28 Days In Shipping Container For ‘Bearded Chef’

When COVID-19 hit the country, his business was affected so he had to come up with solutions to sustain the family livelihood.
12 Sep 2021 13:00
28 Days In Shipping Container For ‘Bearded Chef’
Anushil Gounder stands in front of his container which he uses as a shop and to make fast-food in Lovu, Lautoka. Photo: Nicolette Chambers

On some days, I would curl up in a corner and cry to myself because I was missing my family.

These were sentiments shared by Anushil Gounder who was separated from his wife, Kelera Railoa and one-year-old daughter, Haylene Gounder, for 28 days in a shipping container due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

He spent 28 days in his shipping container-turned-canteen and fastfood takeaway shop in Lautoka while his family remained at their home in Nadi.

Business struggles

The 27-year-old Nadi businessman began his carwash and gas station business in Lovu, Lautoka three years ago.

When COVID-19 hit the country, his business was affected so he had to come up with solutions to sustain the family livelihood.

He began his Expresso Onestop drive-through creating a variety of fast-food which he only learnt making watching YouTube videos.

Sharing his experience of being away from his family for one month brought him closure of how important people should manage time with their loved ones.

Known to many of his customers as the ‘bearded chef’, Mr Gounder said there were times where he would sit in a corner of his container and cry because of being miles away from his family.

COVID-19 restrictions

“Before the lockdown happened we were operating 24/7 and because of that we were the only carwash open and drivers would always come here, so business was rolling,” he said.

“Ever since COVID-19 hit, it got really hard because of the curfew hours, business was not running smoothly and so I decided to venture into something else to keep the shop running and help my family pay bills and rent so that was when I started learning how to make fast-food.”

He said he had no choice but to sleep inside his shop because of the lockdown and also because his shop had been robbed twice when the cyclone happened where he lost more than $8000 worth of goods.

He added that no matter how busy people were with their jobs, they should always cherish family time.

He makes a variety of fast-food from subways, burgers, wraps, hotdogs, loaded fries and prawns.

Mr Gounder also acknowledged his customers who kept his businesses going.

He also assists needy families in the Western Division by donating one dozen loaves of bread daily.

Edited by Rayape Karavaki

Feedback: nicolette.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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