Q1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your family?
Being a foodie myself and a good cook I found myself enjoying Food Technology as a subject at school and then took on the subject for GCSE and A’Levels too. It was then I realised my true passion too was aligned with the family business of cooking. I then continued the subject at University and soon after began teaching Indian cuisine.
Q2. Where Do You Get Your Inspiration From?
Most of our recipes date back to the 1950’s and are my grandfather's 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 more than fifty years.
I also happen to be daddys girl, he’s someone who I have always aspired to be like. He’s not only a great chef but also a great leader, who leads by example and that is the reason 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.
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 try give back to society.
Q3. What inspired you to take this challenge, and start your own cookery school?
Like I said, it inspires me when I see young talent entering this line of business. Hence for me it's really important to pay forward and pass on my knowledge and expertise, which is why I opened my very own Cookery School at The Brilliant Restaurant. It's an informative, fun and well-constructed Indian cookery course (recognised by the University of West London).
Open to the public, the courses continue to give me true satisfaction, especially when my students are proud to produce dishes which are nothing less than ‘BRILLIANT’.
I also give the public an opportunity to taste and buy her meals on a midweek basis. I, along with the help of my brilliant team, prepare and create meals for those who need inspiration and a helping hand for lunch or dinner.
Q4. What has been your proudest moment?
I am blessed to have had many proud moments in my life. But to list a few:
• When I released my very first cook-book titled ‘Beyond Brilliant’ in July 2014. Beyond Brilliant consists of over fifty recipes and tells the story of the ‘Brilliant’ family legacy and my culinary journey. • Opening of my first pop up restaurant, this was an independent project curated and executed 100% by me. It was special. • My first TV show and definitely my feature on the BBC network. • And definitely having the pleasure of serving Prince Charles two at the restaurant.
Q5. As a young chef of age 18, what were some of the biggest challenges you faced?
Back then it was a tough line of business for a young 18 years old girl. While my immediate family was really supportive and encouraging, I did face a bit of a challenge with extended friends and family.
Not too many girls found their place in the kitchen back then, and to top it up I was fairly young. But with hardwork and resilience I soon managed to show my talent and find acceptance in the industry.
Q6. What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting out as a Chef?
Do only if you are passionate about cooking and love to make people happy. To be successful in the hospitality and catering industry you must be a people’s person, you need to have the confidence to connect with your dinners. Understand what they like and how they feel. And hence a chef too needs to understand what goes on at the front desk and also how to run a smooth kitchen operation.
If you cook from your heart like I do you too will believe that cooking is the most satisfying skill. Cooking is a life skill which we all need. It makes me happy to see youngsters looking to pursue a career as a chef.
Q7. What part of your life experience would you alter if you had the chance to?
I have to say nothing. I am a headstrong person and I believe in standing by my decisions in life. Like everyone else I too have made some errors, be it in the kitchen or otherwise but each error has taught me something and has helped me be where I am today. So no regrets :)
Check them out at – www.brilliantrestaurant.com
Check out Dipna’s book – Beyond Brilliant by clicking here