This month I'm back from the UK, and finally digesting my journey, and putting it down in words, to share with you, my peeps! While in Brighton, I sat down with Kanthi Kirin Thamma. I was keen to have him share his wisdom. He owns three places: one restaurant, one kiosk Brighton's busy train station, and now the recently opened, small-plates/shared-plates restaurant. So three places with fresh, flavorful south Indian street food. Here we'll explore life as a chef, and what success looks like from this side of the table!
THE NEW CURRY LEAF CAFE: The new restaurant (pictured above), is a small, cozy spot in Kemptown, just east of Brighton. The menu is filled with tasting portions intentionally created to be eaten with craft beer or a creative cocktail! They are shared plates and small plates, tasting, really for those who want to explore street fare close to home. As a chef, Kanthi hoped, and is happily realizing that a shared plates menu is popular. so seats are full all through dinner. The portions are small, allowing people to try many different items. Variety makes people happy. And that means good volume for this new concept.
MOST DELIGHTFUL DISCOVERY: Kanthi is noticing sales are good--higher per person than their restaurant where customers have to choose one entree, and maybe a shared appetizer. He's developed mad skills in the prep and flow of the restaurant, so daily routine is becoming effortless, even on a full and busy night. This is a sign of a well-organized staff, a smart pro-active owner, and the team effort that underlies both. Running a restaurant means juggling 15 items in your brain, balanced with greeting customers pleasantly. Preparation is proactive, and begets success. Front of the house staff are more successful, back of the house are more successful, and the owner has time to interact with the customers. Valuable time. Time when the business is humming. Like well-rehearsed theater you can see how your restaurant functions.
KEEPING AHEAD OF THE CURVE: Kanthi, the chef-owner, continually keeps connected to the art scene, the food scene and seeks out chef interactions. He's now doing several master classes, competes in Brighton's dining scene, and travels internationally to collaborate or participate in master classes. Frankly, he's making the dream job for himself, and holds no regrets.
SHARING INDIAN HOSPITALITY: His love of southern India extends in one more dimension: sharing his culture with food on the table in Kerela. Yes, in Southern India. Kanthi is organizing trips to India where he shares food and flavor in situ. Street food in it's original form--small plates and shared plates. It's satisfying to share authentically! 2018 will be his third year of traveling to India with customers, collaborators and curious travelers. This year will include a tea plantation, spice farm, cooking demonstrations, and, of course, eating street food.