|Indian Cookery Lessons was conceived as a fun idea in Zürich, Switzerland, for Expats who missed their Friday night Indian take
away. It started with some uncertainty, but was always tinged with hope that someone would find the idea useful, appealing and
worth trying out. After starting in Zürich, ICL's days of uncertainty were quickly outnumbered by a constant stream of students.
ICL was started by an expat hence came to an end in 2007 when the teachers expat days in Zürich finished. ICL has now started
spreading its wings in UK, (Wallington, Surrey and surrounding areas), where part of the original culinary learning, idea and
inspiration came from.
About the teacher:
"I grew up in Chandannagar - a small French town not so far from Calcutta in
Eastern India, lived there for 24 years before relocating to UK. I lived in UK for 8
years followed by Switzerland for 4 years before returning to UK again.
I have two boys, Rajiv and Ronnie, aged 15 and 12 respectively. I work full-time
hence only organise lessons when time permits.
I started Indian Cookery Lessons hoping to make new friends in Switzerland. It
was meant to be a fun idea rather than a serious business adventure and continues
to remain that way. Cooking is a passion for me rather than a serious profession. I
also do it for relaxation. For me, Friday night take-aways have always been part of
the charm of living in modern Britain. I am equally fond of traditional home-made Indian food. What I try (and attempt!!) to teach
my students is a combination of both without using excessive spices or oil. I like spending time with my children, hence dislike
being in the kitchen for too long. As a result, most of my dishes are quick and easy, rather than time consuming. They are also
quite contemporary, delicious and healthy!
learning something useful and socialising with those who share a common
interest. I encourage students to take an active part in the entire cooking process
because I believe that the best way of learning any skill is by 'doing it yourself'
rather than simply watching others. Having said that, those who are initially shy,
often choose to watch others until they feel confident to start mixing and stirring
themselves. This is okay too.
believe in creative cooking rather than dogmatic following, hence encourage all my
students to explore, modify, improvise and create their own taste, flavour and
spice combination rather than blindly following my teachings. In that respect, my
classes are very informal, easy-going and probably not for those who like more
formal and structured cooking.
Initial inspiration behind starting cookery lessons evolved as a result of constant encouragement from friends. Needless to say, I
owe them a big THANK YOU! Without their constant support and encouragement, this venture would have never taken off. I am
immensely grateful to two of my very good friends - Kirti and Shilpa, who supported me in this venture when I first came up with
the idea in Switzerland. I am also immensely grateful to Shirley, (a former ICL student of mine and now a very close 'friend, guide
& philosopher'!!) She helped me as an assistant during the last year of my stay in Zürich and I am really fortunate to have met her.
I am also very grateful to all my students who have been immensely supportive all the way. They always give me endless ideas
about how to progress and develop. A lot of them have become very good friends now and some of them are people I would like to
keep in touch with for the rest of my life!!" ~ Nina Guha