Bindas Eatery is the debut restaurant from founder Mehak Kansal. After launching a small blog to share her recipes, followed by the launch of a supper club in April 2018, Mehak was awarded the 2018 Westfield Food Entrepreneur Award. The prize was mentorship from renowned Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy of Tapas Revolution and a pop-up eatery at a flagship site in Shepherd’s Bush. Since then, Mehak has taken Bindas Eatery on to new heights and has exciting plans in place for the future.

How have you honed your skills over the years – are they self taught or have you had any professional training?

I have been incredibly fortunate to have travelled quite extensively and I have managed to pick up great cooking methods and techniques. I am completely self taught.

What did you gain from your mentorship experience with chef Omar Allibhoy?

He gave me a great snapshot into the food and beverage industry. He was also kind enough to put me in touch with his suppliers who helped me a lot to get our first pop up off the ground at Westfield London in 2019.

Would you recommend others to follow in your path and if so, what advice would you give them?

I would recommend anyone and everyone that has a drive and passion in food and beverage to pursue it. The hours are long and it is physically and emotionally draining. The restaurant trade is not for the faint hearted and your social life is literally non-existent. However I wouldn’t trade it for the world, the satisfaction you get is unrivalled!

How long did it take to prepare for your first pop-up experience and what did you learn?

It took me 6 months to prepare for it, compile a menu together and write up the specs so it could be scaled up. Your menu is defined by your kitchen. Every kitchen has its limitations and our first pop up at Westfield London was a logistical minefield but we learnt along the way with the support from Westfield, and that has been invaluable to us going forward.

What have you enjoyed most about creating your menu for Bindas Eatery?

For me the moment I saw my kitchen go in at Westfield I actually had tears in my eyes. The best feeling ever is when you watch people lick their fingers, wipe their bowls clean and tell you how much they have enjoyed your food. Every dish that we sell in the restaurant is my own and I’m attached to every single one.

What are your plans for Bindas Eatery for the next year?

We have plans to take on new sites and expand but we will do it organically and selectively with what really feels right. We continue to focus on immersive dining experiences at Westfield London with exciting new menus and events in the pipeline.

How would you like to see the industry change in the future?

I honestly would like to see more women leading kitchens and setting up restaurants, they have an amazing perspective that we don’t see enough of.

What inspires you to continue working in the hospitality sector?

My inspiration comes from seva, seva means to serve selflessly and to effectively nurture and nourish. I gain enormous satisfaction from serving and get inspired every day to create more.