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TIE F&B Award Night Rocks at the Park

Tehnaz Dastoor

TIE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) Kolkata under the able stewardship of its President Mr. S. Radhakrishnan, organized the first-of-its-kind F&B Entrepreneurship Summit and Awards at the Park Hotel on 26th May, 2017. The Convener of this Summit was Mr. Sagar Daryani, co-founder of Wow Momo.
TIE was founded in 1992 in Silicon Valley by a group of successful entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and senior professionals with roots in the Indus region. There are currently 13,000 members, including over 2,500 charter members in 61 chapters across 18 countries. TIE’s mission is to foster entrepreneurship globally through mentoring, networking, education, incubating, and funding.

The purpose of this Summit was to share experiences of those F&B entrepreneurs that had gone through the challenges of creating companies and of rewarding the various leaders in their fields.  In attendance were over 250 F&B outlets and the place was a-buzz with excitement. The normally staid TIE event took on a totally different vibe with the young entrepreneurs excited about participating in the event and there was much speculation about who would be receiving an Award at the end of the evening.

The program schedule included a number of interesting discussions such as ‘Local Going Places’, ‘the Impact of GST on the F&B Community’ and ‘Innovating and Growth’. During the discussions it became evident that even during tumultuous times, people were ‘calmed by food’, yet for the restaurant industry there were a number of challenges which they had to overcome in attempting to take their chains out of the city. For example, Siddharta Chatterjee, co-founder of Bhojohori Manna spoke of problems with HR, a lack of finding skilled personnel, issues of scalability and food audit as some of the issues which he faced. This sentiment was echoed by Aditya Ladsaria of Chai Break too.  Chef Joymala of Bohemian mentioned the need to build a strong Brand, bootstrap it and once the right mix was achieved and scalability needed, then TIE should be approached for funding.

Chef Sabyasachi (Saby) Gorai, an Indian icon who has a cult following and has received innumerable awards amongst others, India’s Best Chef Award from the President of India, delivered the key-note address. Saby spoke about his lack of formal education as seen by his Bengali parents who could not comprehend their son becoming a ‘cook’ for a living! He reminisced fondly of growing up in Asansol and having a dream, and pursuing it, thus encouraging everyone present that no matter who you are and where you come from, fame and glory can be achieved through diligence and hard work. His take-aways for success were: work with ‘like-minded’ people, believe in one’s self, learn to manage finances fastidiously, and bring-in outside investors.

Sagar Daryani of Wow Momo fame moderated discussions of a relatively young panel of entrepreneurs around ‘Innovating for Growth’.  Sneha Singhi of Paris Café conveyed the need to break people’s dietary habits and widen their horizons by offering ‘new foods’ to them. Gaurav Karnani of the Grid spoke about the fact that he was absolutely uninterested in food personally and could survive on rice, dal and channa 365 days a year. Not being from the F&B industry worked for him in being able to create a 24/7 operating resto-brewery which created and sold an experience to its clients.

The evening culminated with the much-anticipated Innovation Award ceremony. Some of the major awardees included 6 Ballygunge Place (Bengali Cuisine), Chai Break (Café Format), Mrs. Magpie (Bakery), Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick (Desserts), The Grid (Bars/Lounges/Nightclubs), WoW Momo (Growing F&B Brand of the Year),  Sagar Daryani (F&B Entrepreneur of the Year), Nitin Kothari (F&B Outstanding Contribution Award) and Anjan Chatterjee (F&B Visionary of the Year). Following the awards, the Park laid out a lavish dinner spread for all the participants.