A popular home-based business that is taking Karachi by storm, ‘San-Which’ is run by none other than culinary wright, Samar Husain. San-Which is all about heroes and hoagies and sandwiches, boasting an exciting menu comprising fresh, flavorful meals, complete with a salad, made lovingly with a gorgeous selection of ingredients like avocados, sundried tomatoes, brie, cranberry and red jalapenos.
One might imagine that a person with a growing business and a baby on the way would be twisting someone’s arm, but when I contacted her, her delightfulness at once put me at ease. Because of her super busy schedule, I was very thankful that Samar Husain agreed to take time to respond to a couple of questions for Gobble My Words.
Some of her famous creations are Chicken Ceaser Wrap, Smoked Turkey with Cranberry and Brie, Hot and Spicy Chicken Jungle Curry, Baked Potato with Chili and Beans, Smoked Beef Wrap with Wholegrain mustard and the list goes on…
After the interview, I get the feeling that food is much more than a business to Samar Husain. It’s an outlet to be creative, a fondness. Today, San-Which is giving her the opportunity to improve her skills all while growing her business and meeting new daily challenges.
Before I give away everything in this short intro, I present to you the interview. And do try the wonderful sandwiches, the menu for which can be found on http://www.facebook.com/groups/sanwhich/
All the lovely pictures have been provided by: Binte @ The Social Cupcake (http://www.facebook.com/TSocialCupcake).
GMW: Tell us something about yourself and your family?
SH: I come from a tiny family in comparison to most people in Pakistan. I have spent most of my life as an only child when at the age of 21, I was blessed with a lovely yet annoying younger sister who I love very much. My dad is a business man who loves to eat and travel….my love of food has been created and nurtured primarily by him and our old Bengali cook who now earns more than me in Dubai!!!!! My mom is Pakistan’s first hairdresser; and has been in the industry for over 30 years. She is a wonderful, hardworking lady who has been loving and supportive always. My dad’s family is full of famous cooks starting from my grandfather and his brother to a young cousin who has just finished the Patisserie course at Le Cordon Bleu a week ago. Suffice it to say, the love for food runs in our family.
I got married late at 33 and my husband is a Punjabi food lover and so is his family. We used to often drive from Lahore to Peshawar just to eat Lamb Karhai from new Charsi Kebab House!
GMW: What is a flawless day at home?
SH: Electricity, no phone, no internet, a fab movie, my blanket, khatti daal with chawal and achaar in the company of my dogs!!!!
GMW: If you had a wide open sum of money to invest in one kitchen item that would take your business to the next level, what would it be?
SH: At the moment, I am obsessed with the idea of a kitchen aid in pink with the ice cream and Ravioli making attachments. However, that fluctuates with the desire to buy one of those Supremo ovens where I can bake fresh bread!!!! So basically it’s a toss up between the two..
GMW: If you were to invite a famous person to your house, who would it be and what would you cook for him/her?
SH: Heston Blumenthal and Ferran Adria. But even in my wildest dreams, I would never have the guts to cook for them. I would invite them over at 3pm and serve them expression so they will be fully alert to answer all my molecular cooking technique questions!
GMW: How did you get your start as a sandwich maker and why the name San-Which?
SH: One of my friends is an avid sandwich maker and I took a lot of inspiration from him. San-Which however came about by complete shot in the dark! To further my catering business, I began to supply at my mom’s shop. She pushed me to make sandwiches for hungry patrons who could not satiated with sweets only, and the rest, as they say, is history. The demand just grew and grew which was amazing to witness. For that, I can’t thank my mom enough!!!
GMW: What are your favorite ingredients to cook with?
SH: Truffles, Mushrooms, Pasta and Cheese. All kinds of cheese.
GMW: Where does the inspiration of your recipes come from?
SH: I read A LOT of cookbooks, I simply love them…..and then I take one piece from here and one from there and add them all together. However, a lot of sandwiches are from memories of childhood and tastes made from there.
GMW: Do you think the kind of bread used when making sandwiches matters?
SH: YES!!!! and flour and butter too all of which are of a low quality in Pakistan.
GMW: What’s your favorite way to eat sandwiches?
SH: Honestly, my favorite sandwich is a good grilled cheese…. love it!!!!
GMW: Apart from yourself, which bakery/cafe/restaurant do you think makes an incomparable sandwich?
SH: For basic Sandwiches I like Paul’s or Pret A Manger in London, for meat ones the Carnegie Deli in NYC but the Americans make some mean, mean Sandwiches too!!!
GMW: What is the finding that surprised you the most about investing time in the kitchen and catering to different people?
SH: How important it is to have a good memory!!!!!
GMW: Is this your first and last venture or are there any plans for opening up a restaurant in the future?
SH: Not my first and certainly not my last!!!!
GMW: Any advice for novice chefs-at-home?
SH: Never get disheartened by bad dish or outcome….try it again and again until u get it right!!!!