Our Mission and Practice
We believe we grow our community by engaging intentionally in the farm to fork process and living our vision of creative resiliency.
We seek to bring our community together with love, warmth and hospitality over delicious, healthy food. We prioritize worker, environmental, and social justice; accessibility through affordability; and sustainability at every level. We pay a living wage.
Our producers are local, our investors local, and our long-term goals are about transforming the local economy. We strive to source our produce and meat from nearby family farms; organize our workplace around joy and liberation; honor the land and our relationship to it; be an incubator for artists; and practice interdependence with other organizations and small businesses who share our values.
Thank you for your support!
A brief History and Request
Want to learn more about how our restaurant was formed and where our values originate? Meet Vimala Rajendran. Vimala grew up in Bombay where she learned to cook from family, street vendors & friends. In 1994, a single mother of three, Vimala started cooking donation-based community dinners in her Chapel Hill home. Sixteen years later in June 2010, thanks to the support of our beloved community, Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe was born! When you visit the restaurant please consider donating to our Food for All fund to help us continue the legacy of our community supported dinners. If you can afford to help us sustain our ‘everybody eats’ policy, please do give generously. If you are unable to afford our prices, let us know. We believe in making healthy, delicious food accessible to all people and we trust in our community’s commitment to food justice. When Vimala cooks, everybody eats!
Meet our Staff
Laurel Shulman is a baseball playing, dancing, cheese making, cooperative living, acting, gardening and meditating kind of lady.
Originally from Orlando, she moved to North Carolina after graduating from New College of Florida and worked with a local cheese maker before moving to Carrboro. She is actively involved with the Carrboro Greenspace, Dance Magic Dance Productions and the Weaver Community Housing Association, and loves every minute of it.
A long time friend and supporter of Vimala’s, Liane Salgado grew up in Chapel Hill but left to study ecology, local plants, medicinal plants, sustainable living and permaculture as a National Science Foundation scholar at the University of Michigan’s doctoral program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in the 1980s. Currently, in addition to working at the restaurant, she is collaborating with the Carrboro Greenspace, developing a community permaculture center, as well as supporting local and urban agriculture and solid waste reduction efforts. Her home on Damascus Church Rd. is the site of our beautiful kitchen garden. She also does GIS, energy modeling, and technical writing for conservation non-profits and local businesses.
Manju Rajendran is a community organizer, artist, writer, cook and botany nerd. Since age 12, Manju has been doing social justice work, especially with young people, inspired by her mother’s legacy of civic engagement, food justice, education organizing and community-building. She is a member of Southerners On New Ground, Left Turn, Ubuntu, Panderia Bread Uprising Bakery, and Grupo Capoeira Brasil/ Terreiro de Arte e Cultura. Manju and her small flock of plucky hens live under a pecan tree in Durham.
Paul Martinez: Nothing new under the sun yet the Curryblossom blazes like one. Whether rich, poor or somewhere in between come for the food and stay for the scene as we build our skills so we can pay the bills… Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, I moved to the east coast in 2003 to try out something new. Ever since I can remember I have always loved food and kinda knew I would work with food for a living. I have worked in various restaurants in Chapel Hill/Carrboro but was truly blessed when I found Curryblossom. “Chef,” as I like to call her, is truly a gifted and wonderful person. She has more than a few soldiers ready to go to war for her though we are about love and togetherness. I look forward to what the future holds for us all both in our professional and personal lives. I also look forward to getting to know all of our guests, soon to be friends. See ya soon.
Peter Brayshaw is a musician, community activist, herbalist, cook and farmer. Since 2006, he has been an active collaborator with the Carrboro Greenspace Collective and helped found the Carrboro Community Garden Coalition in 2008.
He has trained in wild edibles and herbalism with traditional midwives in Albuquerque, NM, at home in the Appalachian Mountains and locally with Will Endres. Peter cooked with Vimala for many years in her home-based community kitchen and now cooks in the restaurant. He is also farmer-in-charge of our beautiful kitchen garden and loves living in Carrboro with his partner Lydia and their little one, Eloy. When not busy with all of these undertakings, he loves to let loose with friends and play folk & experimental music.
is a writer,
He is also the Curryblossom beverages manager and the creator of our Chai-bucha. He lives in Carrboro where he obsesses over story structure and what beers appear on our menu.
Vimala Rajendran, Executive Chef has been a longtime activist for progressive causes including grassroots media, international peace and stopping domestic violence. Through it all, she has fed the movement. Her food has shown up everywhere, from protests across the region to weddings and private parties to the Weaver Street Market lawn and Johnny’s in Carrboro.
At the restaurant, I enjoy recreating my family’s favorite recipes, as well as new ones that I once introduced to my mother who openly welcomed my cooking experiments. Many thanks to this community for rallying behind me to envision the possibility that my creative, wholesome food could be market worthy! I am immensely grateful to my parents, brother Wilson, and sisters, Wilma and Margaret, for your inspiration and the rich stories we created together. I am thankful for my children Manju, Anjali and Rajeev for being the driving force behind all the growing up that I have done in the last three decades, and more recently, the commitment that my children and husband have made to me. And now Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe is one of the greatest gifts ever!