Anjali Pathak is a Chef and Food writer. Most importantly, she is a passionate teacher of the culinary arts. She grew up fully immersed in food as the next generation of a family – Patak’s – that took Indian cuisine to homes around the world. And now, her personal mission is the reverse: to help infuse and introduce International flavors to India.
What inspired you to become a Chef?
I’ve always loved being in the kitchen and I discovered the joys of cooking when I was a little girl. My mother and grandmother were always in the kitchen, experimenting with new recipes for our family brand ‘Patak’s’. I found my mother’s spice box fascinating with all the colors, shapes and scents and I was lucky that my mother was a fabulous teacher. She spent time sharing her secrets with me, allowing me the freedom to be creative. By the time I left for university I’d become an experimental cook and had been cooking since I was 3 years old. It was only a matter of time before I joined our family business. Patak’s started in the 50’s when my grandparents moved to London from Africa. My grandfather was offered menial jobs as an immigrant and so my grandmother did what she loved most, feeding her family and anyone that loved to eat. She would invite neighbours to her home and cook delicious Indian food that was mostly unknown for Londoners. My father was 5 when they moved to London and he would often cook with my grandmother helping to make dinner to put on the table for the family. Some regular guest diners started to pay my grandmother for feeding them home cooked meals it wasn’t long before they saved enough money to open a small shop. They chose a fortuitous location near busy Euston Train Station that soon became the go-to shop for Indians visiting London. My grandfather had opened Britain’s first Indian grocery store and stocked all the essentials you needed for an Indian kitchen. As business grew, so did the Patak’s shops, and word spread that we were selling authentic Indian spices and f a b u l o u s food.
Eat to live or live to eat? I loved the fact that you said Eat and Live are really close so please tell us about that?
I live to eat! From the moment I wake up in the morning, to the moment I lay my head on the pillow for bedtime, I dream about food.
Tell me about your different foodie experiences with different people? Are all your guests’ good learners?
No day is ever lived twice in my life. I teach cookery classes twice a day and each student has a different story to share.
Is there any iconic chef who you admire the most? What are his or her qualities that you try to imbibe in your cooking style?
The chef I admire the most is Jamie Oliver. I love his approach to food and he has shaped our industry on a global scale.
Do you think Healthy & Yummy actually go hand in hand? What do you think will be trending in future…?
Absolutely. Healthy dishes can be truly delicious.
Which is your favorite cuisine? / Which is your favorite dish to cook?
I don’t have a favourite cuisine, I love them all! B u t I d o l o v e flavourful food. I grew up having amazing home cooked food, and Indian was usually the cuisine of choice in our family kitchen.
How many different types of cuisines do you include in your classes?
I currently have 10 different cuisines across 25 different classes to choose from at Flavour Diaries.
What is your favorite wine?
I have a soft spot for Argentinian Malbec and always lean towards it when it appears on a menu.
Tell us about pairing wine and food?
I feel food and wine can be a harmonious marriage. Drinking the right wine with your meal can make a good meal into a great one!
Tell us about best wines of India? Which ones go well with the Indian dishes?
India has started to join the global wine world producing some fabulous wines perfect not only for Indian dishes but for International dishes as well.
Which cuisine works best with kids? I am sure all the mothers out there wonder?
I feel Italian food works well with children as the flavours aren’t too complicated. It’s also not too difficult to cook so great for busy mothers.
In the cooking interactive sessions with kids I am sure bakery is a big success with them. If true then why?
Baking is our most popular children’s class.
Have you had an interactive cooking session where parents can cook with their kids learning something new from you and cherish family bonding?
I often teach family classes when parents can cook together with their children. It’s beautiful to see them making memories on my cookery stations.