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Global Indians

Introducing Anjum Anand

By Petrina D’Souza, 21 Sep, 2018

    Anand was one of the first writers to create and write Indian recipes catering for the health-conscious cook; her first book, Indian Every Day: Light, Healthy Indian Food, was published in 2003. 

     
     
    It goes without saying that for British chef Anjum Anand, food has played an integral role in her life. “I have always had very positive memories around food; friends congregating at mine as there was always fresh food or tasty leftovers in the fridge, bonding with my father over the most adventurous dishes on a menu, cooking with my mother-in-law and learning their family food helped form our new relationship, and now cooking with my children and teaching them the basics,” says Anand, who has worked across the world in innovative restaurants such as Café Spice in New York, the Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles, and the Park Royal Hotel’s Indian restaurant in New Delhi. 
     
    As a talented chef, Anand’s interest in cooking mainly revolves around preparing Indian food that is fresher, lighter and simple enough to cook at home. She believes that cooking at home has become much simpler thanks to the gadgets that help with the preparation. “I try to keep recipes simple without losing any flavour elements. I often challenge a recipe that seems unnecessarily lengthy and simplify the stages and see if I still get the layers of flavour. Lastly, I try to make following my recipes really simple and straight forward.” Her recipes are inspired from conversations, restaurant dishes that encourage her to try an Indian version, and mostly from her trips to India.
     
     
    Anand was one of the first writers to create and write Indian recipes catering for the health-conscious cook; her first book, Indian Every Day: Light, Healthy Indian Food, was published in 2003. Since then she has several best-selling books on Indian food; Indian Food Made Easy, which topped the Amazon best sellers list; Anjum’s New Indian; Anjum’s Eat Right for Your Body Type, which won an award in Germany; I Love Curry; Anjum’s Vegetarian Feast; Anjum’s Quick & Easy Indian; and I Love India which released in 2017. “The themes to my books tend to reflect where I am in my life, my first book was about healthy Indian cooking as I was trying to lose weight those years, my second and third were TV tie-ins to introduce people to Indian food and the regions,” shares the chef cum author who has also written an Ayurvedic book “as it is the fascinating ancient science of how to be healthy.” Her latest cookbook, I Love India, is based on her travels and experiences to India and is an ode to Indian food.  
     

    “I have always had very positive memories around food; friends congregating at mine as there was always fresh food or tasty leftovers in the fridge, bonding with my father over the most adventurous dishes on a menu, cooking with my mother-in-law and learning their family food helped form our new relationship, and now cooking with my children and teaching them the basics.” 

    The celebrity chef is a regular guest on TV and radio shows, appearing on BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans Show, The Steve Wright Show, Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, Radio London and Daily Brunch, as well as regularly appearing in print media including The Daily Telegraph, The Metro, The Sunday Times magazine, The Independent, BBC Good Food, Delicious, Red, Waitrose Kitchen, Waitrose Weekend and Sainsbury’s magazine. In 2007, she created Indian Food Made Easy, a BBC 2 six-part series, with a second series commissioned in 2008, which was watched by over three million viewers. Anand also presented Anjum’s Spice Stories, a 12 part series, filmed in Australia and aired on SBS Food in 2016.
     
    In July 2011, Anjum launched, The Spice Tailor, a range of authentic, quality, at-home Indian cooking products. “I launched the Spice Tailor for the same reasons I started writing cookbooks, to make real Indian food accessible to those who wanted it. I wanted it to taste like it does at home and be equally clean; we have no preservatives and make our food in the same way I would cook at home so that we can have all the layers of flavours one would expect from Indian food,” says the entrepreneur. The products comprise of cooking sauces, tandoori pastes, Indian wrap kits (kathi rolls), naans, chutneys and more and are also available in some countries outside UK, including Canada.
     
    Her advice to young chefs is to “learn hard, work hard and find your culinary voice. It is a great journey so enjoy!”
     
     

    Q & A with Anjum Anand

     

    How do you see the growth of the culinary industry worldwide?  

    It is fascinating to watch the industry develop, techniques are getting more cutting edge, more precise but also less intuitive. Flavours are fusing and people are eating out more than ever. People are more interested in food experiences, at home and abroad, and it seems the newer generations are looking for healthy and clean eating as the main drivers for what they eat, so there is a real change going on and a really interesting time in the food world.
     

    Indians around the world have made significant contributions to their immigrated countries, what do you think of this accomplishment?  

    I have always been really proud to be Indian. I love the culture and values and I feel the immigrated Indians really showcase these values best; they are hard-working, make the most of opportunities, are family-orientated and are go-getters. I hope they/we continue in this vein to contribute positively wherever we settle.
     
    Images: Courtesy of Anjum Anand, Jonathan Gregson

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