THE owner of a long-standing Indian restaurant is celebrating the success of her first Women’s Picnic.

Shahi Raj owner Rahela Khanom invited guests to join her at Vigo Park on Sunday for good food and good company at her outdoor event.

Rahela previously held women’s parties as a way to gather her female friends together, but decided this year a picnic would make a pleasant change.

She said: “Most of the people invited were friends but it’s not restrictive, everyone is invited.

“It was brilliant, really really brilliant.

“I love people. I love to talk to people and meet people. I couldn’t survive without people.

“People offered to help me prepare, even my chef offered to help me. I said ‘no you are my guests, I have invited you to enjoy not to help’.”

Originally hailing from Sylhet in Bangladesh, Rahela grew up with a strong tradition of cooking in her family, adding: “My grandma is the best chef, I miss her cooking.

“When I was at home I wasn’t a good cook, I learnt from my experiences. I started preparing the ingredients two days before the event. It was very time consuming. I made lots of curries as I have so many friends that are vegetarian.

“Everybody loved it, they even took away doggy bags.

“In my country if you know you have 100 people coming you make enough food for 200.”

Guests enjoyed the event so much there have already been requests for Rahela to host another, but she is not willing to confirm just yet whether she will hold a future picnic.