SHE turned her back on the hospitality scene in London to head 400 miles north and open a new business in the midst of a pandemic.

Now one year on, chef and deli owner Tanya Gohil says she wouldn’t have done it any other way and as she’s taken the city to her heart, it seems her customers have reciprocated.

In the first year since opening the Silk Road Deli in Shawlands, they’ve not had one complaint and Ms Gohil says they haven’t had one difficult customer.

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“Coming from hospitality in London that is something unheard of,” said Ms Gohil. “It makes hospitality an absolute joy here. I’m really fortunate that we have created a sense of community. People identify with us and what we are doing and we’re on first name terms with the majority of our customers. It is a real gift that we have been given in Glasgow.”

HeraldScotland: Silk Road Deli owner Tanya Deli hopes they can be food pioneersSilk Road Deli owner Tanya Deli hopes they can be food pioneers

A finalist in the popular BBC’s My Million Pound Menu, Ms Gohil worked in hospitality in London for 15 years, but after months in and out of lockdown she and her partner Ross Lunniss wanted more and after a trip to Glasgow they knew had found their new business base and opened the Silk Road Deli.

“After the pandemic I think we looked at things differently and wanted to open a restaurant or eating place around a neighbourhood and community and you struggle to feel that in London,” said Ms Gohil.

“I’m from a working-class British/Indian background and didn’t have peers or friends in the industry. It always seemed to me hospitality was for those who were affluent and was very white, male dominated. These things led us to look at what we wanted and what were we not finding in London. Glasgow was put on our radar and after a couple of days we thought why not?”

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They came close to opening a restaurant in London following on from the success in Million Pound Menu, but it was Glasgow which won the day.

The 35-year-old chef has been compounding diners’ expectations since she opened popular street food stall Devi’s at Maltby Street market in Bermondsey a decade ago, but took the plunge to up sticks and head north.

HeraldScotland: Former Million Pound Menu contestant Tanya Gohil is pushing boundariesFormer Million Pound Menu contestant Tanya Gohil is pushing boundaries

Used to a culture in London of ingredients and supplies being readily available, Ms Gohil says that’s the one thing that she’s had to adapt to, but believes if supplies chains were looked at to better serve Glasgow restaurants with multi-cultural ingredients, it could take dinning in the city to the next level.

She added: “We’ve opened in Glasgow with our own savings and we have had many learning curves. We’ve had to change the way we work as we have had supply issues and with the HGV driver shortage some of our suppliers have had to let us go.

“I’m running round all over Glasgow collecting our supplies and trying to source South East Asian ingredients or Middle Eastern. Accessibility of ingredients in Glasgow isn’t the same as London, but I do put aside time to go and explore for ingredients in the city which has helped me to embrace all the different communities which are a part of Glasgow.”

HeraldScotland: Silk Road Deli is introducing new flavours to its customersSilk Road Deli is introducing new flavours to its customers

Ms Gohil is not afraid to break the mould and wants to challenge people’s outlook on both running a business and the food she delivers.

She added: “London hospitality is either an old boys club or cool kids club, neither of which I subscribe to. I have felt like and outsider, but what I have had to run with is my passion and try to network, but I have found it difficult and inauthentic.

“The struggle for me isn’t being a woman in the hospitality industry, but a woman of colour in the industry and how my food is viewed through a wider lens. Euro-centric food with few ingredients is put on a pedestal, but coming from a South Asian background and cooking with the flavours of the Silk Road which are big and bold and have complex cooking techniques it is thrown into a category of being less stylish and skilled. These are misconceptions and I want to change people’s attitudes and knowledge and understanding towards the food I serve. Silk Road Deli is an incubator for all of these things.”

To mark the first anniversary of Silk Road Deli they have launched a new bring your own booze dinner service on Friday evenings, but with an eye on the future they hope to navigate the maze of city’s licensing laws to allow them to be able to pair dishes to wine.

HeraldScotland: Tanya Gohil turned her back on London to open a business in GlasgowTanya Gohil turned her back on London to open a business in Glasgow

Silk Road Deli is already known for pushing flavour boundaries with its day time offering, but Ms Gohil hopes to bring a whole new movement to evening dining and plans to launch a new food offering each week, designed to showcase some of the most “flavour bomb” ingredients found along the historic Silk Road, a 4000 mile Eurasian trade route which played a central role in linking economic, cultural, political, and religious interactions between the East and West.

She added: “I believe our new concept offers something really distinct compared to other establishments in the south side,” she added.

“There are very few venues in the south side that offer something completely different, but that’s what sets us apart from everyone else. We want to continue to push the dining scene in Shawlands forward and spark some real excitement when it comes to eating out.

“We want to really pioneer special bonding experiences around the dinner table. If our customers walk through our door as strangers, we want them to leave as friends. As people, we crave a sense of togetherness, community and connectivity and I truly believe our new concept will help achieve that."

The first BYOB evening sittings will be held on Friday, July 22. Diners can experience Silk Road Deli’s new evening dinner service every Friday from 6pm until 9:30pm.

To book, email silkroadbookings@gmail.com or follow Silk Road Deli on Instagram.