KISHORE KUMAR SONGS, PASTA AND ARMANI SUITS!
Vasu Krishnamurthy has an interesting tale to tell.His high profile job took him to the far corners of India.No matter how remote the place Vasu would try and dine at a local eatery offering ‘Chinese’ food spelt differently in different parts of India. His favourite dish –American chopsuey. What he discovered in this zaaike ka safar was this–the same dish of American Chopsuey was made differently with totally different ingredients in different places .Yet each restaurant owner insisted that his dish was authentic. Not one to be taken in by this, Vasu, a man with a penchant for good food, researched into the matter and came with the startling conclusion that what is called American chopsuey in a ‘Chinese’ restaurant was neither American nor Chinese!Vasu sensed a gap in public culinary needs.
Thus began his journey to entrepreneurship.He resigned his top job with the Tatas and plunged into the restaurant business . Did he take to Chinese cuisine? No.He reasoned that the people of Bangalore–where he has literally set up shop- might like Meditteranean/ Italian food. But his understanding of the Indian middle class mind taught him a few lessons.FIRSTLY the people were ready to try any cuisine provided certain conditions were met. Secondly people are price conscious .Thus they would prefer an Armani suit provided it cost say Rs. 99!Thirdly people wanted a good ambience but would hesitate to pay a price for this. Fourthly the food ought to be tasty by the tough Indian standards–MAA KA PAVITRA HAATH SE BANAYA HUA KHANA. Fifthly no matter what the cuisine may be Indians connected with Indian music.
Presto he hit upon the idea of Italian street food at a price most of us can afford .
and yet deliver outstanding quality.This was born VEEKESANDTHOMAS an Italian eatery. .
Combining his insights into the Indian mind, his stalls at Jayanagar compete with the ‘paani puri ,bhel puri’ stalls and offer Italian street food . Most evenings you will see a mad rush to eat at the stalls. His restaurant at JP nagar is a unique experience.Simple decor, bollywood music, clean even by international standards, and food that is not found anywhere else, is affordable and simply outstanding.
The Indian connection is evident in the Italian Thali that is offered on weekdays at the JP Nagar outlet.These cost barely RS 100.
He strongly feels that development ought to be inclusive .Thus he sources all his ingredients locally and not from some big market where fat cats are already rolling in cash. Vasu tells me that he buys peanuts from the vendor down the street whose income has shot up multifold. He buys vegetables from local farmers avoiding middle men who otherwise
take away what the farmer ought to get for all his toiling.
The bread that is served in the restaurant is made by destitute kids.The donnai[leaf plate] is made by poor women whom he has organised into a self help group.The takeaway packaging is made out of eco- friendly paper.The music played is Indian even if the cuisine is not.Cheese is also made by a poor ladies’ co- operative.
Veekesandthomas is less than a year old and is ranked among the top 5 European restaurants in Bangalore. [visit burrp.com for confirmation] Also check www.veekesandthomas.in.
He is modest enough not to talk of the turnover chalked up by his venture but I gathered through my sources that it tops RS 1 CRORE , all in a few months !
His immediate plans–open an outlet at Kochi, make and sell pasta, cheese and seasonings at the best food stores in the city. and at some time expand with the franshise route.
Vasu is another Indian among the many I will write about who dared to do the unusual. I asked him what advise he had for others particularly the young who wish to chase their dreams. He says that ‘There is no formula for sucess’, contrary to what self help books might say. ‘ Each person is unique in terms of endowments, temperament, context, circumstances. Any attempt to follow a formula that got someone else sucess might lead to disaster.’ ‘It is important to dream and dream big.It is equally important to realise that life offers many a twist.Hence we must take one day at a time’ he says.
An Italian or Greek philosopher could not have put it better.