Growing up in the 90s there were only 2 types of cuisines in India that we could go to restaurants to eat - Indian and Chinese. The exposure to different cuisines and availability of different types of ingredients in India were limited. The most international dish we had was pasta which was also "Indianized" with spices. Gourmet as a concept was alien to us.
The food scene in India can be classified into pre Masterchef Australia era and post Masterschef Australia era. Before Masterchef Australia we had cooking shows on TV that only showed us how to cook Indian and Chinese dishes. Though primarily dominated by male chefs like Sanjeev Kapoor, Vikas Khanna, Vicky Ratnani, etc. few of the women Chef during that time broke this monotony of daily meals and exposed us to the concept of enjoying a beautiful supper with our families with truly unique and global dishes.
4 Women Chef that insipired us to break the boredom of daily Indian meals and taught us some truly delicious global dishes growing up are:
Tarla Dalal was one of the first women Food show host in India. She was an Indian food writer, chef, cookbook author and host of numerous cooking shows. She revolutionsized Indian home cooking by introducing us to global cuisines which were unheard of. She created vegetarian versions of a lot of non-vegetarian recipes from foreign lands. She was a pioneer in the cooking industry in India and is the most sold cookbook author in India.
Her frequent travels to Italy for her family business made her fall in love with the cuisine. This inspired her to open a restaurant in the 90s that was serving Mediterranean food with an Italian food. She was way ahead of the times and a pioneer in introducing India to authentic Italian cuisine. However India was not ready to experiment at that time so she decided to move to London to open an Indian restaurant. Her yearning to return home, made her revisit the idea of a restaurant in India and she returned in 2000 and opened Diva in New Delhi. There has been no looking back since. Diva, one of Delhi’s finest Italian restaurants completed 11 successful years, and is one of the most recommended Italian restaurants in the country. She has written numerous cook books featuring her favourite recipes from European, Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines and even hosted a TV show "Italian Khana" which exposed the masses to authentic Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.
Nita Mehta is a chef, author and restauranteur. Her cookbooks were a staple in every Indian house growing up. She has authored more than 2000 cookbooks and even has a cooking academy where she teaches dishes from several international cuisines. Her passion for cooking drove her to open a restaurant and launch a range of Indian spices. Her book "Flavors of Indian Cooking" even won Best Asian Cookbook award at the World Cookbook Fair in Paris in 1999.
Nigella Lawson's show Cook Eat Repeat was one of the first International cooking TV show in India when we were growing up. She introduced us to an array of exciting new international recipes that we could easily whip up in the comfort of our homes. She made the cooking process enjoyable instead of a chore for Indians. TV cook and cookbook author, Nigella Lawson is one of the most favorite women home chef across the world.
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