Meet the Woman Behind The Table

Gauri Devidayal's story will inspire you to take all sorts of risks.

Located just behind The Taj Mahal Palace, The Table is one of the swankiest addresses in Mumbai. In the five years since its inception, the restaurant has amassed a host of coveted awards including the TimeOut Best Restaurant in India Award (Critic's Choice) in 2014, the Times Food Award for Best European/Global Cuisine in 2012 and 2013, plus a listing in the Miele Guide to Asia's 500 Best Restaurants in 2013. And Gauri Devidayal, who started the establishment with her husband Jai Yousuf, is the force behind it.

Gauri is a firm believer in the strength of teamwork. She and Jai had a strong vision for the restaurant. "We wanted recreate to recreate our experience of eating abroad," she revealed. So, the first step was to hire an ace chef. That's how Chef Alex Sanchez (he was working at a restaurant in San Francisco then), who trines the equation, came on board. The Table is a pioneer of the farm-to-table concept in Mumbai. Here, you can sample a fresh menu every day! "The cuisine is global, yet simple. We wanted the flavours and the ingredients to be the real hero, and keep the plating simple," she says. "However, starting a restaurant is the easy part. That's why so many establishments fizzle out despite the initial buzz. We believe consistency is the most important factor." Suffice to say, The Table has withstood the test of time in a city that witnesses the opening of a new eatery every day.

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A law graduate and a qualified Chartered Accountant, Gauri worked as a Tax Consultant with KPMG before she decided to dedicate herself to the establishment. Jai, a Computer Engineer by profession, headed a communication company. In other words, neither of them had any experience in hospitality. "We had to figure it all out, from sourcing ingredients to licensing," she says. No two days are alike, the multitasking maven reveals. She has to do everything along the way. "Even now, though my role is primarily handling operations, I look into accounting, payroll, licensing. And knowing how to manage everything can be truly empowering," Gauri concludes.

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