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Ambassadors & Champions

Ambassadors

ASMA KHAN

When Asma moved to the UK in 1991, she did not even know how to boil an egg. In 1993, Asma traveled back to her ancestral kitchens and, over time, learned recipes that had been in her family for four generations. After finishing her doctorate in British constitutional law in 2012, Asma decided to follow her heart and open a food business – the Darjeeling Express supper club.

Asma’s ancestry stems from the royal Mughlai and Nawabi school of cuisine. In addition to her Mughlai roots from her father’s side, Asma cooks the food of Calcutta, the city where she was born and raised. The result is a lovely mélange of street food like papri chaat and royal recipes like lamb dum biryani that take you on a journey from Calcutta in the east of India to Hyderabad in the south.

CYRUS TODIWALA

Cyrus Todiwala OBE is one of Britain’s most successful and widely admired Indian chefs known for his refined, elegantly spiced and sophisticated cooking. His chain of unique and authentic gourmet restaurants including Cafe Spice Namaste, the landmark Pan-Indian restaurant, and the new restaurant Assado which he runs with his wife Pervin.

Through his regular media appearances, cookbooks, and Mr Todiwala products he has a passion for everyone to buy British, find comfort and joy in the kitchen, and learn all they can, and more, about great Indian food. Visit our Dine Out page and find out how you can visit Cafe Spice.

VIVEK SINGH

Vivek is the founding chef of The Cinnamon Club since its launch in 2001 and defined the ground breaking food philosophy for which The Cinnamon Club is so well known. Vivek has always believed that as with other creative forms, Indian cuisine should also evolve over time.

Following the success of his modern Indian cuisine, Vivek and his team launched Cinnamon Kitchen and Anise in the City in 2008, and Cinnamon Soho in 2012. Vivek visited our projects in Chhattisgarh, India, a few years ago and has hosted a number of fundraising events at his restaurants to support the families we work with.

The Cinnamon Group are taking part in Curry for Change this June, find out more on our Dine Out page.

ANJUM ANAND

Anjum Anand grew up in London but has also lived and studied in Geneva, Paris and Madrid. After gaining a European Business degree she decided to develop her interest in Indian cookery and, in particular, making her native food fresher, lighter and simpler to cook.

She has worked across the world in innovative restaurants and appeared in prime-time television series such as Indian food Made Easy. Anjum has written and published numerous books and is currently working on her 5th book, called “I love curries” and is a collection of our favourite curries from the home and from restaurants. In 2011 Anjum and her husband also launched a new range of authentic and traditional Indian sauces called The Spice Tailor.

HARI GHOTRA

Hari Ghotra is an Indian cook and teacher, as well as marketing professional, entrepreneur and mother of two. She is also the founder of harighotra.com, the hugely popular website dedicated to getting you to try cooking and sharing authentic Indian food at home. Hari was born in Wolverhampton to parents who brought their love of Indian food to the UK. So as Hari grew up experiencing both cultures, she began sharing everything her mother had taught to her English friends.

As the success of her Indian cookery courses grew, Hari transferred her skill, imagination and love of sharing to the online world. She has now created a place where everyone – whatever their ability – could try cooking delicious Indian food. From videos to blogs to curry kits, Hari will teach you everything you need to know!

MEERA SODHA

Born in Lincolnshire to Ugandan Asian parents, Meera was surrounded by a wonderful assortment of all things delicious from a very early age. Cooking is a huge part of her heritage and her love for ancestors’ food and desire to keep their food traditions alive led me her journey back to her mother’s kitchen to capture the recipes from her childhood.

In 2014 Meera’s first book was published, Made in India, and she keeps her blog full of family recipes or products of her experimentation using traditional Indian techniques and new seasonal ingredients. Either way, each recipe should take roughly the same amount of time to make as it would take you to order an Indian takeaway.

MALLIKA BASU

Mallika Basu is a popular Indian food writer and the author of Miss Masala: Real Indian Cooking for Busy Living (Harper Collins). She writes a weekly column for the London Evening Standard and also presents Indian food related videos for London Live. She has featured both on Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Nation, and on Jamie Oliver’s online cookery channel FoodTube.

Mallika was despatched to England for university by her high-profile political family in India, with the recipe for one chicken curry and one dal. She didn’t even know how to boil an egg. Since then, she has tried to replicate the gorgeous and wholesome food she grew up on in her very own, and thoroughly contemporary, Indian kitchen.

THE URBAN RAJAH

The Urban Rajah (aka Ivor Peters) is a food writer, cook, presenter traveller and lifestyle adventurer with roots deep in the Indian Subcontinent. He writes for newspapers and magazines including The Guardian, Hello, Delicious, Olive and his cookbook, Urban Rajah’s Curry Memoirs tells the story of his love affair with curry through over 80 familial recipes. Humorous, engaging, vivid, brave, delicate and abundant it’s through their stories he provides access to family recipes which have been passed down through 3 generations and crossed 3 continents.

As a guest chef he’s appeared on Channel 4 and BBC London and is a regular on the food festival scene demonstrating accessible Indian spiced recipes. He recently dished up 1,000 covers at his two day pop-up restaurant Urban Rajah’s Indian Streetkitchen and managed to keep his trademark handlebar moustache from wilting under the pressure! He’s toured the UK with his supper clubs, presented content for Kingfisher Beer and just launched a gastronomic promotional campaign for Bespoke Hotels India.

A second generation immigrant and a son of 70s Britain he grew up on hot summers, street cricket and spiced Indian food which has narrated his life.

NISHA PARMAR

Nisha Parmar appeared on BBC1’s MasterChef 2018 and finished as a Semi-Finalist. She wowed the judges and Michelin Star chefs with her flavour combinations.

Nisha learnt to cook from her mother who told her “no one will marry you if you cant roll round chapattis!” Since learning the basics, she’s self-taught and travels the world for her inspiration. Nisha loves experimenting with fusion foods. As well as her mother being from India, her father is from Mombasa, Kenya, so she takes these influences and blends them seamlessly with her British born roots.

VAISHALI SHAH

Vaishali Shah is an entrepreneur, award winning designer and philanthropist. In 2000 Vaishali founded Creative ID, who designed the logo and developed the branding for Curry for Change, in addition to supporting all aspects of the campaign. Vaishali was a Trustee for Find Your Feet, and remains strongly linked with Find Your Feet and Health Poverty Action, and is now a key Ambassador for Curry for Change.

Vaishali’s Indian heritage and travel experiences influence her design creativity. A natural at making people feel at ease, Vaishali also heads up Female Focus, an exclusive global networking group for successful, influential businesswomen. In 2017, Vaishali was a Finalist in the London Asian Business Awards for ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’.

Champions

ANITA KERAI

Anita has a passion for cooking beautiful vegetarian and vegan food, developed since her childhood in Kenya and from her family roots in India. In the UK, Anita presents on Simply Good Food TV and is a Food Revolution Ambassador. She works with schools to promote healthy eating, runs demos at food shows and holds cooking classes. Her highly anticipated book, ‘Flavours of Kenya’ will be out in late 2018, and she is currently working on an exciting new series for television called ‘Return to Kenya’, which will be out in September 2018

ANJALI PATHAK

Anjali is an Indian food connoisseur and is part of the Patak’s Indian food dynasty that has brought Indian cuisine into homes all over the world.

She is a chef and a food writer who loves experimenting with traditional Indian and contemporary International cuisine. Visit her website for foodie thoughts, recipes, inspiration and a chance to discover how she uses her spice box.

BHAVI’S MEHNDI

Bhavi has always loved mehndi and started when she was just 8 years old. What was once a hobby, became increasingly popular with family and friends during times of celebration. At just 23 years old, Bhavi is now regularly booked for events and has a growing fan base. Her unique gifts include beautiful candles, cakes, wedding favours, charger plates and a range of personally decorated home décor.

BINNY’S KITCHEN

Binny – a Kenyan living in London blogs about food, lifestyle and travel. She recently won The Post Office Travel and Food Blogger of the year 2018l. She was also awarded Highly Commended in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards, 2015 and was a finalist in the UK Blog Awards 2016. In 2015 she used her culinary skills and innovative imagination to find new and unusual ways of raising money for Curry for Change.

CHINTAL KAKAYA

Chintal Kakaya of Chin’s Kitchen runs an Indian bakery business, specialising in making handmade nankhatai (spiced Indian shortbread) using a blend of spices to create modern and classic flavours. Chintal is from Mombasa, Kenya and moved to the UK at a very young age. As a child age was surrounded by a close knit community who shared the same passion for food. Following in her mother’s footsteps she started creating a range of cakes, bakes and desserts.

Chintal hosted her first supper club in aid of Curry for Change in 2015 raising vital funds to change lives. In November 2015 she baked an amazing array of Indian inspired desserts for guests at the campaign’s biggest fundraising event of the year ‘An Evening of Flavour’.

MIRA MANEK

The jet-setting, yoga-practising, health-retreat-hosting author of cookbook Saffron Soul, Mira Manek is determined to give Indian food a total facelift, accenting the traditional recipes passed down from her mother and grandmother with a wholesome yet contemporary twist. Through dishes such as beetroot coconut curry, masala-grilled aubergine and saffron-lime cheesecake, Mira is all about making Indian spices and seasonings more accessible to all. In London, you’ll spot her delicious creations at the likes of Raw Press, Detox Kitchen and Holborn Dining Rooms.

Mira has also launched her Soulful Retreats in 2018.

NIDHI VERMA

Nidhi Verma is a cookery teacher and food writer who teaches inspiring Indian cookery classes. Nidhi is a passionate home cook and believes that everyday food should be fresh, healthy and simple to make. Born and brought up in India, Nidhi now lives in South West London with her husband and two children.

Nidhi’s food is reflective of her upbringing in different parts of India and influenced by favourite family dishes and the rich cultural heritage of India and its culinary traditions.

With her easy-to-prepare recipes, she aims to demystify Indian cuisine and share her belief that authentic Indian home cooking can provide healthy and nutritious family food.

THE PAINTED PEACOCK

The Painted Peacock was created to enable a dream to become reality; it is all about combining positive vibes with guilty pleasures.

Based in London, Yugna and Deepa are collaborating on this venture to combine their quirks and culture from India, East Africa and England. They share a deep connection which inspires their love of playing with colour and food, creating handcrafted chocolates and desserts to ignite the taste buds; with a touch of the unexpected.