The Patak's Story
My grandfather, L.G. Pathak, was born in 1925 into a family of poor farmers in the Indian state of Gujurat. When his father died the family moved to Kenya in search of a better life. And they found one after opening a shop selling Indian sweets to fellow immigrants longing for a taste of home.
By 1956 Kenya was changing so L.G. and his family set sail for Britain - the Mother Country. He arrived in a freezing November with just £5 in his pocket. The only job he could get was cleaning sewers.
At this point my grandmother stepped forward and started making Indian sweets and snacks in the tiny family kitchen. Soon word spread and the queues built up. And my 10 year old dad started making deliveries all over London.
After a couple of years they opened a small shop behind Euston Station. It sold all kind of Indian groceries. It became a roaring success. Partly because they always sourced the best quality foodstuffs they could.
But after over ordering too many vegetables one time my grandfather decided to pickle the extras. It proved a stroke of genius. Next he preserved freshly ground spices in oil to create spice pastes that gave an authentic taste of India.
By now Kirit, my dad, was in charge, and my mum, Meena, was developing new products for the business. Soon they’d hit on the idea of sauces that made making a curry simple for people with little time to cook from scratch.
The business blossomed. And now it employs over 700 people worldwide. And if my grandfather could see how our family’s love of Indian food has helped Britain fall in love with it too, he would be very, very proud.’