Good food pleases the taste buds, fills the stomach and warms the soul; if you get this formula right then you have essentially mastered the art of perfect cooking. A couple who have achieved this are Kristian Price and Amy Phillip, the founders of Dosa Deli, a street food company dedicated to vegetarian Indian cuisine. Reimagining the very unique dishes found at roadsides and railway stations across India’s metropolises.
You’ll find Dosa Deli positioned in its regular spot at Brentford Market every Sunday, with the tantalising smells of Bhel Puri, Dahi Sev Puri etc, emanating from under the canopy. As well as this Kristian and Amy have been branching out, becoming regulars at food festivals and other events up and down the country.
Kristian and Amy had been long time Indian food fans, both worked for in the hospitality industry, organising large scale food exhibitions. Yet the idea of starting a company, let alone a market food company had never entered their minds. As Amy explains “after being both made redundant we decided to take our passion for cooking to the next level and get involved in the London street food scene. We wanted to inject what we had learnt from our travels to India and Asia into our street food. Knowing how popular Indian cuisine was in the UK we were surprised that South Indian food was kept exclusively to a few restaurants in London, so we decided to create dosa wraps, pimping up dosa.”
As anyone knows, setting up a company requires a great deal of dedication, stamina and panache, the business environment being such that it can turn a sane man mad, in the blink of an eye. Kristian and Amy planned their launch of Dosa Deli carefully.
“We decided to start small, starting with a gazebo and a few pieces of equipment. We found a small market in Brixton to allow us to test out our set up and our food. We learnt loads at the beginning; we quickly reduced down our menu to one item, and organically evolved into a vegetarian company as our customers were asking for the veggie options, which turned out to be a savvy business decision.”
The beginning of Kristian and Amy’s journey into the world of business was tough “at the start we both had other part time freelancing jobs” says Amy “it wasn’t until 6 months in that we both went full time as our Dosa Deli work load started to increase. The first winter was a really tough time, with very few markets available, bad weather, and a lot of ‘long hours for little money’ jobs over Christmas. We worked on reducing our costs, and refocusing on our core business direction, building on our website, and applying for next year’s festivals.”
Despite the initial hardships, Dosa Deli quickly proved popular with the public, who were tempted by the unique culinary fusions of East and West “we have been really pleased by the reaction to our food. We aim to produce healthy, tasty, Asian inspired food that happens to have no meat in it. We don’t use oil or butter in our cooking; we cook the way I want to eat at home. My favourite customer is one who is a big meat eating man, who is willing to give it a try, it’s the best feeling when they come back to say how much they loved the food.”
Kristian and Amy are now enjoying the fruits of success, with Dosa Deli’s popularity increasing, their time and energy put into building their business is paying off “I wasn’t sure what direction the venture was going to take, we always wanted to get into festivals as that is our real passion, but didn’t expect to have created a vegetarian company that specialised in dosa’s. Next year we plan on doing more festivals and building up our private catering work also. I’m not a risk taker, I weigh everything up before we decide to take on a job; I think that has helped us to build a successful business.”