Every story has to begin somewhere and so it is that mine began on the streets of
story, though begins in one place, has evolved through time and geography so I can
no longer be identified by just my beginnings but rather by every place that has
touched me, moved me and changed me through the years.
me, those places have included beautiful
it all, food punctuates my life! I
am forever on a quest to find the best eats wherever I am - a fine
dining restaurant, a hole-in-the-wall place or roadside eateries - always returning to my own home kitchen.
I took my first steps in the kitchen at age 9. The first dish I ever prepared was a vegetable pilaf with very
caramelized onions (a gentler term for burnt).
For years to come, my parents stoically bore the onslaught of all my trials and tribulations with food. Thanks to their very honest criticism and encouragement to experiment with diverse cuisines, my palette matured & I developed an understanding of authentic cuisines from around the world.
Matt Kramer in the March 2009 publication of Wine Spectator, sums it up best - "This is why the business of 'authentic' is so important. It sets a benchmark; it establishes a common cultural vocabulary of 'good'. And it defines local culture. Mind you, 'authentic' is not fossilization. Instead, it is a bedrock commitment to deliver the 'true' goodness that created the reputation of the product to begin with".
Though I have never formally attended culinary school ( I received my degrees in Architecture & Urban Design), it's what I strive for everyday. In the art of cooking, I am self-taught and home schooled.
Somewhere back in 1994, I was inspired to write a book on the
dying art of authentic Jain and Gujarati cooking – Gujarat Nu Jaman , food from Gujarat, India where the majority of the population has
been vegetarian for over 3000 years.
When Gujarat Nu Jaman was first published in India in 1996 & republished in 2002 (in hardcover), I naturally dedicated it to the one person who
was the source of inspiration and most of the recipes - my grandmother. I am very glad I did this because in the Gujarat earthquake of 2001 so much was lost - knowledge & life.
I learn more - from culinary masters like Batali, Kalra & Grausman, to
the often silent and unknown masters who grace street corners, remote
villages & everyday home kitchens. Of this I am certain, knowledge, talent and expertise
can be found from grandiose to the humblest of surroundings.
So here I am many decades later - with an architectural education, love, marriage, career & kids, that I recognize the need to write about the one thing that has been with me through it all - a great passion for great food and an eternal search for tribe.
Please join me as I write, muse and cook with abandon.Needless to say, I welcome your thoughts and comments.
With much love,