"It was appreciated a lot at a time"
A chef has launched a cookery club to help people learn how to cook authentic Indian food.
Rama Food and Cookery Club is based in Stratford-Upon-Avon and it offers classes to teach people how to create their own meals.
The business was created by Uttam Rawat, a former development chef for a range of supermarkets. He launched the venture in 2020.
It came together thanks to the support of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Start-Up Support Service which is funded via the CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale programme.
The programme for start-ups is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Warwickshire County Council and all five District and Borough Councils.
Uttam came up with the idea during the first national lockdown when he was placed on furlough.
He said: “I was a development chef in London and you would have seen my meals in national supermarket chains.
“But, at the start of the pandemic I was placed on furlough and as a way to give back to the community and also keep myself busy, I started doing cookery classes online for free.
“It was appreciated a lot at a time when there was not much activity available to do due to lockdown.
“I had been doing the courses at a community centre in my spare time, but when I was made redundant, I thought I could turn it into an actual business.”
To get started, Uttam sought the advice of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce to take the next steps.
He was given a Chamber mentor and also signed onto several online courses that were on offer. This included marketing, creating a business plan and social media.
Now, the cookery club is expanding.
Uttam continued: “Working with the Chamber was a huge help, it provided me with so much information and confidence which was extremely beneficial along the way.
“My mentor was there all the time offering advice and the online courses were incredibly useful, which was a huge help when applying for my start-up loan.
“Now I have already expanded the business and as well as the cookery classes, which will be back to being in person as soon as we can, we are now doing food delivery.”
Working from home, Uttam has been creating chilled bespoke meals for two which include reheating instructions that are delivered to the door.
The deliveries have been to Stratford-Upon-Avon and the surrounding villages.
The company continues to expand its delivery area.
Once the UK fully comes out of lockdown, Uttam hopes to look for his own premises for the businesses and also create jobs.
Hardeep Sandhu, from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said:
“Uttam’s business has been a real success story and it is great to see that it has already expanded and there are major plans for the future as well.
“He has put a huge amount of work into the business and has taken a great deal from all the resources that the Chamber has to offer.
“He is the perfect example of what you can get out of them if you put the work in.
“We look forward to seeing Uttam’s business grow and flourish and see how it evolves in the future.”