Completing your studies and getting that lucrative opportunity in a big firm is every student’s dream, and Munaf Kapadia was on his way of realising his. After completing his MBA degree in Marketing, from the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMISM) in Mumbai,
Munaf was able to crack the interview process at Google and land his dream job in his dream company. He was truly on his way to achieving success and conquering the corporate world. Little did he know that a happen-stake incident in his living room with his mom, would alter the course of his life forever.
More often than not, when a family shares a television set with just one remote control, it results in the eventual arguing of what they should be watching together. This is exactly what happened in the Kapadia household, when on a rare occasion that Munaf was at home in Colaba, enjoying his meal, that his mother walked in and changed the channel to watch one of her daily soaps. This infuriated Munaf and it led to an argument between the two. The incident led Munaf to think that his mother needed something better and more productive to do with her time, rather than wasting it watching the overly dramatized saas-bahu sagas. This is where the idea of The Bohri Kitchen was conceptualized.
For many, the Bohri cuisine is an unchartered territory. Even though a lot has been said and read about the tasteful delicacies the Bohri community indulges itself in, only a few have been lucky enough to actually satisfy their taste buds with it. For Munaf, delicacies like the mutton samosa and roasted raans, and also the angaari chicken, was a regular everyday meal. But it was an uncommon variety for the majority of the Mumbai locals. Munaf decided to tap into this opportunity of making the Bohri food available to the locals, which would in turn also keep his mother, Nafisa Kapadia, busy. Initially, Munaf wanted to open a small cafe kind-a setting where his mother can express her culinary skills and people would be able to enjoy it. But a quick three-day research on the requirements of opening and marketing a food venture in Mumbai, gave Munaf a reality check, as the family did not have the financial strength to support such an enterprise.
“I had given up on the idea, but thought why not for fun, without working about the business, invite people home to eat authentic Bohri food,” says Munaf. “I came up with the idea of inviting people home to eat food cooked by my mother. She has many skills, but really excels at Bohri cooking. It did not start out as a business, but was really something to keep her busy,” added the ex googalite. Though it took some convincing from Munaf to get his parents on-board, the family welcomed their first group of 8 members on a Saturday afternoon of November 2014. Catering a modest and simple meal as their first foray into the venture, the family charged the guests Rs. 700 per head. Even though they had not introduced the Bohri Thaal at the time, the experience of having people over for home cooked meals and the appreciation they received for their efforts, was something that really encouraged the Kapadia family to continue the good work.
Soon word spread about the tasty delights being served at the Bhori Kitchen by the Kapadia’s. The raan (leg of lamb marinated for 48 hours before cooking) and the flaky smoked kheema samosas were amongst the stand out dishes. The family gained immense recognition from food bloggers and amazing advertisements from the good word of mouth about their venture. This led to an increase in requests to try their food, and so the Kapadia’s opened up their kitchen, twice a week for service. Such was the rate at which the popularity of the Bhori Kitchen was increasing, that Munaf, after a lot of consultation and convincing his parents, left his lucrative job as an Account Strategist at Google, and joined the Bhori Kitchen adventure on a full-time basis.
Today, he handles all the marketing and promotion for The Bohri Kitchen, while his mother handles the entire dining experience. And in less than four years, Munaf, his parents Nafisa and Turab, and three siblings have built a formidable brand. In addition to the food they serve at home, they have started TBK Express, which delivers the same food you would get in their home across Mumbai. The more exclusive Travelling TBK brings the whole home dining experience to the diners’ home or any venue of their choice. Their website says it’s the complete experience with ‘Nafisa Aunty’s homemade magic coupled with the same hospitality and the same host with the funny moustache’. The family keeps a check on quality by ordering food from the delivery services at least once a week.