Who is Najma?
I don’t mind being called Najma, although my name is actually Shermin. So the question I have often been asked is, ‘Who is Najma?’
Very simply, Najma was my mother’s name. Najma means ‘Star’, ‘Precious’, exactly what my mother was to me. So after she passed away, Najma’s seemed the most appropriate name for my venture, given that the single item which launched the business, Najma’s Meatballs, was a ‘secret’ recipe passed down to me by Mum. My father was also a successful entrepreneur in the catering industry for over 40 years, so I imagine the ‘catering’ gene was somehow deep-rooted and it was only a matter of time until it took over my life!
Conceived from a passion for cooking and hosting, Najma’s Catering & Events took off in the Summer of 2012 with a simple food tasting at a local sporting event celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee. And so Najma’s Food Stall came into being.
Our signature dishes, ‘Fusion Chicken Curry’ and ‘Najma’s Meatballs’ quickly became stall favourites as we traded at festivals and artisan markets gathering a steady loyal customer base. After the first year of market trading, making local food deliveries and bespoke private catering, Najma’s was awarded ‘Best Takeaway & Delivery’ at the Time & Leisure Food and Drink Awards 2013.
In that same year I launced Najma’s Indian Cookery Classes in a church hall in Raynes Park. Following a very well received series of community talks and workshops, I opened the doors to my home kitchen.