Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal wants to preserve the varied food legacy
Butter chicken pasta. If that got you reading, don't stop. Seven years ago, a young first-time mom in Chandigarh, looking for an outlet for her creative energies, turned to the World Wide Web. A journalist friend suggested she start blogging.
Food came to mind and the lady started trawling the Internet – to see what it had to offer in this area. “That's when I realised that there are a whole lot of food-obsessed people around,” recalls well-known gastronomy writer and consultant, Rushina Munshaw-Ghildiyal. A soundly researched post on the little-known cuisine of Uttaranchal put her past the average blogger and she soon found herself hosting online food forums. Food writing for local and international publications followed over the next few years.
Rushina, now a mother of two, however, had no intention of settling into a comfort zone. So, when a consulting assignment from an Italian consortium came her way, she snapped it up.
Today, the lady and her firm, A Perfect Bite (http://aperfectbite.in) work with various F&B businesses — global and local — to help them understand the Indian palate better. A regular at food-related events across the country, Rushina's is currently a packed schedule, but the food diva manages to find the time and zeal to cook for her family – at least twice a week. She appreciates, though, why many fellow-women say they ‘hate to cook'. Irrespective of a career, and numerous additional responsibilities a woman now takes on, Rushina notes, most women are expected to put three meals on the table everyday – and don't always find the enthusiasm for this. “A lot of the work I do”, she says, “is to make life more interesting for these women. ”. Hence exciting recipes with homely and affordable ingredients like potato papad nachos and masoor dal burgers.
Rushina is a trained animator, and one would expect that the she thinks in pictures – but no – all her memories revolve around food. A pre-wedding ceremony is bookmarked not by what she wore or her make-up, but the Mexican tacos and Singaporean rice crackers she ensured were on the menu that day. Local and sustainable, is the foodie lady's mantra for the kind of ingredients that should go into your food – and she has helped Amore Gourmet Gelato develop an organic gelato from local ingredients – India's first. Her work with Navdanya, a nationwide network of seed keepers and organic producers, is also close to her heart.
Her favourite food books? Dadimano Varso is the first name she gives you. The book, whose title translates into ‘Grandmother's Legacy', is a limited edition bible of Palanpuri Jain cuisine. “I hope we discover more about our regional cuisines,” Rushina says. “It's a dream of mine to preserve traditional Indian culinary knowledge and our indigenous ingredients”.