Payal Thakurani, Founder + Culinary Director of Commune Kitchen
As the only non-doctor or non-engineer in her family, Payal Thakurani reveals, “I was studying to become a mathematician or physicist [in university], but soon realised I wasn’t cut out for either career path.” That is not to say Payal doesn’t love learning, though. A firm believer in the saying “education and knowledge never go to waste”, she went on to immerse herself in the food culture of Asia and the Middle East from 1997. As it turned out, her real passion was in the culinary arts.
During those years, she left her home country of India, and took up several sales and marketing roles in Hong Kong. Fast forward four jobs later, Payal finally realised in 2012 that cooking was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. In 2017, after settling in Singapore, she opened Commune Kitchen.
“Commune Kitchen’s motto is to make cooking accessible to all. Our classes follow an inclusive approach,” Payal says of the cooking courses open to domestic helpers, expats, locals and children alike.
From providing a platform for talented home chefs, and sharing recipes to support local producers, Payal’s belief in the importance of giving back infuses everything she does. If she didn’t run her business here? “I’d want to work in educating and supporting rural women in India.”
Started in 2017 by The Finder, the Expatpreneur Awards are intended to honour hard-working, successful, community-minded foreign-born business owners in Singapore. All winners must exhibit how their businesses help people “live well in Singapore” – The Finder’s own mission. This year, marks the fifth annual awards. Find out more here.
By Willaine G. Tan