In conversation with Emilia Victor, Co-Founder and Co-Owner, MumMai
Q1. Tell us about MumMai’s inception, and the story behind your recipes.
Home-cooked meals tend to manifest warm memories, especially when
it has the touch of a grandmother’s love and care. There’s a lot more to recipes than a set
of instructions, it is about time, love, and comfort, and for us, at MumMai, we set off to
share that essence with everyone.
This quest evolved into an establishment that lets us follow our passion for cooking and
preserve the rich culinary history of Goan cuisine. MumMai kickstarted as a cloud kitchen,
where my co-founders and I, cooked over the weekend and invited friends and relatives to
pick up their orders. It was a medium for me to ensure that the people we love are taken
In the span of the next ten months, word of mouth and social media presence helped our
humble establishment skyrocket. As the order size increased, we extended our ambition to
serve a larger group of people. Hence, in 2021, we opened up our restaurant at Panjim.
MumMai, with its warm, traditional Goan meals, and a cozy set-up, is a place where people
can dine with their families and loved ones. We have witnessed town folk and tourists
enjoy our dishes and have fostered several regular customers.
With each bite that our customers cherish, we get a step closer to our goal of nurturing our
roots. At MumMai, we want to remind people that it is natural to explore other cuisines and
expand one’s palette, but appreciating and relishing our culture is equally essential.
Q2. How was your journey from Gegems to MumMai?
Gegems gift center was my first venture along with my late husband, George Victor. We
ran the store for 20 years, and it became well-known among locals and tourists. While
Gegems is no longer operational, but the experience taught me a lot about business and
finding joy in being a small but memorable moment in our customers’ lives. Even today, at
MumMai, a lot of people recognize me as Emilia from Gegems.
It warms my heart to have had an establishment that helped people create beautiful
memories, and I continue to strive for the same at my restaurant. Following my mother’s
recipes and keeping our cultural dishes alive is a huge part of MumMai, but the people and
the ambiance are a strong measure of our success. You walk into a restaurant and see
people laughing and enjoying their meals with one another, and you know you won’t leave
disappointed. We are happy to report that we have established that at MumMai.
Q3. What cultural connection do people have with food and why do we need to preserve
I’m sure each person has that one comfort food that holds the potential to uplift
their mood instantly, and more often than not, it is a traditional home-cooked dish. People have a
way of creating memories and relating to their surroundings with food. You go to the
beach and instantly want to have tender coconut water or fresh seafood.
With globalisation, India now has a range of cuisines from across the world. You want
Chinese? There are tons of Chinese food outlets for you to pick from. Do you want pizza? Even
your neighborhood bakery will have some form of pizza available. But you are what you
eat, or rather, you are what you grow up eating. Food that connects us closer to our roots
is not only comforting, but it is also an important part of our lives. What is Goa without
xacuti, choris pao and vonn?
At MumMai, we believe that it is crucial to preserve and honour our culinary history and
with each dish we serve, we hope to bring people a step closer to home.
Q4. Why does MumMai place importance on locally sourced meat, fish and farm
Mothers and grandmothers have a unique way of showing their love through food. They
always ensure that they cook with fresh meat and spend time mastering the perfect blend
of spices to make each recipe unique. We follow the same principles at MumMai.
We want nothing but the best quality meat, seafood, and farm produce for our customers.
Sourcing them locally, through vendors that we know and trust, is how we maintain our
authenticity. People we work with have been in the business for years and have built a
reputation around the quality of their products.
Also, as an upcoming business, sourcing our materials through local vendors helps us
support them in their journey and promote their services.
Q5. What are MumMai’s Future plans?
MumMai has just started growing and our plans to expand are slowly taking shape. We
would like to broaden our reach by opening a larger establishment with the capacity to
serve hundreds of people. Right now, my son & co-owner Chef Elvis and nephew & co-owner, Chef Roland and I, are handling all business operations end-to-end. While we have a talented staff on board, we hope to have more support with a larger operation. We are
also looking into starting a second establishment, a Tapas with a bar.