I read on facebook about Parkar’s Biryani House and Akshay Parkar’s rising, falling and re-rising from being a 5 Star chef – earning 1,500 rupees per month as stipend during internship and working for one year, to working at an international cruise ship – earning 70,000 rupees per month for 7 years at abroad and then opening a roadside makeshift biryani shop (all due to pandemic/COVID-19) at Dadar, Mumbai.
(Tourism was one of the first to be hit by the pandemic (COVID-19) which made many jobless and many dead)
With the help of Google Maps I reached the lane next to Cotton King (left-hand side) near Shiv Sena Bhavan in Dadar (West), Mumbai.
After walking approx. 10-15 meters inside the lane, I enquire a shop (on the right-hand side) about Parkar’s Biryani House.
I was told – it’s a makeshift shop next to Shivam Vada Pav (25 years old) – will open at 1 pm. I have to wait.
The current time was 12:30 noon. At least 20-25 customers already in queue waiting for the makeshift shop to open.
Around 12:50 pm, I saw a person placing folding table.
I question him – is this Parkar’s Biryani House?
He said – Yes.
I enquired about Akshay Parkar and a wish to meet him.
The person requested to wait for few minutes.
At 1 pm I saw arrival of a female and a guy covering head and face (due to pandemic). They placed an aluminium pot on top of folding table and one pot nearby. Then they started serving hot biryani to customers in a silver foil Container with lid.
Its takeaway service. And The cost displayed at a pamphlet:
Chicken Biryani Full/Half 140/70, Egg Biryani 130/65 and Veg. Biryani 120/60.
The aroma of the rice, spices along with pieces of chicken was making my mouth-watering.
After few minutes another young guy with face mask and head cover arrived and started customer service himself.
He was Akshay Parkar – a left-handed guy serving biryani to customers with a delicacy (विनम्रता).
I remember his face – watching him in a YouTube video/s.
I waited for one hour to talk to him – I do not want to disturb him and his team during business hours.
2 pm – The time and all finished. Though there were still customers in the queue.
Akshay and his team said sorry to people in the queue and requested them to come early in the evening hours.
Now, it was time to talk to Akshay – The owner of Parkar’s Biryani House.
My name is Akshay Pravin Parkar and I am 29 years old.
I have done 3 years apprenticeship and one year job at TajSTATS near international airport, Mumbai.
Then, I joined international cruise and worked there for 7 years.
I came back to India in June.
I was in Philippines during pandemic. Company was giving 50% salary since pandemic (from March onwards). And in June – The contract was ended. We were sent back to India by the company via a charter flight.
After coming back to India I applied for jobs as chef at 3/5 Star hotels but failed. Due to pandemic there was no recruitment.
I had savings during pandemic. Company had also send goodwill ($150). I thought, I will survive for 6 months but our financial condition deteriorated due to parent’s illness. The money saved was spent and I had left only with 10,000 rupees.
I am the only child and the sole breadwinner. I was somewhat depressed, unable to decide – what to do next.
Then one day – my mother suggested to start from scratch once again.
She said – who knows, you will go much far then what was you in the past.
The said suggestion was motivational.
As I was good in making biryani, I thought of starting a biryani stall nearby my home next to my neighbour’s shop.
In the month of September, I started with 5,000 rupees, making chicken/egg/veg. biryani almost the same as 5 Star hotels and selling at makeshift shop. I utmost try to maintain the 5 Star quality no matter it is sold on the road-side stall.
Whatever I am today is because of learnt cooking skills from mother, maternal grandmother and 3 years apprenticeship at TajSTATS.
Earlier, the sale at the stall was very less. Pramod Acharekar – a dear friend put up a post on a facebook page called ‘Being Malwani’. The post went viral and now-a-days the sale is good.
My day starts at 6 – 6:30 am.
I start serving biryani to customers at 1 pm and then at 7:30 in the evening till 9 pm.
Harshada and Shubham – two friends, helping me immensely in my biryani business.
We use basmati rice and for fresh chicken – I myself go to butcher. My wish is to open my own restaurant to sell all types of biryani such as Chicken Biryani, Egg Biryani, Vegetable Biryani, Hyderabadi Biryani, Lucknowi/Awadhi Biryani and Afghani Biryani. I also know how to prepare Tikka Kebab.
Today, I made 10 kg biryani in the afternoon and within one hour it was sold though today is Saturday.
Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, I prepare 14 kg biryani in the afternoon and 14 kg in the evening hours.
Currently, there is take-away only. Home-delivery we have yet to start via Swiggy/Zomato – conformation is yet to come.
We undertake all events & party-orders and also prepare Mutton Biryani on order per kg.
Our Contact Numbers: 0-98693 61451/90826 21436
The message is: Don’t be depressed in life or during pandemic. Keep patience. Do hard-work. Believe in you and your skills. Success will happen.
Thanks Akshay for sharing this inspirational journey and the wonderful message – said I.
I will visit again very soon to take-away hot, delicious, aromatic 5 Star biryani from chef Akshay Pravin Parkar.
I hope your journey will motivate many and people visiting Dadar will surely visit your stall to taste/have 5 Star biryani for self/family/friends. Wishing you and team, lots of love & luck for the coming 2021. May you soon have your own restaurant. Thanks again. The journey continues..