Dildeep Kalra, the vice president of Massive Restaurants, says sometimes it is good to get strangers’ opinions when it comes to fashion. Ravindranath K / The National
Dildeep Kalra, the vice president of Massive Restaurants, says sometimes it is good to get strangers’ opinions when it comes to fashion. Ravindranath K / The National

Day in the life: In the best possible taste for fashion app founder



Dildeep Kalra is the vice president of Massive Restaurants, which runs Farzi Cafe in City Walk, Dubai as well as several outlets in India including Masala Library, Pa Pa Ya and Masala Bar. The 34-year-old is also the founder of a new fashion app, Stylehorn, which gives users instant feedback on their outfit. Ms Kalra, mother to a daughter, two, and a son, aged four, is based in New Delhi, and travels to Dubai every three months to oversee the expansion of her brand in the emirate.

7am

I wake up early and if I’m at home I make sure the kids are up and ready for the day ahead. Sometimes I take my eldest to school, but if I’m busy with work someone else will take him. After the kids are organised I’ll have a very strong coffee and maybe some eggs. I’m not big on breakfast as I’m tasting so much food throughout the day on my job. I get dressed; my style is classic and I’ll usually opt for a more formal look in the office, I find a trouser suit works well for most engagements during the day. After this I’ll read the newspapers to keep up to date with what’s happening and go through my diary to prepare my daily schedule.

10am

I head to the office, about 15 minutes away from home. We have 50 employees and most of them have been with us for a long time. I’ll catch up with anyone who needs me, otherwise I’m preparing for the day’s meetings.

11am

Every Tuesday we have a big meeting with all the heads of departments. We discuss the plans for the next week, go over sales, marketing and purchasing. Every single restaurant head comes to the meetings and each business is discussed to address any issues.

1pm

I often go to Cyber Hub in Gurgaon, New Delhi, for lunch where we have two restaurants and make a spot check. I always arrive unannounced so I can see what is really going on from a normal customer point of view. One restaurant is a buffet style and the other is a waiter service venue. I check everything: the cleanliness, the service, the presentation and attitude of the staff, the quality and presentation of the food. I even check the bathrooms – all of these things are critical when running a successful restaurant.

2pm

I now turn my attention to the expanding business plans. We have several new sites that we’re working on so I’ll hold conference calls with the project managers to get an update on progress. Sometimes I visit the sites in person and meet the team there. We have one restaurant in Dubai at the moment but would love to open more. Our cuisine incorporates cutting-edge culinary techniques, including elements of molecular gastronomy and creative culinary art. Dubai has an international culture and its diners have a well exposed and sophisticated palate and are open to innovative experiences, so we plan to open two more Farzi Cafes by the end of 2017.

3pm

Later I’ll work on my own project, Stylehorn. I love running Massive Restaurants, but that is the business my husband started and I run it. I really wanted my own project that is totally my own creation. Stylehorn is a logical extension of the need we all have for external validation. If a stranger comes up to you in the street and comments on your appearance in a positive manner it gives you a boost for the rest of the day, even many days to come. The app is an extrapolation of this where users can upload their outfits and get ratings from other users. Sometimes it’s good to get strangers’ opinions; people close to you often don’t tell you the truth. Your husband, for example, might say you look great in whatever you wear, but the app helps you get real feedback.

4pm

I go home and spend time with the kids as they are back from school. We go swimming or do another activity together. I like to spend quality time with them when I’m home as I’m often travelling.

7.30pm

Once the kids are in bed, I head out for dinner with friends or to an event. I do a lot of food reviews with journalists at our restaurants and we hold live performances at Farzi Cafes in India, so often I’ll attend one of those. If my husband is home and not travelling we have social engagements and will be out most nights attending events or having business meetings over dinner. On a rare night when I don’t have something planned out of the house I’ll settle down with a good book.

12am

I check emails and the reports coming through from all of the restaurants to see what has happened that day.

1am

I head to bed. I sleep easily.

business@thenational.ae

Follow The National's Business section on Twitter

The Bio

Hometown: Bogota, Colombia
Favourite place to relax in UAE: the desert around Al Mleiha in Sharjah or the eastern mangroves in Abu Dhabi
The one book everyone should read: 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It will make your mind fly
Favourite documentary: Chasing Coral by Jeff Orlowski. It's a good reality check about one of the most valued ecosystems for humanity

8 traditional Jamaican dishes to try at Kingston 21

  1. Trench Town Rock: Jamaican-style curry goat served in a pastry basket with a carrot and potato garnish
  2. Rock Steady Jerk Chicken: chicken marinated for 24 hours and slow-cooked on the grill
  3. Mento Oxtail: flavoured oxtail stewed for five hours with herbs
  4. Ackee and salt fish: the national dish of Jamaica makes for a hearty breakfast
  5. Jamaican porridge: another breakfast favourite, can be made with peanut, cornmeal, banana and plantain
  6. Jamaican beef patty: a pastry with ground beef filling
  7. Hellshire Pon di Beach: Fresh fish with pickles
  8. Out of Many: traditional sweet potato pudding

My Country: A Syrian Memoir

Kassem Eid, Bloomsbury

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Akeed

Based: Muscat

Launch year: 2018

Number of employees: 40

Sector: Online food delivery

Funding: Raised $3.2m since inception

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

TEACHERS' PAY - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Pay varies significantly depending on the school, its rating and the curriculum. Here's a rough guide as of January 2021:

- top end schools tend to pay Dh16,000-17,000 a month - plus a monthly housing allowance of up to Dh6,000. These tend to be British curriculum schools rated 'outstanding' or 'very good', followed by American schools

- average salary across curriculums and skill levels is about Dh10,000, recruiters say

- it is becoming more common for schools to provide accommodation, sometimes in an apartment block with other teachers, rather than hand teachers a cash housing allowance

- some strong performing schools have cut back on salaries since the pandemic began, sometimes offering Dh16,000 including the housing allowance, which reflects the slump in rental costs, and sheer demand for jobs

- maths and science teachers are most in demand and some schools will pay up to Dh3,000 more than other teachers in recognition of their technical skills

- at the other end of the market, teachers in some Indian schools, where fees are lower and competition among applicants is intense, can be paid as low as Dh3,000 per month

- in Indian schools, it has also become common for teachers to share residential accommodation, living in a block with colleagues

Islamic Architecture: A World History

Author: Eric Broug
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Pages: 336
Available: September

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Bedu

Started: 2021

Founders: Khaled Al Huraimel, Matti Zinder, Amin Al Zarouni

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: AI, metaverse, Web3 and blockchain

Funding: Currently in pre-seed round to raise $5 million to $7 million

Investors: Privately funded

Turning waste into fuel

Average amount of biofuel produced at DIC factory every month: Approximately 106,000 litres

Amount of biofuel produced from 1 litre of used cooking oil: 920ml (92%)

Time required for one full cycle of production from used cooking oil to biofuel: One day

Energy requirements for one cycle of production from 1,000 litres of used cooking oil:
▪ Electricity - 1.1904 units
▪ Water- 31 litres
▪ Diesel – 26.275 litres

KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Director: Wes Ball

Starring: Owen Teague, Freya Allen, Kevin Durand

Rating: 3.5/5

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside