Serving up Food the Female Way
A group of Indian women are taking on tradition by opting for a large female group of staff at a new curry house.
Licensee of new Bilston restaurant Raj Atwal is proving once and for all a woman's place does not have to be in the kitchen - in fact she says she can't evan cook the nation's favourite chicken tikka masala.
The 27-year-old qualified accountant, who threw open the doors to India Gates in Mount Pleasant in December last year, is one of the country's few women to manage an Indian restaurant.
Raj said: "If you go out for a curry, the chances are it will be men who serve you but I think female waiting staff are more welcoming and I feel we're changing people's attitudes.
"They say a woman's place is in the kitchen but my husband is a brilliant cook and he does the cooking, I can't even cook a tikka masala."
But Raj said it had not always been easy to balance tradition with the western way of life.
She said: "After meeting and marrying my husband in India , I returned to Britain and made sure I pursued an accountancy qualification. In fact I was the first woman on my dad's side of the family to have an education."
Raj and husband Kulwant bought the vacant building, stripping and refurbishing it themselves.
Since opening for business Kulwant, a trained chef, has already cooked up a host of mouth-watering dishes for the restaurant's customers.
Raj said she now hoped to challenge traditional perceptions of gender roles adding: "It is still unusual for an Indian woman to hold a liquor licence and often people ask to speak to my husband rather than me."
Express and Star - 7th August 2004 and 9th August 2004
Wolverhampton Chronicle - 5th August 2004