A Queen of Spices: Bringing us centuries of culinary tradition with a unique and modern South African twist.
“Curries, spices and complex flavour pairings.
Like me, if you’ve grown up in a typical Indian home, you know that things like jeera, cinnamon, saffron, nutmeg, turmeric, masala and other pungent ingredients result in taste combinations that are unlike anything in the world. Our traditionally diverse food is famous for its rich red curries, aromatic herbs and spices, and strong flavours. Stimulating, tasty and colourful, Indian cuisine appeals to the palates of people far and wide. So can you imagine my excitement at visiting Gateway Curries in Umhlanga to see (and taste) the culture they have been treating palates to. Here’s our interview with the beautiful Yogi, our very own Queen of Spices.” -Samantha Gounden
Tell us a little about Gateway Curries?
My name is Yogi. Born in South Africa, but I’ve lived in England. I’m back in SA now for two years. I’m very passionate about hospitality and whilst I was in London, I invested a lot of time honing in on that skill. Gateway Curries has been around for 13 years and is a family-owned business. We are situated inside Mistry’s, a pine manufacturing company which my parents own.
When we started, we didn’t have such a wide variety on the menu. Over time, we expanded but it was still a very simple setup – and we love that. Now, we’ve branched into catering too. The concept really works; while people are shopping, they can grab a coffee or a meal – it’s a one-stop-shop. We are very Indian orientated, even the decor follows suit. I guess it’s in-keeping with the food we serve – a total Indian concept – abroad mixed with local.
What inspired the concept of Gateway Curries?
When I moved back home, it was definitely something on my mind. Obviously, we had to register the business, and get the nitty-gritty out of the way first. And, authentic Indian hospitality and cuisine is definitely something I wanted to invest in.
You see this peacock (as she points to the proud piece on the mantel and menu)? When a peacock opens its feathers, it is proud. It shows off who it is with pride. Its colour and beauty is on display. The symbol is exactly how I feel about Gateway Curries. We are extremely proud of the service and quality that we offer, and we never compromise on quality. I have chosen the Peacock, because I am as proud.
Who or what inspires you/your brand, Yogi?
Definitely people. People, and our food. Also, my love for hospitality. People who come here and support us have been doing so over the years. They love the food. And we love them.
Yogi, what’s your recipe for success?
Mmmmmmm…it has to be our masala. It is a “special mix” masala haha. It’s been inspired by my mum actually. We mix our own masala at home – and it has given our food a certain uniqueness. Sharing is caring, so now we make it at the shop, and sell it to our customers too.
“I did admit to Yogi that as we walked in there, the aroma almost lured us in…like walking into my mum’s kitchen.”
What book are you currently reading?
I am a spiritual person – so something along those lines.
Why did you choose iKhokha?
Actually, it was Dylan. He has always been a regular customer here. Dylan loves a good curry haha. See, Dylan told me about the machine – and from what he said, I was very interested. When he went into more detail about it, I must admit, I was quite impressed.
Plus, you guys have good rates and it saves me. It is also convenient. I mean, once I did have an issue with the machine. I think it was a network issue. Dylan called me and said just switch it on and off. I rebooted it and was good to go. But then…Dylan still came into the store to make sure everything was ok. Then, I had someone else from your team call in for technical support again. So that reassured me that you guys were very efficient.
What’s the vision for Gateway Curries in next 5 years?
I would like to expand. I did have a store in Ballito but commuting became a bit difficult. I’m currently catering privately for weddings and bigger events – so that is exciting. Hopefully, we can broaden our horizons a bit more, and that’s my aim.
What’s your advice to young entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
If it’s the food industry that you want to get into, then you’ve got to have the passion for it. You’ve got to love it; you got to love people. It’s…it’s something you either love or hate. Coz there are good days and bad days. But, also remember that with food you cannot always satisfy everybody. However, NEVER compromise on quality and consistency. It is very important.
How do people get a hold of you?
You can find us on Facebook or call 031 566 4590.
“Food connects people on a personal level. It brings out emotions. Makes us feel things. A certain nostalgia that has the ability to awaken an inexplicable amount of emotion. Every time I walk into my mum’s kitchen, I feel contentment, anticipation and most importantly, I know I am home. This is how I felt the moment I stepped through Yogi’s kitchen. Like my mother would treat a guest visiting our home, Yogi gave us the very same welcome.” – Samantha Gounden
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