Santhosh started out working at a local country restaurant in his native India, and began preparing food one day when the chef didn’t show up. A friend encouraged him and he decided to go to culinary school.
Once there, his teacher recognized his talents and knew he was destined for big things. Before long, he was working for Taj Group Of Hotels and Resorts, a five-star hotel chain, and strengthened his resume with a course in hotel management. His horizons broadened further when he landed a job in Russia, working for an American company as a pastry chef.
By then, he had the experience to make his biggest move yet, coming to New York where he worked at a number of Indian restaurants. One thing led to another and now he’s a partner in his own business.
“He is a natural for the business,” said Jim Pabis, a Spa City businessman and former chairman of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce. “The first thing you notice about Santhosh is his warm, friendly, welcoming personality. He’s also an impressive entrepreneur. He trained at India’s equivalent to the Culinary Institute of America. He has the true entrepreneurial spirit, coming to the U.S. and opening a restaurant in three locations after traveling the world. His business acumen becomes apparent when you experience consistent, great-quality food coupled with excellent customer service. It’s also interesting to note his team-building leadership skills, which clearly shine with the attitude and consistency in his employees.”
Santhosh first visited the Spa City in 2002. “It was so busy, we couldn’t even walk on the street,” he said. “Then we began thinking, ‘Why don’t we open a store here?’ But we couldn’t find a location.”
Karavalli cuisine encompasses foods of the southwest coast of India, as many as six different regions, highlighted by fresh herbs and whole spices to create traditional and innovative dishes alike. Santhosh specializes in seafood and South Indian recipes, everything from rack of lamb to chicken tandoori.
“I’m very happy with Saratoga,” Santhosh says all the time. “It’s a beautiful place with nice people. Our customers are very important. They’re like my family. I know what they want. We want to make this work.”