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The journey must go on. . .!!

After nearly one-and-a-half years, 76 blogs later and having met some 108,000 people, it is now time for me to move on and do what I have always done, well, for almost 35 years it’s what I’ve been doing.

And that is to go back to my ‘den’, the kitchen.

Or, in other words, I should just head back into my restaurant at least seven days a week, if not more!!

It’s been a privilege to write down my experiences, share my recipes, hear your feedback and mull over what blog to think about. Such thoughts are great when it’s a Golden Age and the Sun is Setting, the coffers are full and all’s right in the world.

However, times are tough and, as the saying goes, “When the going gets tough. . .”

Well, given the present situation I say, “Get back to basics.”

It’s just like in cricket. When the runs dry out or the wickets are not coming, it is time to sit back and think about the little things that you need to do to get back to the ‘winning streak’.

Business at my restaurant is ‘slow’ and there is no immediate sign of  things ‘turning around’.

So the team sat down and decided that the best way to fight this ‘downtime’ is to make sure that both the ‘food and service’ do not descend either.

I mean, this is not the first time we have been ‘quiet‘ and it’s definitely not going to be the last.

The difference, however, between this ‘drop’ in business and the previous years is that we were aware of what was ‘coming’, and so we prepared ourselves accordingly.

Not this time.

There are days when we are overbooked and there is no room for any walk-in customers, but then there are days when nobody books a table and there are no walk-in customers either!!

This is very, very surprising and something that I have not experienced in my 20 years, or so, of running a restaurant in Australia.

But then, this is no time for any retrospection nor a time to become an amateur actuary.

Now is the time to act before it is too late!

So, friends, thank you for your time and all the feedback that you gave my blogs. I genuinely enjoyed all your comments and it was great while it lasted.

Before I sign off, however, there are a few people who need to be thanked from the bottom of my heart:

JS, John Slaytor, the photographer, who made my blogs sing with his. . .!

John Slaytor

Pip, who made the dishes have a ‘sense of smell’, and of course, did the ‘edditting’ [sic]!!

My son, Aniruddh, who is just a great guy to have around when you are cooking and last, but certainly not least, Meera, my wife who has been the ‘inspiration’ and also my reality check and the photographer, since June this year.

Yes that’s right, folks! Did you notice?! I’m sure you did not realise the transition had taken place (well, almost) from JS to MJ!!

But before I put my pen down and pick up my knife, and meet you somewhere in some other avatar, please always remember and spread the word that Indian food ain’t no “DAMN CURRY IN A HURRY”!!

And last, but not least, you never know, I might return with yet more stories about what’s going to happen in the forthcoming months and ‘how we got out of this downtime’ but in the meantime, because I can’t pull myself away from the blogs entirely, I’ll be posting some previous blogs that have been the most popular, for whatever reason: the characters in them, the spices used, the reminders of our youth a certain dish creates. . .So, it’s not the final curtains quite yet, folks. Watch this space!

Anah Daata Sukhi Bhava!!

About Ajoy Joshi

i've been a chef for over three decades now! i trained in chennai and started off with the taj hotel group. i've owned nilgiri's indian restaurant in sydney for over 15 years. i'm on a mission to dispel the myth that indian food is no more than a 'curry in a hurry'! come with me as i try and educate. indian food is my passion (alongside cricket!) and i'm enjoying exploring the new social media and as well as having published cookery books i'm now moving into videos. simple and easy to follow that don't go on for hours like some Bollywood movies!

53 responses »

  1. Am twice sorry, Ajoy. Sorry to hear for the downturn in business and sorry to hear that you are taking a break from the blog. Hoping for better times at the restaurant. Thank you for the culinary prose, the recipes and most of all, for the bitter sweet memories of the Taj Residency Bangalore in the early 80’s. God bless, and look forward to you returning to the blog!

    Reply
  2. Hi ajoy it’s a terrible news:(
    But good on u … If u think this is a right move for u and ur restaurant then best of luck!!!
    I always been to ur restaurant on Sundays .. Always jam packed …. Food and service was on spot ….
    Best of luck!!!!
    Hope to see u soon on blog with more stories and good news:)

    Reply
  3. for someone who just got to know you..i dont want you to shut shop…be slow here but be steady!!

    Reply
  4. Ajoy, people still talk about the incredible food you served at our wedding ceremony! Authentic and delicious. Best of luck – we will surely drop by the restaurant soon.
    Cheers
    Sagar

    Reply
  5. People still rave about the wonderful food you served at our wedding ceremony! So authentic and delicious. Best of luck and we’ll be sure to drop by the restaurant again soon.
    Cheers
    Sagar

    Reply
  6. If your restaurant was in Melbourne I would frequent, frequently. Your blog has been amazing. I never really understood how to get the multi layered flavours that come with great Indian food. But because of your wonderful recipes I am proud to serve up the very inspirational not curry dishes you have posted. Good luck

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  7. I had gotten hooked onto your posts but you got to what you gotta do. Wish I could help but am far off on the other side of the world. I can just wish good luck to you and your family. If I do happen to be in that part of the world, how ever unlikely, I will make it a point to dine at nilgiris. Been a pleasure reading and writing (comments) on the blog.

    P.S.: I have been writing under the moniker K — that is from my name, Koundinya.

    Reply
    • Hello K,
      Mate you have been great with your feedbacks and comments, always made me think and go back to my roots.
      Will have to get this off my back, soon!!
      Happy cooking!!

      Reply
  8. Hope things turn around soon

    Reply
  9. Horse,muh bro! Worry not your ugly head,mate! There’s always light at end of the tunnels- some long, some short, some seemingly never-ending… ask me,man! First the stroke 1, then stroke 2, now a heart attack_oops number unknown.hehehe!! don’t sweat,buddy! just cut costs n hang in there! take care,bro!
    cheers!
    much love- the brothrely kind:-) )
    Nicky

    Reply
    • Hey Nicky,
      Good to hear from you, who has gone thru a bigger ‘sh..! than a lot of us put together.
      This is just a small ‘hiccup’ in a long journey that started in Madras, hope you remember.
      Happy cooking!!

      Reply
  10. I’ll miss your posts Chef! You have been so generous with your recipes, tips and stories that its hard to accept that you won’t be around. Sorry to read about the drop in business, my best wishes for its recovery and lots of success. Maybe a change in marketing strategy, maybe ‘theme’d menus’ over the weekdays or cost effective ‘combos’ may bring in more customers. Since it is holiday season introducing some great catering packages would be nice. I hope to visit Australia some day and dine in your restaurant.

    Reply
    • Hello Priti,
      Great to hear from you again.
      And thanks for the advice. We are certainly looking at different options and strategies to get back to the ‘winning ways’. It is difficult but not impossible!!

      Happy cooking!!

      Reply
  11. i hope things change for the better and good. all the best chef ajoy. would love to see more stories later.

    Reply
  12. Best of luck Ajoy,, things will be better….

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  13. This is sad for me chef:( I had just started knowing you and following your blog….to know that I might not get to read posts from you is a bit of a shock for me. I hope all is well very soon with your restaurant and I get hear from you. I live in UK and was hoping to see your restaurant here too some day! I not losing hopes. Wishing you the very best!
    Preeti

    Reply
  14. I just know you are going to bounce back! You don’t have it in you to give up! Your food is great, your passion for food is greater.. there is no reason the business won’t do better and soon!

    best wishes!

    Reply
  15. Sorry to hear that Nilgiri’s, too, is a victim of the global depression; let’s hope you manage to hang in there until the pendulum swings back to the good times. In the meantime, there are the words of yours that I treasure the most, and which I repeat whenever the occasion arises : “Learning ‘how much’ teaches you one dish; learning ‘how and why’ teaches you, or opens up the doors of, the entire cuisine. […] A combination of passion and practice is, for me, a sign of a good chef.”.

    And I’d also like to thank you for recommending Dr J S Pruthi’s “Spices and Condiments” : nowhere near as hard to find as I had feared, and full of useful facts for any lover of Indian cuisine.

    Philip Taylor

    Reply
  16. Hey Ajoy, had just started reading your blog and was completely awed by it..was learning so much just by reading through. Will truly miss your posts. I hope your business makes a complete recovery, and is better than ever before.. Heartfelt wishes, and please come back 🙂

    Reply
  17. Well Ajoy I am sad to hear this, I have loved cooking these recipes and I will often be returning to this blog, as long as it remains. On a brighter note, I am going to Nilgiris, in fact tomorrow night with 8 others to celebrate my PhD, I couldn’t think of a better place!
    All the best
    Josephine

    Reply
    • Thanks Josephine,
      Hope you and your guests enjoyed their visit to my restaurant last night.
      Happy cooking !!

      Reply
      • We had a stunning night at Nilgiris, my friends keep raving about it. I knew the food would be excellent but i was also amazed at the service. I can’t thank you all enough except by spreading the word and returning again and again.

  18. We have full faith and confidence in you.It ‘s only a matter of time we will see you bounce back.Our good wishes and blessings.

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  19. OMG! Please do not give up Ajoyji!

    Almighty has promised us all one thing- if you are working hard HE will provide for you–in every circumstance!

    Remember HIS promise and also yours

    All the very best! We will pray that your Rozi has lot of Barakat inshallah!

    Shiba

    Reply
  20. Hi Ajoy,
    I am really sorry to know no more regular blogs but do understand you need to concentrate on the business. Your dedication and passion for cooking will pull you through these tough times…Wishing you the best and early recovery too …
    Madhu Dubey

    Reply
    • Thanks Madhu,
      It is a slow and sometimes a very heartbreaking process, having been through it a few times. But hopefully will get through this one too!!
      Yeh waqt bhi guzar jaayega !!

      Reply
  21. Hi Ajoy,

    Don’t give up, these things do happen. We will miss your regular blogs and thanks for sharing those amazing recipes. Good wishes from all your readers is amazing and so supportive. Have faith in yourself and your wonderful team. Maybe a change of place might change your luck too.

    All the best for 2013 to You. Meera, Aniruddh and your amazing team. Cheers.

    Reply
  22. Hello Ajoy and Meera – sorry to hear about the downturn. We do hope it picks up and we wish you all the best in 2013. Will see you soon and will tell our friends to keep Nilgiri going – its too good to lose.
    When you go through a hard or difficult time, When everything seems to oppose you, When you feel you cannot bear even one minute – PLEASE DONT GIVE UP because it is the time and place that the course will divert – AND IT WILL. Speak the Word and it will happen

    Reply
  23. Martin Richards

    Dear Ajoy.

    Sue and I have been enjoying your excellent restaurant and your kind and personal welcome for years. Your books and relishes have been an excellent source of gifts to our friends who enjoy good food

    We enjoyed a terrific Wednesday night dinner at nilgiri’s just a week ago. We commented on how good the quality was and the value for money. Both the goat and lamb dishes were outstanding.

    The service as always was first class and there was no impression that “times were tough” which is an absolute testament to your committment to quality and value. These attributes will win through in the end.

    We will definitely enjoy nilgiri’s a little more often. You must survive this “crisis” since Sue refuses to eat at any other “Indian” restaurant in Sydney.

    Hang in there mate.

    Reply
  24. Dear Meera and Ajoy,

    You and Meera are an inspiration and we are sorry that times have become tough. We know when a downturn in business happens, that we all need to get “back to basics” and we need those who appreciate us to rally around.

    You both deserve to prosper.

    There is an old saying “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. It is time for all of your supporters to spread the word again about the fabulous Nilgiri”s.

    I know that you are supporting North Sydney Demonstration school most generously and we salute you for that. Now is the time for all of your fans and for local people to support you.

    So, I propose to hustle up as many of our friends to come to Nilgiri’s regularly to ensure that your business gets back to the position it deserves to be.

    All power and good luck to you…and we will see you soon.

    Carole Baker and Denny Linker

    Reply
  25. Bruce Bickerstaff

    Attending your cooking class some three weeks ago has brought forward some amazing results. from a “curry in a hurry guy” I have been transformed into a genuine caring cook. My pantry is now full of the most fabulous spices along with a book of a thousand recipes, thanks to your incredible generousity.

    Ajoy, you are a wonderful chef, host and person. I believe there are only two kinds of people in this world…those that know of, and dine at Nilgiris and those that are going to.

    Go get “em Aloy. You have the will, knowhow, and people skills to take you through this period to prosperity on the other side. I look forward to dining with you in the not too distant future. Bruce Bickerstaff. New Zealand

    Reply
  26. I have not met you personally but have eaten at Nilgiris & as Pax says you are too good to call it a day. I have often recommended Nilgiris to friends & hope I have the pleasure of eating there again. Meanwhile take care & dont give up.
    Kind regards
    Mona

    Reply
  27. Dear Joshi,
    Your 20 years of efforts will soon bounce on Nilgiris….All the very best.

    Reply
  28. Dear Joshi,
    Your 20 year of efforts will soon bounce back on Nilgiris …All the very best.

    Reply

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