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   India's Only Hospitality Business Weekly Issue dated - 12th January, 2004
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Moshe Brand To Front Shek’s Third Coming

Chef To Go It Alone With Restaurant Chain

Bhisham Mansukhani - Mumbai

Raising a toast to his third opening in under six months, chef-turned restaurateur, Moshe Shek has left nothing to public imagination as to what hospitality endeavour he is finally settling down to. Shek recently opened a Cuffe Parade restaurant and bar simply branded Moshe's. The 1,600 square feet, 44-cover restaurant is Moshe's third, following Moshe's Oliva in New Delhi and Moshe's at the Pavilion on Bombay Gymkhana's first storey, both of which reported a good reception.

The cuisine, as with all his restaurants, hovers on Mediterranean fare with a bent on Turkish, Moroccan, Israeli and Italian paired exclusively with wines. It also boasts an in-house bakery. Moshe now intends to tie all three restaurant's to the brand name Moshe's and has set his sight on Bangalore in 2004. The potential southern foray, including his present operation, Moshe insists, are all his own without financial prop from any promoter. "All the current restaurants have been opened and are being operated wholly by me. The properties are on a long lease but other than that, there are no other investors. That's what works for me. I worked closely with architect Ajit Shilpi who helped design Moshe's," he said.

Originally from Mumbai, Moshe moved to Israel where he worked in a restaurant in Kibbutz and later came back to India to study at Sophia Polytechnic and then joined the Taj. In the course of his career, he also worked in Langham Hilton Hotel in London and studied bakery at Richmont, Switzerland. His professional debut in India was marked by a catering unit, Caterbility in 1992, following which he went back to Israel.

His second coming to India in 1999 witnessed him introduce the restobar concept to India in the shape of Athena, backed up with place and finance by Chateau Indage. "I introduced the trend of having a restaurant and lounge under the same roof and a separate members' lounge. Look around you now, they're all over the place," claims Shek.

The inclination to focus purely on dining led Moshe to team up with restaurateur Farhan Azmi on Cafe Basilico in 2001. In 2003 however, he decided to go it alone, without any promoter and associate the food he made with his name that fronted his restaurants. Now with two restaurants in Mumbai and one in Delhi bearing his name, Moshe feels India is ready for ‘chef-branded’ restaurants.

"Having worked with promoters, I know now that henceforth I would rather not and do my own thing. Moshe's is an up-market dining destination without being prissy. The tabs are reasonable and the ambience, homely. The high ceiling, dark wooden flooring, patio and garden seating give that away. I know the back-end of a restaurant well enough to know it's the core and that's what markets it. A chef brand can sell food. I am looking at a much larger chain in the future – 10 or perhaps 15 restaurants maybe." Moshe also wants to own and manage his own bed and breakfast up in the mountains in order to offer a complete hospitality package in the due course of time.

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