My story

Hello there, my name is Philip Mitchell and I’m the proprietor of Chaat Man Indian Deli

Chaat Man is the culmination of thirty years of experience delving deep into the world of authentic desi Indian cuisine. The catalyst of this lifelong passion started in 1992 on the island of Corfu, Greece when a fellow bar worker offered to cook me an authentic Indian goat curry. Up until this point, I’d only eaten the odd British Indian takeaway and a few jars of supermarket curry sauce. But this goat curry, cooked with freshly roasted and ground spices, and slow-cooked over a fire, sent me to heaven!

Back home in the UK I remained friends with Martin and spent many weekends cooking with him in Brighton. As the years went by my knowledge grew and so did the realization that Indian cuisine was now my passion and focus.

In 2001 I got married and became the cook of the house. As well as experimenting in Brighton, I was now creating my own curries at home. With the advent of the internet, I researched further all the different styles of Indian cooking, how the food changed geographically, and where I could visit to hone my craft.

A year later I took my first trip to India. I spent months in Kerala and Tamil learning how to cook their wonderful vegetarian cuisine, fish curries and banana leaf meals.

In 2003 I moved from West Sussex to Norfolk. Around this time our IVF had been successful and my first son Oliver was born. With a growing family and a lack of well-paid work I started a window cleaning business. For ten years this became my focus. But between work, I was still busy in the kitchen learning everything I could about Indian cuisine. And almost every evening was spent on the internet researching, delving deep, and recreating in my kitchen.

In 2012 I started my first food business Gaia’s Kitchen. I concentrated on vegetarian and vegan cuisine selling Indian savouries, plant-based snacks, and curries at farmers’ markets and food festivals. In 2016 I sold my window cleaning business and went full time with Gaia’s Kitchen. Unfortunately, the food festivals were hit and miss, some you made a good profit, others were a waste of time. And so with a heavy heart, and an empty bank account, I took a break and reassessed my options.

A few months later I moved house, decided to trade locally only, and built a new brand serving meat, fish, veggie, and vegan options. Within a year Chaat Man was doing well. I was selling Indian street food, chaat, and curry at local farmers’ markets and getting plenty of return custom and recommendations. In 2019 things really took off with a few magazine articles, a growing customer base, and four successful markets under my belt. I was also hosting supper clubs and serving chaat at local festivals.

In 2020 I found a commercial kitchen on a farm in Rushall, just outside of Harleston, Norfolk. It was perfect and came with a shop, a couple of chillers, and a few basic steel catering counters. As soon as I moved in I visualised and created an Indian deli, and have been busy ever since.

You can now find me at Beccles Farmers Market on the 1st & 3rd Saturday of the month, and at Black Barn Farm on the 2nd Saturday. You can pre-order via our online shop and then collect at either our Indian Deli on a Friday or on Saturday’s via Lopham or Beccles farmer’s markets.