When it comes to food and drink success stories in Courier Country, one name certainly springs to mind.
Praveen Kumar has already established an award-winning Indian restaurant in Perth city centre and his ready meals business has grown from strength-to-strength.
And the chef has no intention of slowing down after winning £75K of funding from a Scottish Edge Award.
Instead, he’ll be injecting his winnings into his ready meal firm, Kumar’s Curry Club, which will help take the innovative start-up business to the next level.
He also plans to invest some of the money into rebranding his restaurant Tabla on South Street, which has been open since 2009, and will employ a commercial manager whose role will be to help expand the business to business side of the ready meals business.
A portion of the money will be used to revamp the firm’s website, too.
Praveen’s aim is to attract 100,000 subscribed curry club members across the UK and have his curries sold in 10,000 different retailers.
Winning the funds at a time where the cost of living crisis continues to hit businesses across the country has given Praveen the confidence to keep pushing and pursuing new opportunities in the business world.
He said: “It feels amazing and I can’t tell you how much pride and satisfaction I have right now.
“It gives us a bit of confidence in what we are doing and that we are going in the right direction.
“That it is not just an idea, it is a reality and this funding helps validate what we are doing is right.”
Putting authentic curry back on the map
After seeing how Indian curries were being made in the UK Praveen decided he wanted to bring something more authentic to the country’s offering.
Closely connected to the Perth community, he has set up both of his businesses in the local area and is proud of what he has achieved too date.
He said: “The reason I started Tabla was that when I got married in 2008 I took my Indian wife to restaurants all over the UK and she hated them.
“We set up Tabla in 2009 to offer authentic Indian food to the community in Perth.
“Then when my parents and in-laws came to visit in 2016, we travelled around the UK again and we all had bad experiences eating in Indian restaurants.
“I thought that something needed to be done, so we decided to take our food nation-wide.”
The aim of Kumar’s Curry Club is to address, what Praveen says, is the problem of curries containing colouring, flavourings and preservatives that they don’t need.
Instead, the Indian chef ensures his customers can enjoy what he believes is a healthier and more authentic meal by using a range of British ingredients and Indian spices.
Giving back to community
The Perthshire businessman started his journey in the small village of Mattampally in Southern India where he was born and raised.
He moved to Scotland to work at Turnberry Hotel in 2005 and then went on to work for Gleneagles from 2007 to 2011.
After his time at luxury hotels he took his first steps into being an entrepreneur and opened Tabla in 2009 before starting Kumar’s Curry Club in 2019.
Now with multiple awards and businesses under his belt, Praveen enjoys giving back.
Every time a customer buys a ready meal from the curry club, the company donates a meal to a child in poverty in India via the not-for-profit Akshaya Patra.
Customers have helped donate more than 30,000 meals since the firm’s inception.