Gunjan and her husband Narayan Chand Pande started Cafe Kashish together and opened its doors in Patnem on 5 January 2020. It takes a strong woman to work alongside her partner and not fight all the time. While other couples bicker over household issues, Gunjan and her partner Narayan Chand Pande spend all day, every day hosting customers and managing the staff of their café. The cute and colorful café is named after their daughter. She is their inspiration and a source of strength. Kashish means attraction, and with their high quality food, they aim to attract the crowd who appreciates simple yet tasty dishes.
Gunjan – who is the driving force behind the concept of Cafe Kashish —could have gone the fancy-tasting-menu route when opening her own place but chose not to. Gunjan, who opened the self-described “consistently-good-no-frills food” Cafe Kashish, located at Patnem-Palolem road, grew to realise that the intensity of white-tablecloth restaurants wasn’t for her.
Despite the fears of her parents that nothing would come of her, she rose up from being a slightly lazy student to earning a scholarship to a renowned school. This was her gateway into a hotel management traineeship, which led her to work in all areas of hotel management. Due to unforeseen circumstances this traineeship had to prematurely come to and end, but Gunjan is not one to just surrender and got herself a bartender job in the 5* Leela Hotel in Mumbai. She overcame the prejudice of this not being a respectable job for a young woman and obtained the stamp of approval when her parents saw there w
Gunjan learnt the highest level of customer service, always taking things a step further to exceed — rather than just meet — expectations. A job as a butler to the rich-and-famous with 5* Taj Hotel in Udaipur and then Hyderabad was a turning point: “After an ankle injury I came back home to Goa and I was taking my inspiration from traditional Indian and Goan food cooked by my mother and grandmother,” Gunjan says. “I realized I didn’t need to be in big fancy places.”
Besides, she wanted to open a place she felt was lacking in Canacona; there was nowhere making the kind of food she wanted to eat, no matter what her mood. She got inspired by the women in her life, who all are strong and independent. Everything her mother and grandmother taught her came into play with starting this venture and she’s the happiest she’s ever been in her life, which shines through in the food she serves. She sees Cafe Kashish as ‘an extension of our home’, and her strong focus on quality is reflected in the mouthwateringly aromatic dishes.
Come and taste the lovingly prepared food for yourself!