Around this time last year I had my last few days of photography for my cookbook and I started wondering about my next big project. I had a crazy few months getting my recipes written and tested that I hadn’t had a chance to think too far into the future. As I pondered my options I started to think about what I love most about my job…and soon enough I’d figured how I could make my dream come true.
I love to cook, teach, travel and write about food. Having lived in the UK all my life, I’ve always wondered what it would be like working and living abroad. I’ve explored the food scene in many places and I’ve always been fascinated with India. This sounds obvious as I’m Indian and write about Indian flavours, but I’ve been watching the food start up scene in India for a while and it’s gone crazy!
The entrepreneurial bug has gone viral and it seems everyone knows someone who has their finger in a start up pie. The food scene has changed dramatically over the last few years and the interest in food, even for the non foodies, has grown massively. Internet based food businesses, such as Zomato and The Daily Pao, have become to go to guides to new restaurants and whats happening in Mumbai. Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore are the new foodie hubs and there’s a new restaurant, cafe or bar opening every other day. Trekurious and Hopping Chef offer food experiences by certified chefs and food tourism is on the rise with companies like Wandering Foodie.
It couldn’t be a more exciting time to be part of the food scene and what better way than to join the start up space and do something of my own. There are so many ways to get involved and so I decided that now was as good a time as any to take that leap of faith. So for the last few months I have been based in the bustling city of Mumbai, and what an adventure it’s been. Living in India sure does have its challenges and setting up a life here isn’t easy, but I’m happy to say after much frustration and perseverance, I’m feeling settled and raring to go.
I’ve already ticked off half my must-eat list and I’ve been busy experimenting with ingredients and exotic native flavours for new recipes which have taken me longer to perfect than expected. The heat and monsoon rains play havoc with baking and the lack of bread flour doesn’t help. Fresh yeast is a steal of a price at around 80p/kg – yeah that’s right…only 80p! And the local shop can deliver pretty much anything I want straight to my door without a minimum order quantity or me needing to book a time slot. There are many plus points living in a city that never seems to sleep and has a vibrant population trying to keep up with the developed world. The opportunities here are endless and if you are willing to put in the effort and be patient, I truly believe you won’t be disappointed.
As I mentioned, I’m here to start my own business, a food business, and food start ups are everywhere. This gives me much inspiration and its wonderful to see the food talent available here. I don’t want to share too much too early (and jinx it!), but I’m going to combine what I love about food into one place right here in the heart of Mumbai. I can’t wait to tell you more….so do keep checking back and I’ll be posting updates through twitter, instagram and Facebook.