Meal times were difficult for Krishna Patel, when she was growing up. Ms Patel was just 11 years old when she became a carer for her mother Bharti Patel, who fell ill leaving her bed-ridden for prolonged periods of time.
The two of them would live off ready meals and the goodwill of their friends and family.
Originally, this paste wasn’t made to go on the market.Krishna Patel, founder of Dilishque
To ensure that they could enjoy home cooked Indian food without having to rely on others, they both came up with a versatile curry paste, which made the cooking process quicker and simpler for the 11-year-old. Now, Ms Patel is hoping to share with others that very paste.
“I’ve always looked after my mum,” she told The Yorkshire Post. “Don’t get me wrong she looks after me as well. It’s a mutual relationship. It’s never been a burden.”
Ms Patel added: “My mum has always been very encouraging. I’m dyslexic so I struggled at school. When I got home from school, we’d pretty much do all of the lessons all over again.”
The bond between them grew so strong that Ms Patel, who has a degree in molecular biology, abandoned her dreams of a career in pharmaceutical sales as that would have meant having to move away from her mother in Huddersfield.
She said: “I wanted to do something in the medical industry –helping people. For training purposes you’d need to go over to Birmingham or West Midlands. I didn’t really want to move too far from my mum.”
Instead she pursued a career in marketing. However, recently the 37-year-old decided to launch Dilishque after years of praise from family and friends for the curry paste she and her mother had created. “Originally, this paste wasn’t made to go on the market,” she says. “It was made for me.”
During the development stages of Dilishque she would label pots and put them in the fridge. Her mother, who has a background in chemistry, would then tweak the recipe when she was feeling well enough to do so.
The Dilishque curry paste can be stored at ambient temperatures. Ms Patel said: “We use it in all sorts. We use it to make an Indian omelette, rice dishes, vegetarian meals, minced chicken and lamb chops. There’s quite a few different things you could do with that one product.”
Dilishque is aimed at people who are pressed for time but still want a home-cooked Indian dish without any added preservatives.
One of the biggest challenges for her has been the switch from employee to being self-employed, having taken the plunge after being made redundant at the end of 2015. To help her develop as an entrepreneur and grow the business she joined the Entrepreneurial Spark programme in Leeds earlier this year.
“I joined the programme to be around people who can mainly motivate me,” Ms Patel said.
Being from a Gujarati Indian background, food is central to family time, says Krishna Patel.
“There’s something about sitting down with the family and eating,” she adds.
Dilishque sells the paste online and at food and drink festivals. “We do curry parties as well,” says Ms Patel. “It’s a simple way for us to share our product, show people how to make it and tell them a lit bit about the background.” Her mum takes a keen interest in how the business is doing. She, alongside Krishna’s husband Adam Rowbottom, encouraged her to set up Dilishque in the first place.
Ms Patel says the childhood adversity she faced has helped her bounce back from setbacks in the business world. “As difficult as it was, it’s made me who I am so I don’t resent it,” she added. “It was never bad. It was just different to my friends.”
Ms Patel is currently packing the product at home. She is open to the idea of potentially taking out a dedicated unit to pack the pastes and ultimately hiring people.
“I would like to be able to employ people,” she said. “I definitely would like to make other people’s lives better.”
Dilishque will be exhibiting at the Holmfirth Food and Drink Festival this weekend.
For more information on Dilishque visit: http://dilishque.co.uk/