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
Kate Coury moved to the Chapel Hill area in 2010 and found her way to Vimala’s the following year. She is now an expert front manager, helping train new staff and making everyone feel welcomed. She enjoys working at Vimala’s because of the sense of community from the staff and guests. Kate majored in Environmental Studies at Oberlin, and brings her knowledge and commitment to environmental justice, and her passion for seafood and local waterways to our community.
When she is not at Vimala’s or fishing, Kate can be found at Tom Robinson’s fish market in Carrboro.
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.
Robert Gupton started at Vimala’s two weeks after Curryblossom Cafe opened and has worked here ever since. He moved from Rocky Mount in 2008 to make a new start and has enjoyed every day since he moved to Chapel Hill. “I have met some of the friendliest people in Chapel Hill,” he says. His favorite dish is the “Dosa with cheese and onions and a little curry sauce.” Robert met Vimala at Orange United Methodist Church, his home congregation and invites everyone to join them. Robert is the proud custodial grandpa of Junior (age 2) and Maya (age 1), who are sweet but very active babies. His hobby is woodcrafting and “bringing back old furniture.” Vimala considers him our “ Expediter Extraordinaire. “
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!
Our Mission and Practice
We grow our community by engaging intentionally in the farm to fork process and living our vision of creative resiliency.
We 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 source our produce and meat from nearby family farms; organize our workplace around joy and liberation; honor the land and our relationship to it; and practice interdependence with other organizations and small businesses who share our values.
Thank you for your support!