Sarabjit, during your long business life, you owned several businesses, including multiple gas stations with automotive repair units, restaurants and more. Davinder (known as Bunty), in the last few years, you launched Bebe’s All Natural, a food company of sauces and gravies inspired by your native region in Northern India. As Sarabjit described it, when he “retired” from his businesses (for a whole week), Davinder, you asked him to join you in building out your company Ma Ka Khana LLC. Tell us about that company and your dream for it.
Bebe, pronounced ‘’bay-bay”, literally translates to grandmother or mother in Punjabi, a language of North Indian origin.
To me, cooking is not only an art but also a skilled craft. For years, I worked tirelessly to master the art, and perfect my craft, preparing rich sauces and gravies for my family, the way my mother and grandmother had done for us over the decades. I learned so much through trial and error, whether it was preparing a quick snack or cooking for family and friends for a proper sit-down dinner. I always tried to incorporate the freshest ingredients to achieve the most authentic flavors. I quickly realized that my sauces and gravies brought so much joy to my family. They loved the fact that not only were they delicious and authentic, but also fresh and healthy as compared to what was available to them at the local supermarket. They appreciated the time and effort that went into my cooking.
To simplify the time-consuming process that went into the preparation of these meals, I started preparing jars for my children to save them time in making these sauces, while also having the satisfaction of knowing they wouldn’t be using the cheap quality stuff they could find at the local supermarket. It was on their advice that I decided to make these sauces on a commercial level. My children and I agreed, there must be countless ordinary folks, like us, out there, who just want a dinner table meal that tastes authentic and is made with the best ingredients and have little time to prepare them. There must be others who love Indian food but find it unhealthy and non-economical to eat at Indian restaurants often. People of Indian origin, after all, prepare and enjoy these meals at home, so why shouldn’t others be able to?
With that in mind, Bebe’s All Natural was born. All you need is your imagination and any flavor filled jar of Bebe’s, pair it with any protein, vegetables, lentils, beans, seafood, chips, etc. and you can enjoy mouthwatering, genuine, flavor filled meals and snacks from the convenience of your own kitchen!
You have now launched a second venture within the company called South Amboy Kitchen in your town of South Amboy, New Jersey. What is the goal and mission of this business?
South Amboy Kitchen is a rental kitchen with a goal to provide an ecosystem of support services and infrastructure for culinary entrepreneurs looking to make their dreams a reality. Starting any business has its challenges, but food-based businesses have a very unique set of obstacles to overcome. One of the first and most common problems food-based businesses face is finding a suitable commercial kitchen space in their area of operation or where they want to establish or grow their business. Our aim is to address that need by providing low-risk access to clean and affordable kitchen space, storage facilities and other related services to help establish and grow their business. Additionally, a key mission of our business is to spread the idea of universal seva. Seva can be defined as service without considering caste, creed, color, nationality or religion, for all those in need.
Clearly, both of you are entrepreneurs in your heart and soul. What advice would you give people who want to start a business over 50? What are your words of wisdom?
Age is just a number, don’t let nay-sayers and detrimental influences dictate when it’s time for you to retire. Always believe in yourself and your capabilities. Follow your dreams and keep your eye on the prize. Challenge yourself and be prepared to reformulate, reinvent, reimagine, restructure and refresh your life. Seek out advice from those you respect and trust, but trust your experience, knowledge and follow what you know to be right in your heart. Don’t stop if you become tired, stop only when you are done and have achieved your goals and dreams.