When Did You First Have An Interest Cooking? From my Mum, whilst growing up she…
Chef Interviews – Dipna Anand
When Did You First Have An Interest Cooking?
Right from childhood I paid a keen interest in both eating and generally watching mum in the kitchen. I used to also help dad on the weekends at the restaurant from the age of around 8 and just watch my mum and dad serving customers and running the restaurant business, at times I would also try to do little things like set up tables and stack drink bottles.
I also really enjoyed doing Food Technology at school and then took on the subject for GCSE and A’Levels as I was also good at cooking. It was then I realised my true passion lies within cooking. I then continued the subject at University and soon after begun teaching Indian cuisine.
How Long Have You Been Cooking Professionally?
Ever since 2007 when I started teaching Indian cooking as a Chef Lecturer at The University of West London and then I opened my own cookery school in Southall at my restaurant (Brilliant in Southall).
Where Do You Get Your Inspiration From?
My dad is someone who I have always inspired to be like, I always wanted to be like dad, he has a very autocratic type of leadership style and is great at what he does. He is able to give instructions and get the work done yet always manages to involve himself in the practical work. This is the reason as to why our restaurant, The Brilliant in Southall is so successful, when it gets really busy, my dad is not afraid to get his hands dirty and I have learnt that from him as well.
Dad is also a chef and learn from his father and much of the restaurant and bulk cooking I know has come from him. My parents are my two pillars that stand either side of me. I am also inspired when I see young children cooking and young budding chefs learning new skills, this keeps me motivated and further wanting to climb the success ladder.
If You Was Not A Chef, What Would You Want To Do?
In School I won many awards for sports, including sports personality of the year. Therefore if I were not a chef I probably would have been a professional female cricketer or footballer. In fact I currently play for Twickenham Ladies cricket team.
Proper authentic Indian (Punjabi) cooking that comes from the heart (as Gordon Ramsay quoted on his channel 4 cookalong programme when he visited us at Brilliant to learn how to cook using our clay oven).
The kind of food served at my place is just like what I would eat at home, somewhat the concept of mums cooking.
We pay emphasis to the high quality ingredients we use and use specific cooking techniques and methods to ensure the food is nothing leas than BRILLIANT.
I also specialise in producing Indian food which is tasty and good for you at the same time, therefore you won’t ever find excessive oils floating on top of our curries.
Most of our recipes date back to the 1950’s and are my grandfathers creations. He passed them on to my father who has now passed down to me. The cooking style has a legacy, a legacy which has been going strong for note than fifty years.
What Course Do You Prefer To Cook?
I prefer starters because I always find them more exciting, both to eat and prepare. When preparing starters I feel there is more to experiment with and try and find it more interesting in general. I also absolutely love desserts so preparing the dessert course is also very satisfying especially because I am the first to try!
What Is Your Favourite Dish/Signature Dish to Make?
I love to cook the dish which I won my national award for back at college. The award was for best food technology project in the country and was give to me by the British Nutrition Foundation. The dish was soya stuffed Portobello mushrooms and I always enjoy cooking these. As they are vegetarian, mum is able to eat them also and the dish is one of her favourites.
What Ingredient Do You Love To Cook With The Most?
I love cooking with new ingredients that I have not tried before because to me its like a mystery and exploring it really inspires me just incase I come up with a new recipe from it.
Presently I love cooking with vegetables especially green beans, baby corn and shiitake mushrooms and giving them
My own Indian twist by spicing them up with selected Indian spices.
A dish that my mum cooks, for me its the worlds best meal. Masala lamb chops with prantah bread, it really doesn’t get better
Which Other Chefs Inspire You?
My mum, although she is no professional chef, she is a super cook and much of what I have learnt has stemmed from her, it inspired me to see het cooking with so much passion.
Any chefs cooking in the media, chefs working in the catering industry and of course the young chefs I teach all inspire me. They inspire me and motivate me to do more and further climb the success ladder.
No chefs work should be underestimated, I respect and salute all chefs in this industry as I know how tough and competitive it can be.
Any Advice You Would Give To People Wanting To Become A Chef?
You must have a passion for cooking and must not treat it like a chore. If you cook from your heart like I do you too will believe that cooking is the most satisfying skill to boast about. To be successful in the hospitality and catering industry you must be a peoples person, you need to gave confidence and need to fully understand the game. Understand what goes on front of house and also how to rub a smooth kitchen operation.
If you want to become a chef, aim high, work hard and more importantly effort wise give it your 100% and you will seen-your life change. Cooking is a life skill which we all need. It makes me happy to see youngsters looking to pursue careers in the chef profession.
Any Thing You Would Like To Share, IE New Book? Development At Restaurant etc?
I am currently running my own cookery school for which we now have gift vouchers for so if anyone wants to learn how to cook real Punjabi food, do come along to one of my courses.
Check them out at – www.brilliantrestaurant.com
Check out Dipna’s book – Beyond Brilliant by clicking here
Where To Find Dipna Anand?