Good ideas and inventions arise when someone is faced with a problem and a solution is needed to tackle said problem. Our cave dwelling ancestors, faced with the challenge of moving things like woolly mammoth steaks and sabre tooth sausages, invented the wheel. Lord Sandwich had no time to eat a full blown meal whilst playing cards for hours on end so ordered his servants to bring him a few slices of meat between two slices of bread, and so the sandwich was born. When Paul Willetts was constantly served curry with a lumpy sauce, he started his own curry powder business.
“I thought it would be a good idea to see if I could recreate the flavours without any of the lumpy bits that annoy people so much,” Paul said of his light bulb moment. Back in the early days, over 18 years ago, his Whitchurch based business was called Paul’s Complete Curry before being renamed Curry Kitchen, but now he has settled with the name My Own Curry.
Paul’s background couldn’t be further away from his current occupation as the Cardiff curry powder king. “I left the valleys to study photographic science in London,” he recalls. “I ended up doing a PhD and worked as a research chemist and then eventually found myself working as a broker in the City.”
During his time working in London, Paul was in close proximity to Brick Lane, the curry capitol of London. What Saville Row is to suits, Brick Lane is to curries and therefore he was subject to some of the best curry houses that London had to offer, yet he was still getting lumps which further fuelled his fire to create his own curries.
It wasn’t until he was made redundant after being the manager of 13 fruit and veg shops, however, that he took the plunge and started to make his own powders.
“I sold my first curry powder on a Sunday, which was Fathers’ Day,” Paul reminisces, but that day was made even more special by the birth of his son. “I had a good day that day and I carried on from then.”
After taking time off working at the Millenium Stadium, Paul and his various flavours of curry powders are back. “I’m now going back working full time doing shows that I used to do in the early days,” he says. “It’s a case of re-establishing myself around this part of the country,” he continues, so next time you’re making a masala, wanting to tuck into a tikka, or even just want to make some curry sauce to pour over your chips, give My Own Curry a visit and support a re-emerging local business.
My Own Curry is located at 1 Penydarren Drive, Cardiff, CF14 2TT