"I bought another takeaway and a restaurant."
A restauranteur has won the prestigious ‘Indian Restaurant of the Year’ title and has also topped TripAdvisor’s customer ratings chart.
This comes after he launched his career in a back street of Milton Keynes.
Giash Mohammed started his career at the age of 21 when he bought a takeaway in New Bradwell for £8,000.
He recalled: “I didn’t know my left from my right. I didn’t know what was going on.
“I knew no one and had no suppliers.
“But it worked and I bought another takeaway and a restaurant.”
Giash went on to open the Dipalee Lounge in Buckingham.
It has now won the ‘Indian Restaurant of the Year – Buckinghamshire’ in the annual London and South East England Prestige Guide Awards.
Giash achieved the stunning feat, especially since he was forced to close his restaurant just two weeks after its launch in February 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lesser businessmen might have given up, but Giash won praise from the community by getting his team to cook and deliver free meals to homeless people and care homes.
He said: “We had never done delivery before, but we knew we just had to help the community.
“We prepped 90 to 120 free meals a day and sent them out.”
“People couldn’t collect their food because of the restrictions so we delivered it to the church so they could pick it up there.”
At the present moment, Dipalee Lounge tops the TripAdvisor ratings as the best restaurant in Buckingham.
Giash said: “We worked very hard to achieve that.
“It was not easy – I have lost my hair!”
The Indian restaurant has 11 front-of-house staff and seven working in the kitchen.
Meanwhile, food is delivered by a team of up to seven drivers.
Giash explained: “It takes a lot of people to run this place.
“I work seven days a week. Every single day is a full house with up to 120 customers, so I have to be there to keep on top of it, maintain food standards, organise the drivers and make sure people get their drinks.
“Business is very good at the moment. A lot of people found out on social media that Dipalee Lounge is back.
“The local community in Buckingham has helped us a lot and we are very grateful for their support.”