Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ten questions for Sandy Pujji

I recently got the chance to review The Curry Leaf restaurant in Camarillo for the VC Reporter and the owner, Sandy Pujji, really made an impression on me. I guess I'm kinda nerdy and always interested in what drives chefs and business owners, so I followed up with a few questions. Here is what Sandy had to say:

1. Three adjectives that describe your cooking style? "Indian food served on our plates are the same you would find in any Indian restaurant back home in England. Simple blend of spices. And we listen to our customers as we are here for them."

2. Favorite food when you're at home? "Simple things like fried egg on toast and lamb biriyani"

3. Least favorite food? "Not a big fan of raw fish on rice"

4. Food that makes you swoon? "Cheesecake"

5. Food that takes you back to your childhood? "My mums cooking of course, but she rarely cooks now, owning 4 restaurants"

6. Any food that you are horrible at making? "No. Try, try, and try again and when that fails, try again."

7. Why did you get into the restaurant business? "My mums had tried to get me to America for 20 years and I told her and my brother 8 years ago [that I would] only if we could open an Indian restaurant . So we opened Spice avenue in Santa Barbara. Because America needed a decent Indian restaurant like we have back home in England."

8. Where do you get your inspiration? "I'm inspired by everything around me. Trends change so should you."

9. Favorite local restaurant? "Charm Thai Cuisine and P6 in Westlake"

10. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? "No idea , hopefully we are looking to open a THE CURRY LEAF in Thousand Oaks next year if things go good, full bar and lounge with restaurant, more up market." 25 years from now? "In good health"

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