Friday, August 23, 2013

Metamorphosis - an apprentice beautifully evolving into the teacher

I believe I owe you all an apology for my long silence. 
Speaking in restaurant terms, I admit that things have been hectic yet successful the past 11 months. Hard to believe but it’s going to be almost a year since we had the “grand” opening of the small and somewhat homey restaurant. To be precise, September 17th is when the restaurant hits one year.

My brother, who started out as an apprentice, a student, an amateur entrepreneur (whatever you’d like to call it), has grown so much and continues to grow from owning and managing his restaurant.

In the past few months, he has invested his time and money to renovate the restaurant, to build relationships with the customers, and to plan innovative ideas to better serve his customers. So far, in my opinion, he’s going in the right direction. 
In addition to all the planning and prepping for the restaurant, my brother got married. 
Congrats to him and my sister-in-law! 
My brother with his supportive wife, Deden
 Going back to the restaurant business, his success couldn't be achieved without YOU.

Whether it’s coming in as a customer, spreading the word about how good and delicious our food is, or bringing in new friends to eat at our restaurant, YOU have definitely helped in the process of my brother’s success. Thank you!

My brother and I at his wedding
Lastly, one of the main reason that inspired me to write a new blog post is because my brother is and has been for a while now, the main chef. His previous status as owner/manager, along with his experience in cooking, only allowed him to work with the tandoori oven (clay oven).  Our former Chef Lhakpa (meaning wind in Tibetan) taught him everything he needed to know about cooking the rest of the items from the menu such as our famous Chicken Tikka Masala, Aloo Gobi, Chicken Biryani, Kongpo Shaptak and so on. After being taught all the skills to mastering the dishes, my apprentice brother, stepped up and became the teacher. Probably not the best analogy, but I witnessed the metamorphosis of my brother from being an apprentice to the main chef. 

Always proud to help my brother
As for Chef Lhakpa, like the "wind", he came, did his job of teaching my brother and graciously retired his position to further continue his passion for teaching and cooking elsewhere.

Thank you to Chef Lhakpa for teaching my brother. Be sure to visit us from time to time.

Thank you to our frequent customers and new customers for your support and having an appetite for Tibetan/Indian dishes!! 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Everyday is a good day to learn.

Here's what you've all been waiting for! Enjoy! 

The Man Behind Momo Masala

Five minutes after closing hour, I walked couple blocks down Hearst Avenue side-by-side with my brother to his car. It felt good to walk beside the man who risked a lot to start up a business. When making his way down the street, my brother who’s a newbie in the industry with little experience, neither treads heavily from his mistakes nor rushes to get to bed from the weeks worth of heavy-duty work. Rather, he strides with his head held high eager to continuously learn from his business. Seconds later, he looked over to me, tapped his hand on my shoulder and said, “Everyday is a good day to learn.”

That’s when I thought to myself…today’s a good day to interview my brother, the man behind Momo Masala.

This interview/conversation took place in the car on our way home.

Lhamo: You know the first thing that comes to my mind, and maybe to a lot of the people that has visited Momo Masala, is your choice of the name for this mini establishment. Could you explain a bit on how you chose the name?
Tashi: I actually had a couple other options to choose from but Momo Masala sounded the most appealing. Momo is a Tibetan dish enjoyed by a lot of Tibetans for special occasions or simply just because it tastes good. The masala part of the name is influence from the years lived in India. I just put the two together and that’s what I got.
L: Yeah. Not only does it sound good but it’s a name that you can’t forget. It sticks to you after repeating it once or twice. It can also relate to your customers who are Tibetans raised in India or practically anyone who’s been exposed to Indian and Tibetan culture.
T: Yeah, exactly.That's what I was aiming for.
L: What was your drive or motive for opening up a restaurant business? Why not a Tibetan jewelry, clothing or even bookstore?
T: …well. Something I love to do since I was young was to cook or eat. Throughout the years, I’ve always been accustomed and have become more experienced with cooking Asian dishes. The idea of opening a restaurant has always been a dream of mine, it just took a while for me to really put my hands down and say, “I want to start a business now.” But I must say this…I couldn’t do it without the support of my family. It’s scary to start something new but when you’re surrounded by supportive people and loved ones, it makes the experience a lot different and smoother. Once again, I definitely want to thank my family and loved ones.
L: Aww…well…you know, I’d do anything for free food. Hahaha So, to those who’s unfamiliar with this restaurant, could you name couple of the popular items and items that are either in dogs, cash cow, or the question mark category in the BCG matrix (to all the business marketing majors…you all know what I’m talking about ^_^)?
T: Uhm..say what? Dogs? Cash cow?
L: Basically the items that you would like customers to recognize and purchase.
T: To start off, our popular items are Tibetan Momos, Kongpo Shaptak, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Shaphaley. And the items, I’d like people to order or at least try are: Gyathuk, Aloo Ghobi, and the wide variety of the Biryani. I basically think all the items are worth tasting.
L: I see, you have both Tibetan and Indian food that’s selling well. I guess this leads to my next question. Why did you decide on selling Indian dishes? Seeing that you are Tibetan, it makes sense for you to only sell Tibetan dishes. But instead, you took a different turn.
T: Yeah. That’s due to the cultures I’ve been exposed to. I’m from South India and I love the food they have. Initially, I wanted to have South Indian dishes but that would require extra skills plus equipment, so on and so forth. Since that idea fell through, I decided to stay on the safe side and stick with items that are relatively easier to make in such environment as Momo Masala.The size and the location of the restaurant definitely helped in deciding what food items I wanted to sell.
L: Yeah I can’t imagine how that would be. Making Dosa, Idli, or Upma would require more than just a stove and a frying pan. To end this interview, I guess my last question is, what future plans do you have, in terms of expanding/changing/adding?
T: You know it's only been a week and half since we've opened. So far so good, I'm satisfied with the flow of customers and the way things are going. But, down the line, I would like to have fun and interactive challenges for the customers such as “Who can eat the spiciest Kongpo Shaptak” or... even a “Momo eating Contest” Things like that...
L: That sounds like a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to it. Was there anything else you wanted to add?
T: We do catering as well. So, if people out there want to throw a birthday party or any special occasion gatherings and they want Tibetan/Indian Fusion food...they can definitely contact us.
L: Alright yea..that's perfect. Thanks bro.

The interview ended with us laughing at some of the random questions I asked, irrelevant to his business...

So there you go folks. Hopefully this gave you a better idea of the man behind Momo Masala.

If any of you are dying to ask a question or two that I didn't ask here, feel free to leave a comment or send a FB message and I'll be sure to add it in this blog.

Thank you all!!
Visit us/Like us on FACEBOOK

Sunday, September 16, 2012

When one door closes, another one opens...

Hello Everyone.

Before I start talking about the mini business establishment or the birth of Momo Masala, I'd like to take the time to thank YOU for landing on our blog. I guarantee that you will find it informative and worthwhile.

Your initial reaction might be questioning the title of the restaurant. Ponder no more! 
If you read the description on the left, yes, it is an Indian and Himalayan Cuisine. So what? How is this different from any other Asian cuisine, you ask? Keep reading and you'll find out. :)    

Momo is Tibetan for steamed dumplings with either meat or vegetable fillings. (You just learned a Tibetan word.) This is very similar to the Japanese Gyoza and the Koreans Manduu.

Masala is an Indian word for spice. Some people who are familiar with the word also use it to express their need for flavor and excitement in life....
Speaking of spices in life, this is a perfect segway to mention about the man behind Momo Masala.

Having worked in the Airline Industry for several years of his life, he decided he needed something more than just working with airplanes. In other words, he needed a change and wanted to add more 'masala' in his life. He's always had a passion for cooking and was good at it too (a talent he picked up from his dad). So what better way to utilize his talents than to start a business with it?

All the way from a Tibetan settlement in Bylakuppe, South India, the entrepreneur behind Momo Masala is... my brother Tashi Wangden.

Stay tuned for next blog: "Exclusive Q&A with the man behind Momo Masala"

Thank you again and hope visiting this blog added a bit of 'masala' to your life as well! ;)

Located on Hearst Avenue, the restaurant will be having its Grand Opening on Wednesday September 19, 2012 Click Momo Masala for more info and like us on Facebook.