How I Got Here: Harneet Baweja

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Harneet Baweja Gunpowder owner

Related tags: Gunpowder, Indian cuisine, Casual dining

Born in Kolkata, Harneet Baweja is the restaurateur behind Indian small plates smash hit Gunpowder, which has restaurants in Spitalfields and Tower Bridge.

Why restaurants?
I grew up in a big family where we always entertained and had guests round to eat. I think being in restaurants is an extension of this, wanting people to come, eat and enjoy your food and atmosphere like they’re at home.

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
Everything takes more time and costs more money than you think it does.

What do you do in your spare time?
Travel, surf, read cookbooks, eat out and spend time with my family.

What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your current one)?
My two favourite restaurants out of London are Ramiro in Lisbon, it’s been around for ages and serves superb seafood, and Clamato, which is owned by the Septime group (Paris). 

What would you be doing if you weren’t in restaurants?
I’d be eating out at a lot of them!

What motivates you?
Intelligence.

Where was your last holiday?
My brother’s wedding in Kolkata over Christmas. 

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
Gunpowder’s Executive Chef Nirmal, and Greg, Gunpowder’s Group Operations Manager. I think their ability to show up to work every day, and be completely unphased with the everyday challenges that come with running a restaurant is such an inspiration.

What keeps you up at night?
Fresh fish deliveries.

Worst business decision?
Not investing in Deliveroo in its early stages.

Best business decision?
Offering small plates at Gunpowder. 

What are you reading at the moment?
Rene Redzepi’s cookbook – Downtime: Deliciousness at Home.

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
You just need to go for it if you really believe in it. It will be tough and there will be challenges but stick at it and you will reap the rewards.

CV
1984 Born in Kolkata 
Undergraduate in finance and accounting, post graduate in business and consumer behaviour (both in India)
Worked across India and Singapore in finance
2014 Opened Gunpowder with wife Devina

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