A late starter in the hospitality industry, MeghaArora gave up her successful career in marketing for the culinary arts and is now receiving high praise for the inventive globally-inspired menu at her restaurant in Romford – CREM Kitchen.
Hailing from a big family in Delhi where food played a pivotal role in socialising and family celebrations, Megha’s parents were both excellent cooks but the thought of one of their children working as a chef was far from their wildest dreams. It was at the age of 26, on a trip to Paris when Megha’s eyes were truly opened to the delights of a professional kitchen and a career as a chef.
“When I first left India and visited Paris (on an internship) I realised what I was missing. The different ingredients and dishes, the food and drink culture – I didn’t know that such beautiful things existed, and it literally blew me away and changed the whole direction of my life,” says Megha. Enrolling in one of the best culinary schools, Cordon Bleu Paris, Megha passed with flying colours, and took her first professional internship in Paris at Pierre Herme before moving to the UK in 2013.
Megha launched her first business – CREM Kitchen Supper Clubs
With a dream to one day run her own restaurant, Megha launched her first business – CREM Kitchen Supper Clubs – from her home in Romford in 2020, which specialised in seven-course tasting menus, showcasing her take on modern Indian dishes.
“I began by running the Supper Clubs but as the pandemic struck, we had a rethink and launched Pink Foodie, by CREM Kitchen on Deliveroo,” continues Megha. “I focused on a selection of unique dishes from around the world. We got an overwhelming response from the first day. The first two days the phone didn’t stop ringing with orders. We never really looked back.”
Not one to rest on her laurels, Megha took advantage of the success and started looking for a bricks and mortar venue.
“I would often walk past the café facing the beautiful lake in Raphael Park, Romford and think that it would be a wonderful location. It often seemed to be closed. I contacted the owner, asked about availability and amazingly, nearly 24 months later CREM Kitchen launched for real.”
“When we started, I was just a cook with a vision for the food. I had never been a manager or leader before and I struggled to delegate and ended up doing everything myself. It burnt me out. I worked nonstop for 4 months, without any breaks, 7 days a week. Some of our most popular dishes include charcoal Korean wings, freshly rolled homemade fish tacos, 72 hour slow cooked BBQ pork belly and lamb and leek dumplings. I want to keep evolving the menu to offer different tastes and textures from around the world.”
“I believe, where we are, the location and the space, it has huge potential. We host a lot of weddings and special occasion parties. Beautiful lake views matched with Michelin quality food is what we aim to offer and build on. Then I would like to look at a second site locally in Essex. After that – more restaurants, a recipe book, TV appearances or my own show. It’s the same when I’m eating food, I’m greedy – I want it all!”