For my first post, I thought I’d write about Paisley Experience, as a concept, as a business or as a restaurant. But these are things one can experience (if I may), first hand, if they ever visit us, order our food or even look us up on Instagram to learn more about us. So, I have decided to make the first post on the blog about what Paisley Experience is to me, Dhanashree Goregaonkar (a.k.a Dhani from Paisley, if you happen to drop us a phone call.)
Before I start talking about the story of how Paisley Experience, as it is today, came into being, a little more about myself; and I’m talking about myself here because Paisley is a very personal project, and a little information about me, is a lot of information about the organisation.
My family finds its roots in Alibaug through several generations. One prominent name would be N.K Mhatre (or Anna, as fondly addressed in anecdotes I grew up hearing), my great grandfather, who was a pioneering individual in the poultry industry. I never had the chance to meet the man, but his legacy, his evergreen reputation, had me impressed even as a kid. When I started a business of my own, a little part of me strives to be like him, at every step.
My love for food, I think, is hereditary. I haven’t come across a single family member who isn’t passionate about food, be it cooking or eating. Growing up, I’d watch my Neeya (mum’s mum) and even mum prepare everyday food, but it wasn’t really everyday food. When cooking for a family, as obsessed with food as ours, everyday food just doesn’t cut it. The process of cooking fascinated me. It’s like chemistry, but without the equations that I don’t understand to this day. I wanted to be a chef, until I completed my training at a hotel, and found myself pretty horrified by the lack of creativity and working conditions of the industry. Before I could graduate, opportunity came knocking.
The Paisley Kitchen
My uncle had a kitchen space, attached to a factory in Alibaug that he wanted to put to use. After not too much thought, mum and I excitedly agreed. We hadn’t been to Alibaug in years and the only question was, why not?
After a lot of brainstorming, multiple scrapped menus, several rejected ideas, came The Paisley Kitchen. A delivery kitchen, serving traditional food, native to the Pachkalshis of Mumbai and Alibaug. Food I associated with Alibaug, food I grew up eating, food that has been prepared in the family over so many generations. I simply cannot imagine coming to Alibaug and eating any other cuisine.
My vacations in Alibaug were made of playing out in the sun, climbing trees and eating kalwan or fried fish prepared from the catch the kolin brought in that day, of course with a side of rice. And this is the nostalgia and experience our menu brings to you.
The delivery kitchen eventually had to move out of the factory property for several reasons, what turned out to be a very stressful situation, resulted in The Paisley Kitchen growing into Paisley Experience.
The delivery kitchen left its nest and grew into a bigger, independent project that is now Paisley Experience. A holistic dining experience that encompasses the charm of the Alibaug I grew up with. It was like starting all over again, but this time, we knew what we were doing (a little more than the first time). Our kitchen staff, from The Paisley Kitchen, stuck with us, which I am forever grateful for and Jyoti, Reshma, Siya and Mandar now look after Paisley Experience like its their own. From being silent employees in a factory to valued assets with roles of responsibility, I have had the pleasure of learning from them, and discovering their capabilities.
I see Paisley Experience, in the future as an organisation that gives back as much as it gets from its surroundings; a larger, sustainable business that employs more locals and supports and promotes the local suppliers of Alibaug.
As I finish writing this post, I realised that along with Paisley, I’ve grown too. And I hope to learn more, grow more, and I hope our patrons continue to support us like they have since December 2018.
Dhani Paisley Experience