Prabir Chattopadhyay is founder and CEO of Little Kolkata,a pop-up venture featuring Calcutta cuisine.
What does your firm do?
It's a pop-up venture featuring Calcutta cuisine. I cook and serve the food myself, roping in friends to help. The food typically comes in small portions so people can share lots of dishes. Calcutta is famous for its canteen food, while the tradition of temples providing meals for hungry devotees is a further inspiration for this business. The aim is to give people a sneak peek into Calcutta's culture and heritage as well as a delicious meal.
How did you get going?
When I moved to the UK in 2006 I discovered that it was practically impossible to get Calcutta food here. Britain's curry houses are mostly run by Bangladeshis offering Bangla dishes adapted for the British palate. So I started cooking the food myself, and realised I had the makings of a business: more and more fellow Calcuttans and their friends came to my meals, and I soon found myself hiring a venue rather than hosting a supper club at home. I had to fit everything around my day job as a logistics manager.
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What has been your biggest challenge?
The first hurdle was getting people who attended the supper clubs to understand what differentiates the food from other regions and how it ties into local history and culture. Being able to tell a story always helps spread the word. Having managed to generate a bit of a buzz, I secured additional backing in the form of prominent food critics, and also won the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the UKBCCI (UK Bangladesh Catalysts of Commerce & Industry). I am now planning my tenth club (see LittleKolkata.co.uk), in my biggest venue to date, and ultimately want to open my own restaurant.
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