Mr Kasivishvanaath (left) and his younger brother, Mr Srinivasan, work closely, like finger and nail, at their family business, Muthu’s Curry.
Two or three times each week, behind locked doors in a room in a building in Race Course Road, a family tradition going back decades is carried out, away from prying eyes.
The result is a spice blend that goes into one of Singapore's most iconic dishes, fishhead curry, sold at the restaurant that is synonymous with the dish, Muthu's Curry. On mixing days, the chain's chief executive and director of operations step out from behind their office desks, five storeys above the restaurant.
Mr Kasivishvanaath is aware that when his father, Mr Ayyakkannu S., began selling it in his first operation, a coffee-shop stall in Klang Road opened in 1969, a few other restaurants were already known for it. The family cooking tradition can be traced to Mr Kasivishvanaath's grandfather, who came to Singapore to cook for employees of the provisions dealer Selvi Stores in the period after World War II.
There were Chinese, Nonya and Goan versions of fishhead curry around when Mr Ayyakkannu opened his stall, but his innovation was to give it a South Indian twist typical of his home region in Chettinad, Tamil Nadu.
While keeping the Klang Road stall open, Mr Ayyakkannu launched a proper restaurant in 1974 at 78 Race Course Road, not far from where the flagship sits today. The name Muthu means pearl in Tamil and it was a term of praise a customer gave the fishhead curry after eating at the then-unnamed Klang Road stall. Customers assumed Mr Ayyakkannu was Muthu and called him by that name, which was fine by him, says his son. Younger brother Srinivasan A., 36, has also cleaned his share of fishheads, as well as squeezed limes and wiped tables. Besides training in the family business, both sons became citizens and served national service. Ms Veshali Visvanaath, 37, director of marketing and Mr Kasivishvanaath's wife, says that the team slogged on at a time when they could not have needed their father's guidance more.
He describes them as "very humble people" who have helped him with modernisation, such as moving staff salaries to inter-bank Giro.
The brothers are so tight as a team, says Mr Singh, they become, as the Malay saying goes, "like finger and nail". As for whether a third generation will take over the business, that decision is the children's to make, they say. As far as the brothers have come from their father's restaurant, his presence looms large in their thoughts.
The younger man has his own responsibilities, but all the same, everything is on the table during their daily discussions, he says. The older brother says that in the last two years he has been handing the reins over to Mr Srinivasan A., giving him leeway in decision-making at a higher level.

That responsibility was thrust upon the older son after their father's death in 1995, just after Mr Srinivasan A.
A degree in economics from Madras University has armed Mr Srinivasan with a more theoretical bent and that comes in useful for planning. Kitchen centralisation was propelled partly by what he had learnt in school about the experiences of corporations such as Toyota, he says. A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2015, with the headline 'MAGIC MIX'. We have been experiencing some problems with subscriber log-ins and apologise for the inconvenience caused. LONDON, England (CNN) -- When a woman dates a much older man, bystanders often speculate that she has only the most superficial of motives. Sagnier who is often compared with screen sirens like Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve, drew international acclaim for a series of films in 2002 and 2003, but has recently has been taking smaller roles.
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The two sons of the restaurant's founder roll up their sleeves, digging into the bags of fennel, turmeric and chilli powder, weighing, measuring, blending.
In his typically understated, almost hesitant way, he tells Life that rivals have poached their chefs and even taken the restaurant's name for use in Jakarta and elsewhere. Some say the dish has been enjoyed in South India a long time, others say the Nonyas in this region came up with the recipe. That Muthu's Curry is still here, 46 years on, owes as much to family ties as it does to recipes.
The boy delivered goods by bicycle, washed cars at dawn and helped his father in the Selvi Stores kitchen.
The first Race Course Road dining spot was thus called Muthu's Makan Shop before it became Muthu's Curry in 1982. The director of operations oversees training and other procedural matters and was part of the revamp that made the flagship in 138 Race Course Road a more upscale, IT-driven eatery, with a central kitchen that supports two other outlets in Suntec City and Dempsey Road.
Mr Srinivasan has three sisters, all of whom are married and living with their families in India.

Both weathered the bad times, the biggest being their father's death from a heart attack in 1995 at age 50, shortly after handing the business to his newly married eldest son.
Regulars were either put off by the lack of parking or assumed the restaurant was closed; there were days when every seat was empty. She looked on as a new wife and outsider as the struggle to keep afloat took its emotional toll on the sons. Opened in 1999, it provided just enough income to keep things ticking until the MRT line opened in 2002. Mr Kasivishvanaath has three children, all in their teens, while Mr Srinivasan has two, aged six and seven. Ms Veshali says that Mr Kasivishvanaath's two older teens worked part-time in the restaurant last year, but that was to build character, rather than succession training. Mr Kasivishvanaath brings up Mr Ayyakkannu again when he lists what has been done to make Muthu's Curry a brand for the 21st century. He's always there for me, for moral support and psychologically," he says of his older brother. It stars French starlet Ludivine Sagnier as a young woman who rejects the amorous advances of a flashy, wealthy man her age, in favor of a sleazy affair with a fickle, 60 year-old father figure.
Many of the qualities that attracted Sagnier to Chabrol are similar to those that draw her on-screen alter-ego Gabrielle to writer Charles Saint-Denis (Francois Berleand) -- Charles' knowledge of life, literature and his ability to treat her like a little girl, not as an equal. My father's day started at 5am, buying provisions at Tekka Market, bringing them back on his tricycle and then starting to cook," he says. When it did, business came roaring back, so much so that it was time to expand again - this time to their current 300-seat flagship premises at 138 Race Course Road, featuring an expanded menu that includes North Indian food. Sagnier's desire to take on the role was also motivated by the allure of a much older man: Chabrol. It's based on his experience, that this might or that might happen if you do that," he says.
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Chabrol co-wrote the screenplay for the heartbreak drama, in which Sagnier character is consistently disappointed in love and let down by the men around her, with his step-daughter, Cecile Maistre, who also served as assistant director on the film.

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