Our Story

My great Grandfather, Devraj Varu, left India in the late 19th Century to work on the railways in Uganda for the British Empire. The journey took him over 3 months to reach his destination by Sailing Boat.

My Mother and most of her siblings (she has 9 sisters and 2 brothers, yes there are 11 of them!) were born in Uganda, East Africa. They lived in a village called Kyere in a modest 2-roomed house with a corrugated iron roof, occasional electricity, no TV and no running water. They collected their water in a wheelbarrow at the nearest well, which was 2 miles away.

They lived a simple life, with my Grandfather working as a tailor. The whole family including my Grandmother and Great Grandmother, used to get raw cotton delivered to their humble abode. The cotton was then turned into ‘fluff’ (hand sheered cotton fibres) by hand, which the whole family would then make into hand-stitched quilts. They also made bookbinders from resin and black paper. Life was tough, but they were able to make ends meet. Everyone was happy because they had one another, within a thriving, harmonious, multi-cultural community.

By the time the girls could walk, they were helping my Grandmother cook. Twice a week they would walk to the local markets in the blistering heat, to buy the freshest spices available. Once there, they headed straight for dozens of hand made hessian sacks, brimming over with golden turmeric, ruby red chilli powder and emerald green coriander. The spices would be weighed on old-fashioned scales.

On arriving back home, they would head straight for the freshly picked fruit and vegetables. These were delivered at dawn each morning by locals farmers, carrying baskets with a cascade of colours inside on their head.

In the kitchen was a second hand metal container covered in clay. This was the oven! The oven was patched up almost every night, with fresh clay from the local river bed. A myriad of vegetables including amethyst aubergines, mango peppers and jade green okra were all available to be mixed with a spectrum of spices and cooked over glowing amber charcoal.

In 1972, when my Mother was only 10 years old, the Dictator of Uganda, Idi Amin demanded that all Asians should leave the country within 3 months with a £50 parting gift for each family! A close family friend was actually beheaded by government troops before they left.

As Uganda was part of the British Commonwealth at the time, they had a choice of countries that they could immigrate to; which included England, Canada or Australia.

My Grandfather had always loved England and the Queen so he decided this would be the country the family would immigrate to, so England became their new home.

Fast-forward 49 years and here we are with Chilli Kitchen sharing our incredible recipes with the people of England.

These unique, authentic and totally delicious recipes have been passed down over many generations, dating back hundreds of years to the province Gujarat in the western coastal region of India.

I myself was born in 1995 in Derby, and was raised single handedly by my Mother. I have tremendous love and respect for my Mum, who is also a co-founder of Chilli Kitchen. Being massively inspired by my Mum and her sister’s fabulous cooking skills, provided the catalyst to enable me to sow the seeds for the ‘Chilli Kitchen’ enterprise.

Throughout my childhood my fondest memories was spending hours in my Mum’s and aunties kitchens watching them creating glorious family feasts for all the family to enjoy over many wonderful hours.

I can remember one special family occasion when I was 10 years old admiring a stack of rotis, that were higher than the pint of beer that my uncle was drinking. The irresistible smell of the cooking and aromatic spices drifting throughout the house is something that will always stay with me and inspire me.

The children were always number one in our family. On special occasions there would be up to 20 of us, being royally served on by my mum and my auntie’s delivering fresh, hot and buttery rotis to devour with our delightful curries and other creations.

My mum is a vegetarian as are the majority of her family but fortunately for myself and my cousins, they would make us our absolute favourite dish, Chicken Curry…which is our very own Chilli Kitchen signature dish ‘Tender Masala Chicken’.

Always at the back of my mind was the thought of wanting to share these incredible recipes, especially with my friends but also with the wider community. In my late teens the idea developed further and then when I became 21 I started making plans to create a high quality Indian street food business. 

In 2018 I achieved my ultimate dream and Chilli Kitchen was born. Initially my friends were ‘blown away’ with the special Gujarati culinary experience. These were flavours that they had never tasted before.

A lot has changed since then and we have had the opportunity to showcase our flavours at premier food festivals around the country, including the major music festival Download.

We are a progressive and forward thinking company and have already begun establishing the foundations for regional and national coverage. Whilst retaining our beliefs and commitment to our deep and rich family traditions, our philosophy and passion for food will always be our prime motivation.

To this end we will always promise to keep that special place within our hearts for the food that we love to share with you all.

Alex Varu.

Our Story

My great Grandfather, Devraj Varu, left India in the late 19th Century to work on the railways in Uganda for the British Empire. The journey took him over 3 months to reach his destination by Sailing Boat.

My Mother and most of her siblings (she has 9 sisters and 2 brothers, yes there are 11 of them!) were born in Uganda, East Africa. They lived in a village called Kyere in a modest 2-roomed house with a corrugated iron roof, occasional electricity, no TV and no running water. They collected their water in a wheelbarrow at the nearest well, which was 2 miles away.

They lived a simple life, with my Grandfather working as a tailor. The whole family including my Grandmother and Great Grandmother, used to get raw cotton delivered to their humble abode. The cotton was then turned into ‘fluff’ (hand sheered cotton fibres) by hand, which the whole family would then make into hand-stitched quilts. They also made bookbinders from resin and black paper. Life was tough, but they were able to make ends meet. Everyone was happy because they had one another, within a thriving, harmonious, multi-cultural community.

By the time the girls could walk, they were helping my Grandmother cook. Twice a week they would walk to the local markets in the blistering heat, to buy the freshest spices available. Once there, they headed straight for dozens of hand made hessian sacks, brimming over with golden turmeric, ruby red chilli powder and emerald green coriander. The spices would be weighed on old-fashioned scales.

On arriving back home, they would head straight for the freshly picked fruit and vegetables. These were delivered at dawn each morning by locals farmers, carrying baskets with a cascade of colours inside on their head.

In the kitchen was a second hand metal container covered in clay. This was the oven! The oven was patched up almost every night, with fresh clay from the local river bed. A myriad of vegetables including amethyst aubergines, mango peppers and jade green okra were all available to be mixed with a spectrum of spices and cooked over glowing amber charcoal.

In 1972, when my Mother was only 10 years old, the Dictator of Uganda, Idi Amin demanded that all Asians should leave the country within 3 months with a £50 parting gift for each family! A close family friend was actually beheaded by government troops before they left.

As Uganda was part of the British Commonwealth at the time, they had a choice of countries that they could immigrate to; which included England, Canada or Australia.

My Grandfather had always loved England and the Queen so he decided this would be the country the family would immigrate to, so England became their new home.

Fast-forward 49 years and here we are with Chilli Kitchen sharing our incredible recipes with the people of England.

These unique, authentic and totally delicious recipes have been passed down over many generations, dating back hundreds of years to the province Gujarat in the western coastal region of India.

I myself was born in 1995 in Derby, and was raised single handedly by my Mother. I have tremendous love and respect for my Mum, who is also a co-founder of Chilli Kitchen. Being massively inspired by my Mum and her sister’s fabulous cooking skills, provided the catalyst to enable me to sow the seeds for the ‘Chilli Kitchen’ enterprise.

Throughout my childhood my fondest memories was spending hours in my Mum’s and aunties kitchens watching them creating glorious family feasts for all the family to enjoy over many wonderful hours.

I can remember one special family occasion when I was 10 years old admiring a stack of rotis, that were higher than the pint of beer that my uncle was drinking. The irresistible smell of the cooking and aromatic spices drifting throughout the house is something that will always stay with me and inspire me.

The children were always number one in our family. On special occasions there would be up to 20 of us, being royally served on by my mum and my auntie’s delivering fresh, hot and buttery rotis to devour with our delightful curries and other creations.

My mum is a vegetarian as are the majority of her family but fortunately for myself and my cousins, they would make us our absolute favourite dish, Chicken Curry…which is our very own Chilli Kitchen signature dish ‘Tender Masala Chicken’.

Always at the back of my mind was the thought of wanting to share these incredible recipes, especially with my friends but also with the wider community. In my late teens the idea developed further and then when I became 21 I started making plans to create a high quality Indian street food business. 

In 2018 I achieved my ultimate dream and Chilli Kitchen was born. Initially my friends were ‘blown away’ with the special Gujarati culinary experience. These were flavours that they had never tasted before.

A lot has changed since then and we have had the opportunity to showcase our flavours at premier food festivals around the country, including the major music festival Download.

We are a progressive and forward thinking company and have already begun establishing the foundations for regional and national coverage. Whilst retaining our beliefs and commitment to our deep and rich family traditions, our philosophy and passion for food will always be our prime motivation.

To this end we will always promise to keep that special place within our hearts for the food that we love to share with you all.

Alex Varu.

Our Story

My great Grandfather, Devraj Varu, left India in the late 19th Century to work on the railways in Uganda for the British Empire. The journey took him over 3 months to reach his destination by Sailing Boat.

My Mother and most of her siblings (she has 9 sisters and 2 brothers, yes there are 11 of them!) were born in Uganda, East Africa. They lived in a village called Kyere in a modest 2-roomed house with a corrugated iron roof, occasional electricity, no TV and no running water. They collected their water in a wheelbarrow at the nearest well, which was 2 miles away.

They lived a simple life, with my Grandfather working as a tailor. The whole family including my Grandmother and Great Grandmother, used to get raw cotton delivered to their humble abode. The cotton was then turned into ‘fluff’ (hand sheered cotton fibres) by hand, which the whole family would then make into hand-stitched quilts. They also made bookbinders from resin and black paper. Life was tough, but they were able to make ends meet. Everyone was happy because they had one another, within a thriving, harmonious, multi-cultural community.

By the time the girls could walk, they were helping my Grandmother cook. Twice a week they would walk to the local markets in the blistering heat, to buy the freshest spices available. Once there, they headed straight for dozens of hand made hessian sacks, brimming over with golden turmeric, ruby red chilli powder and emerald green coriander. The spices would be weighed on old-fashioned scales.

On arriving back home, they would head straight for the freshly picked fruit and vegetables. These were delivered at dawn each morning by locals farmers, carrying baskets with a cascade of colours inside on their head.

In the kitchen was a second hand metal container covered in clay. This was the oven! The oven was patched up almost every night, with fresh clay from the local river bed. A myriad of vegetables including amethyst aubergines, mango peppers and jade green okra were all available to be mixed with a spectrum of spices and cooked over glowing amber charcoal.

In 1972, when my Mother was only 10 years old, the Dictator of Uganda, Idi Amin demanded that all Asians should leave the country within 3 months with a £50 parting gift for each family! A close family friend was actually beheaded by government troops before they left.

As Uganda was part of the British Commonwealth at the time, they had a choice of countries that they could immigrate to; which included England, Canada or Australia.

My Grandfather had always loved England and the Queen so he decided this would be the country the family would immigrate to, so England became their new home.

Fast-forward 49 years and here we are with Chilli Kitchen sharing our incredible recipes with the people of England.

These unique, authentic and totally delicious recipes have been passed down over many generations, dating back hundreds of years to the province Gujarat in the western coastal region of India.

I myself was born in 1995 in Derby, and was raised single handedly by my Mother. I have tremendous love and respect for my Mum, who is also a co-founder of Chilli Kitchen. Being massively inspired by my Mum and her sister’s fabulous cooking skills, provided the catalyst to enable me to sow the seeds for the ‘Chilli Kitchen’ enterprise.

Throughout my childhood my fondest memories was spending hours in my Mum’s and aunties kitchens watching them creating glorious family feasts for all the family to enjoy over many wonderful hours.

I can remember one special family occasion when I was 10 years old admiring a stack of rotis, that were higher than the pint of beer that my uncle was drinking. The irresistible smell of the cooking and aromatic spices drifting throughout the house is something that will always stay with me and inspire me.

The children were always number one in our family. On special occasions there would be up to 20 of us, being royally served on by my mum and my auntie’s delivering fresh, hot and buttery rotis to devour with our delightful curries and other creations.

My mum is a vegetarian as are the majority of her family but fortunately for myself and my cousins, they would make us our absolute favourite dish, Chicken Curry…which is our very own Chilli Kitchen signature dish ‘Tender Masala Chicken’.

Always at the back of my mind was the thought of wanting to share these incredible recipes, especially with my friends but also with the wider community. In my late teens the idea developed further and then when I became 21 I started making plans to create a high quality Indian street food business. 

In 2018 I achieved my ultimate dream and Chilli Kitchen was born. Initially my friends were ‘blown away’ with the special Gujarati culinary experience. These were flavours that they had never tasted before.

A lot has changed since then and we have had the opportunity to showcase our flavours at premier food festivals around the country, including the major music festival Download.

We are a progressive and forward thinking company and have already begun establishing the foundations for regional and national coverage. Whilst retaining our beliefs and commitment to our deep and rich family traditions, our philosophy and passion for food will always be our prime motivation.

To this end we will always promise to keep that special place within our hearts for the food that we love to share with you all.

Alex Varu.