She came, she cooked and she conquered: female entrepreneur Naga Jamir – The New Indian Express

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NAGALAND: A lemjungla Jamir had left a comfortable job abroad to help train future professionals in the hospitality industry in his home country, but promoting local cuisine had always been at the back of his mind.

After working in some of the best-known hotels in India and on a cruise ship abroad and teaching hotel management at a university in Nagaland between 2003 and 2019, she had ventured into the food business. Today, she is the proud owner of her dream restaurant Naga Bowl Express, which she set up three years ago in Dimapur, the face of the state.

Naga people are widely known for their hospitality and she is one of a handful of successful Naga women entrepreneurs. It is all the more encouraging that it mainly employs school dropouts from “less privileged” families.

Jamir worked at Oberoi Trident in Gurgaon and Grand Maratha Sheraton in Mumbai for three years until her departure for Oceans Abroad in 2006. She was employed by MSC Cruises, Italy from 2006-08, during which she has worked in several Mediterranean and Nordic countries. She says she could have continued working abroad and also had several job offers inside and outside India, but she decided to return home to teach hotel management.

“I was on vacation at home in 2008 and preparing to return to Italy when I received an offer to teach at the Global Open University which was being set up in Dimapur. I saw an opportunity to be part of it that would train future professionals in the hospitality industry. So, I took the job,” Jamir told this newspaper.

She says that during this period she also became involved in several tourism initiatives related to the promotion of Naga cuisine, including the Naga Chefs Competition, held annually during the Hornbill Festival.

“I gained direct and in-depth experience of the diversity and richness of our Naga cuisine. This spurred my interest into a passion, and I learned as much as possible about the various ingredients and cooking practices of the different Naga tribes. I wanted to open a restaurant where people could enjoy all Naga dishes,” says Jamir. The pandemic took a toll on her business, but she slowly managed to build a reputation. Naga Bowl Express is well established today.

“Being a relatively new entrant to the restaurant scene here and having overcome the initial challenges of Covid-19, I would say we are doing quite well. We have managed to retain a clientele made up of both locals and tourists. In addition, I was able to introduce new ideas which were well received. Earning money is important to be able to sustain the business, but I am able to do something that I believe in and love and that is the ultimate satisfaction,” says Jamir.

Establishing an outlet outside of Nagaland to be able to introduce more non-Naga to Naga cuisine was in her scheme, but she prioritized Nagaland to allow people to experience authentic Naga cuisine in a modern setting. She says Naga Bowl Express is unique in that it offers some of the popular dishes of the Naga tribes under one roof. Jamir grew up in Mopungchuket village in Mokokchung district. She says she hired school dropouts from villages with no experience because she knows the hardships young people have to go through to get a decent job.

NAGALAND: A lemjungla Jamir had left a comfortable job abroad to help train future professionals in the hospitality industry in his home country, but promoting local cuisine had always been at the back of his mind. After working in some of the best-known hotels in India and on a cruise ship abroad and teaching hotel management at a university in Nagaland between 2003 and 2019, she had ventured into the food business. Today, she is the proud owner of her dream restaurant Naga Bowl Express, which she set up three years ago in Dimapur, the face of the state. Naga people are widely known for their hospitality and she is one of a handful of successful Naga women entrepreneurs. It is all the more encouraging that it mainly employs school dropouts from “less privileged” families. Jamir worked at Oberoi Trident in Gurgaon and Grand Maratha Sheraton in Mumbai for three years until her departure for Oceans Abroad in 2006. She was employed by MSC Cruises, Italy from 2006-08, during which she has worked in several Mediterranean and Nordic countries. She says she could have continued working abroad and also had several job offers inside and outside India, but she decided to return home to teach hotel management. “I was on vacation at home in 2008 and preparing to return to Italy when I received an offer to teach at the Global Open University which was being set up in Dimapur. I saw an opportunity to be part of it that would train future professionals in the hospitality industry. So, I took the job,” Jamir told this newspaper. She says that during this period she also became involved in several tourism initiatives related to the promotion of Naga cuisine, including the Naga Chefs Competition, held annually during the Hornbill Festival. “I gained direct and in-depth experience of the diversity and richness of our Naga cuisine. This spurred my interest into a passion, and I learned as much as possible about the various ingredients and cooking practices of the different Naga tribes. I wanted to open a restaurant where people could enjoy all Naga dishes,” says Jamir. The pandemic took a toll on her business, but she slowly managed to build a reputation. Naga Bowl Express is well established today. “Being a relatively new entrant to the restaurant scene here and having overcome the initial challenges of Covid-19, I would say we are doing quite well. We have managed to retain a clientele made up of both locals and tourists. In addition, I was able to introduce new ideas which were well received. Earning money is important to be able to sustain the business, but I am able to do something that I believe in and love and that is the ultimate satisfaction,” says Jamir. Creating an outlet outside of Nagaland to be able to introduce more non-Naga to Naga cuisine was in her scheme, but she prioritized Nagaland to allow people to experience authentic Naga cuisine in a modern. She says Naga Bowl Express is unique in that it offers some of the popular dishes of the Naga tribes under one roof. Jamir grew up in Mopungchuket village in Mokokchung district. She says she hired school dropouts from villages with no experience because she knows the hardships young people have to go through to get a decent job.

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