Postcard Spotlight is an interview series showcasing young leaders and creative minds who are making their mark with their unique talent and drive.
In the spotlight this week is Pavandeep Singh, a travel blogger and an entrepreneur. A foodie by heart, he’s the founder of Tadka Singh and also the co-founder of Tasty Tales. Read more to know his journey.
Tell us about your journey – how did you get introduced to the food business?
I was always fascinated with food and its flavours. I was running my automotive business and started learning how to cook just as a hobby when I happened to take a barbeque class. In 2012, I went to one of the flea markets in Bangalore called Kitsch mandi. It was then that I decided to set up my own stall in one of these markets to serve barbeque food. Just a couple of days prior to the event, I was told that no cooking equipment and gas would be allowed within the stalls, so barbeque was out of the question. I went to my mom, who also loves cooking, and asked for her help to cook some dishes. To my surprise, everyone loved our food and we got sold out. That’s how it started. While still being in the automotive business, I started doing more of these flea market stalls. We were called the ‘Keema pav’ stall because of its popularity. Then we did NH7, October fest and other big music festivals. That’s how I realised this is what I truly wanted to do and started my first restaurant, Tadka Singh.
What’s the story behind your ventures Tadka Singh and Tasty Tales?
I co-founded Tasty Tales with Rinka Banerjee who’s a food technologist. She’s a veteran in the food space, involved in R&D for companies like Hindustan Unilever for 16 years. She had this idea to create a natural, ready-to-cook paste that would not only be preservative-free but would taste just like your grandmother’s traditional recipe. We got to know each other through our investors who also happened to be my mentor at Tadka Singh. Rinka and I connected. It took us about a year to do our research and our investor was kind to give us some money for it. We got our first 2 recipes from our mothers. The Amritsari Mutton Curry was my mother’s recipe while the Bengali Mustard Prawn was Rinka’s mother’s recipe. We took it to our investors and they loved it. That’s how we got our first pre-seed.
Apart from being an entrepreneur, you’re also a travel blogger. Tell us the story behind Hungry Travellers.
My wife and I share a love for travel and food. In fact, Hungry Travellers was my wife’s brainchild. Even today, she’s the primary reason for its success. During our college days, we used to discuss how our life and travel will be after we get married. Right from our marriage, we had this idea of blogging. Capturing our happy moments for ourselves seemed a fun idea. When platforms like Instagram and Facebook became mainstream, we started putting our stories, Initially, the audience was just our friends and family. But we started growing over time and amassed a lot of followers.
What are the challenges you faced during the pandemic (as a restaurant founder as well as a traveller) – how did you overcome them?
As a restaurant owner, I had a tough time. There were times when we had no revenue coming. We had to dig into our personal savings to pay employee salaries. During this time, we decided to help others around us. Through a hotline number on our Social Media, we offered free food to all Covid patients who showed their RT-PCR reports. We served thousands of meals through this initiative.
My wife started Project Passion where she interviewed different people on the internet who followed their passion and made it their careers. She talked to a lot of people from a DJ to a dancer. This idea was well received and we also got a lot of new followers.
What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur?
In your entrepreneurial journey, always believe in yourself. Never lose sight of your goal and keep persevering. Your resilience will keep you going.
What’s your favourite travel destination and why?
I like Bali a lot. We went there many years ago before it became a touristy place. I like the place for its food and culture. My trip to Leh-Ladakh was also a memorable one. Besides these, my most favourite city in the world is New York. I love NY for its energy. The buzz is second to none.
If your life were a book or movie, what would it be called and why?
No guts, no glory or Good Grit.
Name the top 3 things on your bucket list.
- A pan India food tour exploring the country through its food – from the streets to the fanciest restaurants
- Travel to Japan
- Bungee jumping and sky diving in NZ
Which are your favourite accounts to follow on Social Media and why?
My favourites are food-related pages. So I like Chef Zac and his Chef on the road series on Instagram. I like Hungry Travellers because it’s great memories for me and Anushree.
Where can people get in touch with you?