She was discovered by Gordon Ramsay in his show the ‘F-Word’. Now, Ravinder Bhogal is set to showcase global cuisines for TLC. Shonali Muthalaly has the details
The glamour strikes you first. Which seems like a fairly sexist thing to say. After all, it can be argued, that no one really talks about what Antony Bourdain wears in the kitchen. When it comes to Ravinder Bhogal, however, the buzz is all about her Jurlique skin products, Dior mascara and home made scrubs. (Gram flour, yoghurt and a touch of turmeric if you must know.)
But then, in keeping with the ‘Domestic Goddess’ image, fashioned primarily by the oomphy Nigella Lawson, Bhogal realises that nothing sells like glamour. Her wry sense of humour doesn’t hurt either. When asked by an interviewer about what the biggest misconception is about her, she one blithely said: “That I’m all lipstick and high heels.” Adding, “But I like jewellery and bags just fine too.”
Of course there’s talent there too. She’s best known, in fact, for being discovered by Gordon Ramsay on his show the ‘F-Word.’ (As any food channel loyalist knows, Ramsey doesn’t mince words.) She went on to release a cookbook Cook in Boots last year. And you’ll soon see her on Ravinder’s Kitchen, on TLC.
Speaking over the phone from her kitchen in London, Bhogal says that the programme is about food from all around the world. “I’ll explore each cuisine, and then in every episode create a recipe with my twist.” Talking of how global cuisine comes easy to her, given her background, she says she was in the kitchen from when she was five years old. She was born in Kenya, and her father “travelled a lot, so we always had interesting ingredients at home. When we travelled we ate everywhere as kids, from Japan to London. My mother was really interested in food, so she learnt how to cook various cuisines...”
This is her food style — influenced by years of travel, and from living in multicultural London. “Fusion has become a dirty word. So I prefer to call it alchemy: bringing together two different cultures and cuisines. After all, how do you define authentic? Our history, our culture is so mixed up. Take Hyderabad alone: look at the many influences people from all over the world have had on its food.”
Growing up in a Punjabi household means she still has a weakness for channa batura. “But I’m equally enamoured with fish and chips. I love all types of food. Often when I find myself home alone, I open a jar of pasta to cook up something quick and easy, like a simple aglio aglio olio with slivers of garlic, chilli and lemon zest. I can’t live without dal, it’s so easy, nourishing and under-rated. I eat it at least once a week. Though when I think of Indian, what comes to mind is pani puri. The taste transports me to summer in Mumbai.”
Ravinder’s Kitchen will premiere on October 28 every night at 8 p.m. on TLC.
Excellent olive oil from Spain. The kind you want to drink, because it’s so tasty.
Organic eggs, with really orange yolks from corn-fed chickens.
I’m crazy about lemons: the zest, the juice, the wonderful fragrance.
All sorts of spices, particularly star anise and cinnamon
Ginger, garlic and chillies — if you have these three you can’t go wrong.