We had the good fortune of connecting with Rekha Gopinath Sekhar and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rekha, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
I face most challenges with a smile and try to look on the bright side. This has helped me push myself more, whilst also being kind to myself. For example if I am unable to achieve a goal, I don’t beat myself up for it. Instead, I look at what I learnt from it and how it helps me grow. I am a planner. For my catering business there is a lot of groundwork that goes into each order. What helps me succeed and create the best dishes are my organizational skills, from sourcing raw ingredients and prep work to packaging and ensuring everything gets delivered on time. I love feeding people, so the joy I get from creating dishes is what really drives me forward everyday. However, my art is a completely different story. When I paint I tap into the more carefree creative side, and see where my emotions take me.
I also feel that being realistic with my abilities is very important. I do everything myself, so it is important to find a balance between working hard and resting. I limit how many orders I can take a day, and if I have a hectic line up of orders for a week, I make sure to take a break to focus on my art or even just relax. In order to succeed in your business I think you have to find a balance that works best for you.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My catering business is called Rekha’s Kitchen, and I have a menu that includes both Keralan cooking and western dishes. I also have my own line of pickles (chili, brinjal and tomato) and under Rekha’s Creations I sell small to medium sized paintings. What sets Rekha’s Kitchen apart is that I provide heartwarming homecooked meals. I have a minimum order of 5 pax, and need 2 to 3 days notice in advance. This advanced notice means that customers can get yummy Keralan or western dishes made with the freshest ingredients, all delivered to their home.
I inherited recipes from my mother and father, who were from two different parts of Kerala, so my cooking is a fusion of their food with a few tweaks of my own. I am proud to be able to share the joy these dishes bring me with others, whether they are Keralan themselves or hoping to try a new cuisine. I am also humbled by the feedback I get from customers, and am so happy when they love my creations.
It was never easy to start my business. Coming from India and working for the first time was pretty scary. Initially I had a lot of help from my husband. With time and patience I got the hang of it.
I have learnt that you should always listen to your heart and gut, and don’t second guess yourself.
Good food feeds the soul and I hope to make many people happy with my food.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Since I cook Indian food at home all the time I love to eat good Chinese and Italian food when I go out. One of my favorite places to have fried rice is Chatterbox in Bangsar Village, and I also love Village Roast Duck. I recently went to Pomod’Oro and loved the food especially because they had vegan options as I am lactose intolerant.
Before the pandemic, when I have family and friends visiting from abroad, we would go to Central market, Petaling street, KL Tower and Taman Eko Rimba KL .
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The first person to encourage me in bottling and selling my pickles is my cousin Kiren. She gave me the confidence to take my skills in making food and starting a business from it. With the help of my relatives and friends, word of my cooking spread as I began to add Keralan and western dishes to my menu. My children and husband happily helped in taste testing and gave their honest opinion.