A FORMER banker is hoping to spice up the lives of Irish workers with the new curry mixes he's hoping will become staples in our diet.
Raman Patel is one of 15 budding food entrepreneurs who's taking part in a new industry-backed Food Academy aimed at helping fledgling businesses make it on to supermarket shelves.
Irish-born with an Indian dad, Raman said friends used to frequently complain that they loved Indian food but found the long list of spices in recipes too daunting to cook it up themselves.
So when Mr Patel was made redundant from his job in financial services, he decided to start a business that would combine his business acumen with his passion for Indian food and spices.
He sourced the best spices he could find from India and packaged together sets of the nine spices you need to make any Indian dish combined with a cookbook telling you how to use them.
Sales of these have been going well at markets and independent retailers since he set up 18 months ago, and Raman is now also turning his attention to the catering sector to help them serve up the curry dishes Irish workers love.
"I found that a lot of the big catering companies were complaining they found it very hard to get consistent spices and recipes that they could make Indian dishes in the large quantities you need to feed 500 or 600 people," he said.
Mr Patel perfected a spice mix called One-der Blend that can form the basis of any Indian dish depending on what ingredients you pair it with.
He is also developing an app that will allow large caterers calculate the ingredient mixes and costs to make large quantities of different dishes from chicken tikka masala to kormas and other popular dishes.