By CAM LUCADOU-WELLS
IT DIDN’T take long for restaurants to start pleading for a certain Russian “granny’s” home-made dumplings.
Soon after moving from north-east Russia two years ago, Nina Kuzovova’s heartily-filled pelmeni and vareniki became a sought-after treat by family and friends.
Within months, a Russian restaurant harangued her for the delicacies, and further diners and delis joined the queue.
She and daughter Tatiana’s business From Granny’s moved into a council-provided kitchen in Bentleigh but soon its nationally distributed morsels outgrew it.
“Mum received more calls from other shops and then it got so big,” Tatiana said.
“It was hard to fit it all in the freezer in that little kitchen.”
Out of necessity, they moved their assembly line into an un-signed factory in Dandenong South in December.
Inside, the starkly white, air-locked kitchen – cooled down for the moulding of dumpling shells – is at odds with the non-descript factory estate.
Usually just two or three workers – including mother and daughter – are mixing fillings, loading up the $70,000 Japanese dumpling machine, refining the shells by hand and packaging them.
Tatiana, who has chucked in her real-estate job to hop on board, said the ingredients are simple, traditional and generous.
They include locally-sourced chicken, beef, lamb and pork, and cottage cheese – as well as strawberry and apple for a dessert dumpling.
“The Russian dumplings have to be full, the dough has to be soft and dry,” Tatiana said.
She plans to introduce some Mediterranean and Arabic spiced fillings.
There seems no point in marketing this burgeoning word-of-mouth business – that seemed to grow from a life of its own.
“It started as a hobby,” Tatiana said.
“And now it’s become a business.”
To contact From Granny’s, call 0400 963 051.