Ravinder Bhogal: London’s favourite cook…in boots!

2 Jun

Ravinder Bhogal might look like a character straight out of ‘Bend it Like Beckham’…

Punjabi descent, London upbringing and a ‘Pride and Prejudice’ mother who handed her a ladle at the age of 5. And perhaps thats what makes her stand out (and stand tall with those heels she wears everywhere!) in the ever-evolving London food scene.

 Back in 2007, at the age of 28, she was crowned ‘the new Fanny Cradock’ on a British Channel’s show- ‘The F Word’, following the world renowned gourmet chef Gordon Ramsay’s quest to find a great new female cook. At the time she was working as a beauty journalist with Look magazine, but was well known amongst her team as an ardent foodie, often bringing in home-made treats for her office mates. Check out the mention of her pop-up restaurant here in Vogue. Of course, shes coming to India soon with a cool new fad of Britain, pop up restaurant. I got chatting with out of her home in Greenwich, London. Here’s what I got…-

Ravinder Bhogal Blog

1.What do you think made you win the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for the UK’s Best First Cookbook for you book- Cook in Boots? 

I think it was all the energy and love I put into producing my book – I not only put my energy into the recipes, but the visuals and styling too. Its a unique book that has some serious recipes with a fun, fashion edge. Inevitable, its a very feminine book – because I’m a girl! I suppose the tone is very much about women and our ever-changing moods. It’s got over 165 recipes with 12 chapters and it’s everything from what to eat when you’re seducing someone to when you’ve blown all your money on your Manolo Blahniks. So it’s almost a toolbox for surviving through all those moods – but it’s an excuse to be greedy, really. I was delighted to win the award and but no, I never expected to win it.

Book by Ravinder Bhogal


 

2.What was Gordon Ramsay like while you were on his show -‘The F word’.

Completely charming and dynamic. I entered the competition, “Find Me a Fanny” because my friend had a premonition I would win – strange but true. She made me promise ill sign up for it and never realised when I entered the final rounds and actually took the title home. It opened a whole lot of avenues for me. Offers for authoring cook books started pouring in.

3. How young were you when you got into the food industry?

I was in my twenties but I have been cooking since I was 5. I was forced into the kitchen when I was five. My mum – an orthodox, old-fashioned lady, who made sure I learned to cook and sew. But it was only a year later that I really began to appreciate food. 

4.Have you given up working in fashion and beauty journalism?

Not altogether.I still freelance stories. And love fashion more than ever before.

5.Punjabi descent, brought up in Kenya and now living in London. Do all of those things influence your cooking?

My family is originally from India and before moving to the UK, I spent a part of my childhood in Nairobi, where my father worked as an aeronautical engineer. 

The family kitchen was always a hub of activity, with all the women cooking together and her father bringing exotic ingredients home from the markets, both in Africa and here in London. “It was very Pride and Prejudice in my house,” she jokes. So yes, it the moving absolutely opened up a world of flavours. London is so multicultural – we eat Thai food one day, Indian another and Japanese another.  I love how great the British are at adopting world cuisine. 

 

6. Pop up restaurants are still a new concept in India. Could you explain us the concept and how did you go about the one you hosted for The Dispensary pub in London?

Doing pop ups is a little like being a guest DJ – you get to have residency in someone else’s kitchen without all the responsibility of owning a restaurant. I was approached by The Dispensary after the success of my pop up at Hix Selfridges.

The Dispensary Pop Up by Bhogal


7. What future do you predict for Indian cuisine in UK?

A very bright one.

8. What can you not stop bingeing on?

Anything my mother cooks for me

9. What are your favourite-

 Cooking tools-

I love my microplane, pestle and mortar and my Cuisineart blender – it is so handy.

Vegetables- I love all vegetables but adore aubergines and all types of greens from pakchoi to spinach.

Inspiration sources – travel

Cuisines- Italian, Indian and Japanese food

Methods of cooking- who can resist a bit of deep fried food. Deep frying is like the icing sugar of cookery – it makes everything taste good.

 

10. What other projects do you have coming up?</p>

I am coming to India to work on some pop ups – very exciting and I also have another book on the way.

11.Could you suggest a quick vegetarian whip for our blog?

 Slice a griddle some thin rounds of aubergine. Mix yoghurt with chaat masala. Pour over aubergines and garnish with mint and pomegranate seeds.

 

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