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Vimala Rajendran Discusses Respect and Dignity at Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe

Chef and restaurateur Vimala Rajendran, in white chef's jacket and red chef's cap, smiling in her restaurant.

What is fruit, in community living? It is gathering of the community around the table over delicious, wholesome food that is good for the people. With regard to our business, we made sure that we became a triple-bottom-line business. The three P’s of a sustainable business are people, planet, profit—in no particular order—and we make sure that the people we value include the invisible ones, like those whose touch came early on, where the food was grown. Many important ingredients, like the rice, the cardamom, the cinnamon sticks, the cloves, the black pepper, come from all over the world, into the restaurant. Then there’s local produce, and of course gasoline, which we get from parts of the world where oil is drilled or mined. We are so mindful of all of that.

And then we respect the people who handle the food in the restaurant by paying them a higher wage, and by having a culture of such respect and dignity, and also mutuality, where there is no hierarchy in the kitchen. Our dishwasher is paid even more than someone who works the front of the house. The tips are all shared evenly, and we also start at a living wage for anyone who walks in the door.