Taste managing a business idea

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Fawzia Ahmed, 35, hated to do the routine daal-chawal-sabzi number. But she loved to stun her guests with exotic dishes which kept their taste buds tingling for more. Then, ever since she can remember, she’s been mad about movies and has been collecting film posters. She has also kept her foot tapping to that popular number of the times. And, just for fun, she enrolled for an ice-cream-making course in the UK some years ago. So put all these fancies of Fawzia Ahmed together and you have Big Chill, an ultra-popular ice-cream cafe in Delhi. And a business success story that was simply a lot of fun to create.

The queues outside Big Chill are long indeed, getting a table could easily mean a half an hour wait, usually at any time in the day. Since it started three years ago, business has trebled.

Fawzia Ahmed: Pleasing palettes
The place offers Mediterranean food, ice-creams and desserts that are conjured up by Fawzia in the kitchen. The restaurant is plasteredwith film posters and the speakers drum out songs that both you and your uncle would recognise. Talk about seeing a fantasy come to life. As a customer once told Fawzia: “Hey, you are getting away with a lot.” But who cares, it works.

Fawzia’s is hardly a housewife-with-a-dream-to-rake-it-in-story. For eight years, she ran an Asian women’s refuge in the UK. To take a break, she went on a holiday to Rwanda in Africa, where she met Aseem Grover, who was there on deputation from the Indian Army. Cupid went to work immediately and soon the two were married. Shortly after that, they were forced to live apart for three years, with Aseem getting an army posting in Dehradun.

That’s when the idea came to Fawzia—”Why not work on something together and, therefore, live together, rather than live apart after marriage?” So Big Chill was born—with some advice from Fauzia’s cousin who had set up an ice-cream cafe in London.

Between Aseem and Fawzia, they sank in Rs 10 lakh and found a place to rent in New Delhi’s

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