Chef Haji Mohammed Rafique of the Fakruddin brand has passed away yesterday (September 27) at the United Hospital, after suffering from infection in the lungs. He left behind the legacy of a culinary empire that his father, the legendary chef Md Fakruddin Munshi, had established.
It was Rafique (and his brother) who had played a pivotal role in the expansion of the business, steering the helms of the organisation to new heights with ambitious plans and bold business ideas -- making Fakruddin an iconic brand in Bangladesh and beyond.
As a reflection of his fame and respect, it can be exemplified that he was invited as one of the chefs to cook in a royal wedding in Jordan.
His son and Managing Director of the organisation, Abdul Khaleque, informed The Daily Star over the phone that his father was working even about a month ago, pointing to the dedication he had for the business.
"He always used to emphasise on conducting business affairs with honesty and prioritising customers above everything else," Khaleque remembers and draws inspiration from. "He said that it does not matter whether your work is big or small; work is work and that should come first."
Today, the organisation includes several local branches – a household name in the country – as well as restaurants in Singapore and London.
Much of the success is owed to this now demised chef and businessman, because during the time of the founder's death, Fakruddin as an organisation was only beginning to become a prominent and widely popular name, and it was Rafique who rose to the occasion and built the empire.
Amidst myriad delicacies, Fakruddin is arguably most famous for its kachchi biriyani, a signature dish of Dhaka which requires the highest level of skill and finesse to master.
Rafique's kachchi biriyani was even up for an auction at an eatery in the UK, won by the highest bidder at a price of 5,100 pound sterling! The event was very prestigious, with even the famous actor Pierce Brosnan being one of attendees.
Hopefully, the next generation (four sons are currently involved in the family business) will continue and further the legacy.
Breathing his last at the age of 72, Haji Mohammed Rafique was buried in the Azimpur Old Graveyard, in the grave of his father.