About Us

We provide exceptional South Indian and Sri Lankan food and pickles made by women from these communities who relocated to the UK due to the conflict in Sri Lanka.

Our story

In 2013 Abi, a Founder of Papi’s Pickles, met many women who relocated to the UK, especially London, during and after the conflict in Sri Lanka. The isolation and sense of loss experienced within these communities was extreme and despite a desire to work, there was little opportunity to be found.

Cooking, food and community remained a happy memory from home and research showed a significant demand for South Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine, particularly made from high quality ingredients, so Papi’s Pickles was born!

Female refugees and migrant workers remain a marginalised group in society, and employment is core to the process of integration, which is where we step in. Since 2015, we are proud to say that Papi’s Pickles has recruited and trained 30 long-term unemployed women, and we are a London Living Wage employer.

Our impact

We provide women from South Indian and Sri Lankan communities with access to an income, support, confidence-building opportunities, English Language skills and food safety certification, alongside the invaluable impacts that arise from participating in meaningful employment.

To date, we have provided London Living Wage employment for 30 trainee chefs, delivered thousands of hours of training and raised awareness of the acute challenges faced by migrant and refugee women seeking to enter the workforce.


Ruby's story

Ruby has lived in the UK for over twelve years, after leaving Sri Lanka during the conflict. Ruby has two young children and her husband often works away from London. Prior to working with Papi’s Pickles she was struggling to find employment for a number of years, especially due to unaffordable childcare costs during the school holidays.

We recruited Ruby through the Tamil Community Centre in Hounslow where she was seeking support. Ruby’s three years of employment with Papi’s Pickles were transformative due to the income, training, support and confidence provided. Ruby was the head chef at our brunch collaboration with the Conflict Café in 2016, an event that was profiled in the Evening Standard, Hello magazine, the Londonist and Homemade. Ruby currently works as a beautician in London.

  • Papi’s Pickles were a delight to work with from start to finish. The staff were highly professional, delivered fantastic food and the pickles are incredible. I’d have them back at the House of Parliament everyday if I could!

    Ralph Buckle, Co Founder & Director, Commonwealth Exchange
  • There are not many south Asian eating opportunities like this in London for the casual food appreciator. Everything tasted very fresh and there was good attention to detail across the meal – a very good diverse 3 course menu. I booked a table with a group of friends after work and was well looked after. Thumbs up!

    Terry Knight, Point Pedro + Pondicherry Pop Up Attendee
  • Great hosts, great atmosphere and delicious food, what more could you want!

    Ilana Taub, Cinnamon Kitchen Olympics Pop Up Attendee
  • Working with Papi’s Pickles has given me more than just an income, I have gained confidence, I am able to travel across London to events. My English has improved and I feel much happier day-to-day.

    Ruby Kughanathan, Trainee Chef
  • You guys were such a job to work with – so charming, professional, accommodating and talented! Everyone raved about your food and the VIP lunch was a resounding success by all accounts.

    Zoe Desmond, TEDx EastEnd Event Manager & Catering Client
  • Pickles-wise, the team have got their vinegary fingers on beetroots, carrots, limes, mangos and figs. Puts your local chip shop’s pickled eggs to shame, eh?

    Time Out Magazine