Michelin-trained chef to bring takeaway, casual and fine dining to Raphael Park
- Credit: Megha Kochhar Arora
A Romford-based Michelin-trained chef hopes to transform a Gidea Park restaurant into a takeaway, casual and fine dining establishment.
New owner of the former Raphael’s Turkish in Raphael Park, Megha Kochhar Arora, has said the “premium location” matches her restaurant's offerings.
At the moment Megha is continuing to serve Turkish cuisine from the eatery, but she has added a takeaway service named Pink Foodie.
By April the 37-year-old plans to change the dine-in menu to offer a casual option - which will be called Raphael’s by CREM Kitchen - and later in the year, a fine-dining option under CREM Kitchen.
CREM Kitchen started as a fine-dining supper club in May 2019, through which Megha offered eight-course meals at her family home.
Due to Covid, the club came to a halt and delivery service Pink Foodie was born.
The success of Pink Foodie has helped Megha to open her restaurant, with healthy dishes available to order including Seoul beef rice, vegan dumplings and Bangkok chicken rice.
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Having moved to Romford in 2017 - where she lives with her husband Charit Arora, 38, and four-year-old daughter Reya Arora - Megha said she struggled to find a place that offered “a city experience”.
She said: “I wanted somewhere where I could celebrate a special occasion but at the same time have a neighbourhood restaurant where I could eat every day."
The 37-year-old began training as a chef seven years ago after realising she didn’t enjoy her desk-based marketing career.
She trained at Cordon Bleu in Paris and then went on to learn from professionals at acclaimed restaurants such as The Ledbury in Nothing Hill and Jaan in Singapore, which both hold two Michelin stars.
Coming from a family of “good cooks”, it was travelling to France that inspired Megha to become a chef.
“I come from a conservative background in India where you don’t see women cooking professionally or in commercial kitchens much, so when I explored this side of the industry, I realised I could do my passion."
She added: "I want to give people that feeling when I tried something for the first time and thought ‘wow, what is that?’ and I found it to be delicious.
“It won’t be an uptight experience but the food and customer service will be outstanding.”