Top chef gets cooking with NatWest loan


Top chef gets cooking with NatWest loan

Indian food expert and charismatic cook Romy Gill is opening her first restaurant with funding from NatWest.

Romy Gill and Steve Thompson of NatWest

Gill, who has a pilot cookery show and debut cookbook in the pipeline, is opening a restaurant of the same name in Thornbury, near Bath, on 4 September.

Originally from West Bengal, Gill learnt how to cook with her mother, absorbing recipes and styles of cooking from all across India through the multi-cultural community she grew up in.

Gill has a passion for healthy eating and top quality ingredients, establishing her as an expert on creating delicious curries with fewer calories.

In 2008 she launched Romy’s Kitchen - a catering, private dining and cookery class business that also produces a selection of home-made sauces, pickles and chutneys.

Gill is widely recognised as a speaker on the food circuit, recently appearing at the Ideal Home Show, Grand Designs, Bristol’s Love Food Festival, Alchemy Festival Southbank, The Cheese & Wine Festival and The Foodie Show in Dorchester.  Romy has also appeared at the Varli Food Festival in New York and the Date Palm Festival in Abu Dhabi.

The next step - a family-oriented restaurant that offered nutritious, well-styled, real Indian food with a world-class wine list - was clear. But her applications for funding were rejected by three banks before she tried NatWest.

Start up costs and working capital

With support from Steve Thompson of NatWest’s Gloucester and Bath office, Gill secured a loan to cover the start up costs of the restaurant and working capital to develop the business, creating local jobs. Alongside the restaurant, there will be a shop retailing her own produce range as well as more unusual Indian ingredients.

Gill said: “As a woman entrepreneur, getting the right backing for my business was tough.  Steve was young, enthusiastic and really believed in our business plan; he worked so hard to get the loan approved and gave us the confidence to make this happen.

“As a working mum, this is a big step for me. NatWest has given us the security to bring something different to Thornbury and the wider South West.  As a new business, NatWest is giving us the financial security to grow.  I’ve worked hard to build a strong client base through the catering side of the business and my aim is now to open this up to new customers.”

Based on her own experience as a female entrepreneur, Gill is committed to breaking down barriers for other women in business.

Be proactive

“My advice to other women is be proactive - I actively attended supper clubs and networking groups to build a support system as well as reaching out within the industry to other chefs like Manjit Singh Gill, Atual Kichar and Vivek Singh for guidance.

Steve Thompson said: “We were blown away by Romy’s natural energy and passion for her brand. We know that Romy’s Kitchen is something special and NatWest is delighted to be supporting this inspiring lady and her incredible business.  We know that this is just the start of great things for Romy and are always looking to support other like-minded businesses locally.”

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