From Clothes to Catering!
He doesn’t have any fancy degree in catering or hospitality, but Muneer Ahmed of M.K. Caterers has made a major mark in Bangalore for his famous biryani through sheer hard work and hands-on experience!In a quiet lane off a busy road near Shivajinagar in Bangalore, there is a tiny room adorned with calendars and prayer posters, and a few portraits of popular political bigwigs. There are no pots and pans scattered around, and so you wonder if this room really belongs to Muneer Ahmed, 65, chief of M. K. Caterers, who is today one of the most sought after persons by those who crave for authentic Bangalore Muslim biryani! While studying for his PUC, Muneer Ahmed pitched in to help in his father’s tailoring shop in Commercial Street. But more than needles and thread, his mind wandered around spoons and plates! With some friends, he would help out with arranging for food for functions and weddings informally. In 1987, for the first time, he with some friends organised the proper biryani for 25 people. Those days, there was no concept of catering among Muslims here, at least among the middle class sections. Muneer and started one of the first Muslim-run catering businesses in town. In a few years, the business became very well known. Muneer now caters for functions, big and small, some with more than 2000 guests. ‘I have no degree in cooking or hospitality’, Muneer says, indicating that one does not need to have a formal degree in a subject to excel in it. His business’ success owes in large measure to his years of hands-on, first-person experience. Over the years, as people came to know more about M K Caterers by word of mouth, the business expanded. Catering is hard work Muneer Ahmed explains. There is a lot of competition in the field today. But Muneer Ahmed’s hard work has paid off well. He was recently conferred with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Karnataka Caterers Association. This indeed is an honour going by the fact that there is so much competition in the catering field now. ‘Catering has immense scope for youngsters today. Though I did not need a formal degree in cooking, today courses are available for youngsters and later they can set up their own catering business and become entrepreneurs, although you don’t really need a degree for this’ Muneer says. While people who have tasted Muneer’s biryani may remember the taste for a long time, not many know that besides being busy with cauldrons and ladles, Muneer is also a philanthropist and his kindness is well known. He is also clear about not wasting food, and if food is left over after a function, it is distributed to the needy or the workers or a food bank. Muneer can be reached at M. K. Caterers, 9845044246. Email: [email protected] (Report by Nigar and Dolcy)