Two of a kind: Mrs Sandhu and Preet

Categories: Behind the stalls

Mrs Sandhu and her daughter Preet on the dedication and creativity that goes into their chutneys and pickles

Mrs Sandhu on Preet
It is really lovely working with Preet. She is my eldest daughter and we get on very well on the stall. While she cannot be here as much she used to be, she is really fundamental to me being able to run Temptings.

She helps me a great deal—she sets up the stall in the morning and comes back to help me take it down at the end of the day. Preet has a very artistic eye. I will have some ideas about where things should go but she is very good at making the stall look its best. This is very important, as we do not do any wholesale or other markets: this stall is the core of our business.

Preet works with me every Saturday, which is lovely. She also does the paperwork for the business because I just do not have the time. I am always in the kitchen working on recipes and cooking.

We still make everything ourselves so we have a real pride in what we sell and Preet loves explaining the different tastes and combinations to the customers. She is a lovely girl, if a customer asks her to recommend something she will always point then to something she likes.

I might take a bit longer to find out their tastes but if they ask what Preet likes, she tells them; she is very honest that way. But it works very well because they do come back and tell her how much they enjoyed her recommendations.

I like to sit and watch how much she enjoys herself with the customers. Though sometimes it feels like she spends more time with the customers than helping me! But it is not just the customers—she also enjoys the friendships we have developed with the other stallholders over the years. We have been here for a long time now and have made some real friends.

If I was taking her out for a celebration, it would be difficult to decide where because she likes a wide range of cuisines but I would choose somewhere like Le Gavroche, Michel Roux’s restaurant for a special occasion. She likes that style of food.

But it is not just about fine dining. The two of us went to Milan on holiday last year and we found some lovely little places where she really loved the food. They were nothing fancy, just local people using good ingredients to cook the food they love—the kind of thing that we try to do at Temptings.

Mrs Sandhu and Preet

Preet on Mrs Sandhu
Mum works really hard on the business because the food creativity side of things falls entirely on her shoulders. Because we only use ingredients that are in season, she is continuously creating and making new chutneys and pickles, as well as making old favourites when the season comes round again. It is not a case of just making huge vats of the stuff and selling it for months on end.

Mum’s background is Punjabi, where every family has their own recipe for a dish and people are very creative with food. The chicken pickle we sell was initially created for mum as a child, because she didn’t like the goat pickle. It was the first thing we sold at the Market.

There are some recipes we use that have been in the family for generations, but the majority of the things you see on the stall are from my mother’s imagination.

My mother is one of those people who can gather a few ingredients, put them together and create something wonderful. She is very good at thinking outside the box and choosing ingredients that people might not think would go together, but actually do. That amazing creativity is what allows her to come up with all these combinations of chutneys and pickles.

I think the thing my mother likes most about the business is providing something truly special to the customers. She really puts her heart into what she is making. We have customers who have been coming from the first day we opened with a few jars of chicken pickle, which sold out by midday. She has got to know them as people and often has them in mind when she is making a chutney or a pickle at three o'clock in the morning.

This relationship is at the heart of the business. Mum absolutely loves the customer interaction. She loves chatting to our customers, catching up, hearing their news, seeing if they enjoyed what they last bought and what they did with it. We both just enjoy working together and being part of the amazing atmosphere at Borough Market.