Founder & Director Chef Mani, Noi Stir Fry, Sauté
By Fraaz Mahmud Kasuri
Tell us something about yourself.
I have done Master in Economics and also have passed few modules of chartered accountancy. After that, I joined College of Tourism & Hotel Management (COTHM) where I got culinary skills. I am the first COTHM student who did a regular cooking show on Masala TV as a celebrity chef in 2009. After that, besides working in different restaurants as chef, I kept appearing on different TV channels. I have worked for ATV, A Plus, Geo, PTV, Geo Tez, Neo, City 42, GNN and Hum TV.
What are your current activities?
I had always dreamt of owning a restaurant so I am fulfilling my dream in high spirits. After serving at Butlers Chocolate Cafes Pakistan & Bangladesh for eight years as a group executive chef, I resigned and for the past three years, I have been running Noi Stir Fry restaurant in Gulberg, Lahore. I have recently started another branch of Noi in Islamabad. Also I have started another restaurant named sauté in Lahore. I am blessed to own three restaurants at the age of 39. I am a player of National Culinary Team of Pakistan (NCTP) and running my own YouTube channel with the name of ‘Chef Mani’. I am also working as a food consultant with Unilever food company.
What are your future plans?
I want to give back and return what I owe to this industry which gave me recognition, fame and fortune. I am in a process of completing a book on Pakistani cuisine which will have my family heirloom recipes fused with modern cooking techniques.
What is the most required thing to run a restaurant?
First you need patience to run a restaurant, then you should have grip over your work. If you combine these two, your chances of running a successful business are high.
What are the current food trends in Pakistan?
Food trends are changing fast here in Pakistan. Besides Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Pan Asian and Japanese cuisines are seen out there. Sushi Bars are also being opened in Pakistan.
How can one run a restaurant successfully?
A restaurant must deal in a single cuisine instead of offering multiple cuisines at a time. Further, to be on a safer side, cost involvement should be less and budgets should be controlled.
Any message for our reader?
If you are loyal to your profession and love your work, you will definitely taste success soon.