The story I am about to share is nothing short of a classic tale of a man who set out on a mission to find the purpose of his life. Having no plans or ideas of where life would take him, Vinay set sail to a mysterious country now called the United Arab Emirates from Mumbai, 51 years ago, along with his four friends.
Born in the humble town of Meerut, India, Vinay is among four brothers and one sister. As luck would have it, Vinay completed his graduation in Catering and hospitality from a college in Mumbai, as he has missed all deadlines of college applications. With a dream of aspiring to join the Indian Army, Vinay found his destiny taking him towards the little-known industry of Hotels, Restaurants and Hospitality. Vinay bid farewell to his family with no promising plans and landed in UAE on 16th October 1970 from Mumbai to Dubai. Then, he took a flight from Dubai to Al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi with a mere 100 AED in his pocket.
Vinay started his humble professional life in UAE after securing a job with Abela Catering and then moved over to Spinneys. Vinay's work required him to live in locations like Jebel Dhana, Ruwais, Shah, Habshan, where he was catering for many workforces at the Oil Rigs in the desert. After working for a fair amount of time in the desert, he soon found his way back into Abu Dhabi city when he started work with ADCO- JODCO caterings. Life was perfect until one day when Vinay, along with his four colleagues, met with a horrific road accident where Vinay was the sole survivor. His left legs' bones were crushed, leaving him on a hospital bed for many months to follow. With no income to support his two young children and a wife, Vinay felt grave helplessness. Vinay's wife, Nira, worked two jobs to support their small family and attended to her husbands' needs at the hospital. It was the longest year ever.
Upon his release from the hospital, Vinay received a further blow as he was informed that his position had been offered to someone else. Blows kept coming, yet his faith in himself did not crush his spirit. Coming out stronger from the experience with ignited passions and a strong vision, Vinay went ahead and launched the FIRST EVER FINE DINING INDIAN RESTAURANT, Kwality Restaurant, in Abu Dhabi in 1985, and that was just the beginning.
From year to year, Vinay's vision grew bigger and stronger. With the help of his equally visionary and ambitious wife, the duo launched a pioneer brand of pure vegetarian Indian Restaurant named Chhappan Bhog. With solid concept and high quality, even after 25 years, Chhappan Bhog has become a household name among the Indian community, and extremely loved by Arabs and western expats. Within 15 years, from a single Restaurant, Vinay, with the help of his wife and son, launched Restaurants in Las Vegas, India and Doha, whilst expanding across the length and breadth of Abu Dhabi. With multi award-winning brands such as Royal Orchid, Kababs, Kurries, Avasa, Chhappan Bhog, Soy Express, Kwality Mithai and the recently-launched Bombay Canteen, Vinay earned himself a well-respected name not only within the Indian community but also among the Emiratis, Western expats and high dignitaries in the Government and the Royals.
There is a lot to learn from a man who has worked his way up and grown with a young country like the UAE. UAE has given a solid foundation for many dreamers who left their countries in the hope of finding opportunities to make a life worth writing about. Vinay Varma's experiences are a treasure, and his growth with the advancement of this country is phenomenal. Despite every challenge thrown his way, the man's resilience and a strong sense of honour kept him going. He has become a living example to many of us, youngsters. He has taught many that life is not just about making money, but more humility, honour and truthfulness, and giving back to the community and people alike. To him, that is the true measure of life.
Awards Won –
Holder of Guinness Book of World Record, Chhappan Bhog, 2019
Served PM Modi (India) at Emirates Palace, 2019
Awarded Whats on Best Indian Restaurant, Kababs& Kurries, 2018
Awarded "Time Out Highly Commended Restaurant, AVASA, 2017
Awarded What's on Best Indian Restaurant, Kababs& Kurries, 2017
Awarded "Time Out Winner, Best Indian Restaurant, AVASA" 2016
Awarded "Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence" AVASA, 2016
Nominated & Shortlisted "FACT" Magazine, Best Indian Restaurant AVASA, 2016
Awarded "What's On Best Chinese Restaurant" 2015
Awarded "Time Out Winner, Highly Commended Best Indian Restaurant, AVASA" 2015
Awarded "What's on Double Black Hat Guide, Indian Restaurant," 2014
Awarded "What's On Best Indian Restaurant" 2013
Awarded "What's On Best Chinese Restaurant" 2013
Awarded "Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence" 2013
Awarded "What's on Double Black Hat Guide, Indian Restaurant," 2013
Awarded "Time Out Winner of Highly Commended Best Indian Restaurant" 2012
Awarded "What's On Best Indian Restaurant" 2012
Awarded "Time Out Winner of Best South-East Asian Restaurant" 2011
Awarded "What's On Best Far Eastern Restaurant" 2009
Awarded "Time Out Winner of highly commended Thai Restaurant" 2008
Awarded "What's On Best Far Eastern Restaurant" 2008
Awarded "Time Out Winner of highly commended Thai restaurant" 2006
Awarded "What's On Finalist General Manager's Recommendation" 2006
I am proud of the great name he made for himself through his passionate work, humility and relationships with people, team members and community members along with being a loving and law abiding citizen of UAE.
Learnt that respect is one of the most valuable virtues a man can earn. Hard work and passion only brings happiness and contentment. Humility & patience go the longest way and to be nice to people on the way up as you will be meeting them every time you find yourselves coming down.