Interview with Anjula Devi

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Earlier this week, I published a post on British Tomato Week – and if you have checked it out, you might remember that Anjula Devi kindly gave us the recipe of her ‘SPICY WARM ROASTED TOMATO AND CUMIN SALAD from her book ‘Spice for Life‘. I manged to get up-close with Anjula in an interview over the weekend so keep on reading to find out more about her and her book!

Describe yourself in five words?

Beware for I am fearless.

What inspires you? 

My sister, who is autistic. Whenever I feel something is really tough to work through, whether it’s a recipe I haven’t yet perfected or a business situation, my sister will say “Don’t worry Anjula you’ll get there, let’s have some tea and cake”.

I’m good at…

…noticing exactly what’s missing from a dish, blending & balancing spices and creating delicate flavours.

I’m bad at…

…portion control!

Who’s your favourite Style Icon? 

Audrey Hepburn

Most inspirational person you have met? 

For different reasons, I have to mention both my father and my husband.

What’s your favourite location?

Hampton Court Palace – and from there I am literally a few yards from the Thames and Bushy Park.

What is your background? 

Sales in my earlier career, but my passion has always been cooking.

What are the highlights of your career thus far?

My collaboration with Lakeland to launch a range of Indian cookery products and a ‘How To’ book on Indian food. I am also really proud of my cookery book ‘Spice for Life’, which launched recently. I promised my father, before he passed away, that I would share his recipes as widely as I could.

What are your goals for the next 5 years? 

Following my passion for Indian food, in a way that ensures I spend my time doing what I love.

How did you get started with ‘Anjula Devi – Authentic Indian Cooking’ and ‘Route 207’?

I had a vision that I believed in from the age of 12. I felt that I had a USP in the Indian food market, so I started to make that vision a reality.

How did you develop the concept for your brand ‘Route 207’?

It was the bus that I often took with my father to buy fresh produce, vegetables and spices. The bus goes from Southall to Shepherd’s Bush Market. Route 207 was a golden memory from my early childhood.

Tell us about your book, ‘Spice for Life’?

Interview with Anjula Devi

The book has 101 unique recipes which you won’t find in any other cookery book. The recipes have been structured to give the reader a real understanding and knowledge of Indian cuisine

What is your best tip for those who want to learn to cook Indian food?

Make the time to really learn about Indian cuisine. Like anything in life, knowledge is power. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and experimenting is the best way to learn. Train your palate to become the best utensil in your kitchen.

What’s your favourite recipe/flavour combination? 

My favourite recipe is very simple and was created by accident initially – Bombay potatoes with rhubarb.

What has been the most exciting collaboration you’ve worked on so far? 

The Lakeland initiative. I loved working with the Lakeland team.

What are you working on at the moment? 

My latest initiative is launching an exciting food event. I can’t say too much just yet!

What do you have to say to the next generation, particularly for those hoping to follow in your footsteps?

If you truly feel you have a unique proposition, stick with it. Follow your instincts.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given? 

To make and take that extra call.

What is your most treasured possession? 

My pestle and mortar. It was a present for my tenth birthday and I still use it every day.

What is your must-have item for next season? 

A Dosa Tava

In a nutshell, your philosophy is…

…don’t follow the crowd – unless the fire alarm goes off!