the biggest pressure though; he wants me to stick to the Bohri style of cooking,” Nafisa shares.
About being a ‘home chef’
Munaf believes that the biggest mistake home chefs make is to remain just a home chef and not create a brand around themselves – a reason why he wants a distinct identity for The Bohri Kitchen. “You need to dissociate the food from the person and leverage the positives from being a home. You have to tell the customer that we are serious, we have a feedback mechanism and we learn from our mistakes,” he explains.
Six months from now Munaf wants to see the home delivery facility rolled out and his mother turned into a culinary supervisor. “The Bohri Kitchen should be the single brand that comes to your mind when you think of Bohri food,” he signs off.