Romy Gill’s Recipe for Success

The flavours in Romy Gill’s cooking might be exotic, but the heart of her business is firmly rooted in the local community.

Romy opened her authentic Indian restaurant Romy’s Kitchen in Thornbury almost two years ago, and she now has a team of four women helping her, all recruited from the Thornbury area.

“It’s about supporting the local economy,” she explained.

Romy also works with the City of Bristol College giving apprentices the chance to learn about spicing and Indian cooking techniques.

“I prefer working with young people because I can teach them from scratch,” said Romy. “I have had some bad experiences with chefs who didn’t want to be managed by a woman.

“It’s about give and take though. I teach them, and they can teach me as well.”

And there’s lots to learn in Romy’s Kitchen, from the art of spicing to using a tandoor oven.

“These are things that are not taught at college,” she said. “But I think they should be.

“The culture in Britain is so diverse and there are so many different cuisines, students should be taught about them too.”

The art of spicing is a key element of the dishes in Romy’s Kitchen and is incorporated into everything, even the cakes.

“Using the right spicing can really transform a dish,” explained Romy.

The cakes have become a big selling point, but not just because of the unusual flavours (Romy has made cakes with everything from pomegranate to chillies). Ninety-nine per cent of the menu is gluten free.

“We make food for everyone,” said Romy. “There are so many dietary requirements and allergies now, but we can cater for just about anything.

“We are well known for our vegetarian food, but people also love our seafood. Our spicy crab cakes are very popular.

“I started thinking about making things gluten free because my daughter came home from school one day and said she was giving up chocolate for Lent and asked me what I was going to give up.

“I thought about it and decided to give up rice and gluten.

“Most Indian food is gluten free because it doesn’t use any thickening agents.

“Maybe when you buy it from a shop they might use flour to thicken a sauce, but we never do that here.

“Everything in Romy’s Kitchen is made from scratch, even down to our own spice blend.

“All my dishes are created by me. They are not someone else’s ideas.

“I have recipes from my mother and my grandmother, but even those I have adapted.”

When Romy opened Romy’s Kitchen she was the first ever female Indian chef-owner in the UK, a fact which attracted a lot of attention in the media, but it’s for her food that she wants to be known.

“Yes, I’m a woman and I’m a chef and I own the business, but the restaurant has been open for two years now and that’s not relevant any more. I want people to remember me for my food, not for anything else.”