Chef Megha takes over Raphael’s Turkish at Gidea Park

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Published:
6:00 p.m. March 1, 2022



Update:
5:36 PM March 3, 2022

A Michelin-trained chef based in Romford hopes to transform a Gidea Park restaurant into a casual, fine-dining takeaway establishment.

The new owner of the former Raphael’s Turkish at Raphael Park, Megha Kochhar Arora, said the “premium location” matches her restaurant’s offerings.

For now, Megha continues to serve the restaurant’s Turkish cuisine, but has added a take-out service named Pink Foodie.


Chef and owner of Raphael’s by CREM, CREM Kitchen and Pink Foodie, Megha Kochhar Arora with her husband Charit Arora.
– Credit: Charit Arora

By April, the 37-year-old plans to change the restaurant’s menu to feature a casual option – which will be called Raphael’s by CREM Kitchen – and later in the year, a fine dining option under CREM Kitchen.

CREM Kitchen began as a gourmet supper club in May 2019, through which Megha offered eight-course meals in her family home.


CREM kitchen

The CREM kitchen table installed from when Megha ran her gourmet supper club.
– Credit: CREM Cuisine

Due to Covid the club came to a halt and the Pink Foodie delivery service was born.

The success of Pink Foodie helped Megha open her restaurant, with healthy dishes available to order, including Seoul Beef Rice, Vegan Dumplings and Bangkok Chicken Rice.

Having moved to Romford in 2017 – where she lives with husband Charit Arora, 38, and four-year-old daughter Reya Arora – Megha said she struggled to find somewhere that offered “a city experience” .


Bowl of rice

The Pink Foodie’s Mexican Japanese Pork Rice Bowl, which features pork belly slow cooked for 72 hours in wild fennel and garlic, pork jus, miso sauce, rice, carrots , butter beans and cherry tomato salsa.
– Credit: Pink Foodie by CREM Kitchen

She said, “I wanted a place where I could celebrate a special occasion but at the same time have a neighborhood restaurant where I could eat every day.”

The 37-year-old started her chef training seven years ago after realizing she wasn’t enjoying her marketing career in the office.

She trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, then learned from professionals at renowned restaurants such as The Ledbury in Nothing Hill and Jaan in Singapore, both of which hold two Michelin stars.


Gol Gappa

The CREM Kitchen menu’s gol gappa – a reinvented street food favorite – served with horseradish-fermented beet snow, potato sprouts and a sweet tamarind sauce.
– Credit: CREM Cuisine

Coming from a family of “good cooks”, it was a trip to France that inspired Megha to become a chef.

“I come from a conservative background in India where you don’t see a lot of women cooking professionally or in commercial kitchens, so when I explored that side of the industry I realized I could do my passion. “

She added: “I want to give people that feeling when I first tried something and thought ‘wow, what is this?’ and I thought it was delicious.

“It won’t be a tense experience, but the food and customer service will be outstanding.”


Raphael Park

The restaurant is located in Raphaël Park.
– Credit: CREM Cuisine

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