My love for cooking and being in the kitchen started at an early age. Partly because as a child my brother, sister and I weren’t allowed junk food or sweets (rightly so) except on occasion. So, I got around this by saying I wanted to cook (thereby doing something creative that my parents approved of), and then I would try to bake something, which would satisfy my young sweet tooth.
My first creations were awful! I remember a friend coming over and we made a chocolate cake, which looked more like the terrain on Mars with its valleys and mountains, dips and crevasses and tasted more like what I think an old hard sponge would taste like.
I kept on trying. My craving for sugary baked treats wasn’t going to let my amateur cooking skills get in the way. With the help of a wonderful cooking book from my godmother, with lots of inspiring pictures, I did progress. I found that making chocolate cornflakes was a lot easier (and harder to get wrong), and it produced a tasty, chocolatey, gooey snack that hit the sweet spot!
Even then I remember finding a therapeutic almost methodical peace in the process of cooking. So I kept going with my baking experiments and by the time I reached my teens I was making meringues, cakes, cheesecakes and a number of other delicious desserts.
In my teens I started to spend a lot more time at my best friend’s house and this is where I started to learn how to cook savoury dishes, and fell in love with all kinds of ingredients and flavours. My friend’s mum cooked every meal from scratch, and being from India this included lots of vegetables, spices, breads, fresh herbs, and more. Their store cupboard was full of the most amazing treasures you could imagine – pickles, odd looking spices with strange smells, snacks I had never seen before, grains piled up high and jars and tins with things in I couldn’t identify. It was amazing.
I’d watch my friend’s mum sauté garlic, onions, ginger, chillies and add different spices then the vegetables, each time producing something different but delicious. I was truly in food heaven. From this I learned the basics of the dishes and then started to experiment on my own, also picking up tips from cooking shows and books, which I was obsessed with.
I was adopted from birth into an international family so grew up with Indian, Canadian, Italian, Kenyan and British cooking influences. I have also studied macrobiotic cooking, paleo, vegan and vegetarian diets; worked on events with seasonal and locally sourced menus; helped with a successful fusion supperclub; prepared lunches for my ex-colleagues when I worked full time and literally spend a good part of every day thinking about food and new flavour combinations and recipes I can try.
It makes me so happy being able to come up with healthy, delicious food that meets different needs and I would love to help you.