Nisha Katona

TRAILBLAZER

UNBIASED - INDEPENDENT - REAL

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Tell us a bit about what you do..

I’m the owner of Mowgli Street Food which I want to take national as long as our customers want us​. Originally, I was a barrister for over 20 years but decided to follow my dreams and bring real Indian home cooking to the British public.

Day to day as a CEO,​ I have to oversee every aspect of Mowgli because you have to keep the machine going constantly. There are no weekends, no breaks. Mowgli never sleeps.

For me, it’s all about the food! One is only as good as one’s last dish.

​The food is everything to me, it’s why I did this. Even when I’m not working on Mowgli I’m still concentrating on food, for example I’m about to appear on a new TV show called Top of the Shop with Tom Kerridge. I’m one of the judges,

alongside artisan food expert Alison Swan Parente to find which producer and product is the best overall, and its’ been an absolute pleasure!

What motivates you?

The food, everything is built around the food.

It’s something that we take very personally; it’s like a living thing. It certainly keeps me up at night and I always stick to the philosophy of ‘you’re only as good as your last dish!’

Worst day in business?

Today!

Best day in business?

Probably when I received the first offer of investment, especially as it came from people who knew the industry well and not only believed in us but could see an even bigger picture and I hadn’t seen that until then.

Biggest regret?

If a member of staff ever came to us and didn’t feel valued, that would really hurt. They really are like family.

Person you admire the most?

Charles Luyckx, one of the founders of Nandos. He has real outward facing integrity and it was heart-warming to meet someone who builds at the heart of his business, personal and commercial integrity.

Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?

Mowgli providing consistently good food, and on a national level!

How do you unwind?

​I love horse riding and walking the dog, but to be honest I’m happiest with a knife and a chopping board! How bonkers is that?! I just feel that this is what I was made for!

Best piece(s) of advice for others?

The world doesn’t owe you a living, you have to find a gap in the market and fill it with something that you are skilled at producing. Otherwise your audience will sense dishonesty and you will become exhausted. If you’re thinking about giving up a secure job and doing something yourself, then test the market by doing both jobs at once. It will be hard but you must never leave yourself or your family financially insecure.

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