A CHEF and mother whose homemade chutneys and pickles have taken pride of place around Thornbury dinner tables will launch her very own family restaurant on Castle Street next week.

Romy Gill, the owner of Romy's Kitchen, a catering company and cookery school with its own range of condiments and mouth-watering sauces, will realise her life-long dream after years of hard work and despite several setbacks when she opens the healthy eatery on Wednesday, September 4.

"As a woman entrepreneur, getting the right backing for my business was tough," she told the Gazette.

"This is a very male-dominated industry and it has been a long journey for me. Three of the banks I applied to refused me because I was a woman and it was my first business. It has not been easy but it's an exciting time ahead for me."

A fourth bank however, NatWest, was impressed with her thorough business plan and ambition and backed the chef, who is currently working on her own cookery book and has a TV pilot with the BBC in the pipeline.

"The restaurant will serve healthy Indian recipes," she added. "It's going to be very me, very glamorous and the business will allow me to work around my family."

Alongside the Romy's Kitchen restaurant, a shop will offer her entire range of pickles and chutneys as well as more unusual Indian ingredients.

Originally from West Bengal, Romy discovered her love of food from a very early age as she helped her mother prepare scrumptious dishes for her family. When her two daughters Reet, ten, and Neev, seven, were born, Romy chose to focus on her true passion - cooking.

In 2008 she launched Romy’s Kitchen which propelled her into the limelight. She soon featured at the Ideal Home Show, Grand Designs, Bristol’s Love Food Festival, Alchemy Festival Southbank, The Cheese & Wine Festival and The Foodie Show in Dorchester. She also showcased her condiments at the Varli Food Festival in New York and the Date Palm Festival in Abu Dhabi.

The natural next step for Romy was to expand her brand and set up her own restaurant.

"As a working mum, this is a big step for me," she said. "I’ve worked hard to build a strong client base through the catering side of the business and my aim is now to open this up to new customers."