When did you realise that space was in the kitchen? Tell us about your television debut
As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’ve always loved food, whether it was helping my mum in the kitchen, watching her cook or eating all that lovely food. That was probably one reason why I ended up being extremely overweight. So much so that I was very uncomfortable with the way I looked and would go on crash diets. But the moment I would stop the diet, the weight would creep back on. I finally realised diets didn’t work.
What I needed was a lifestyle change that included food I enjoyed so that I would never feel the need to fall off the bandwagon. So, I decided to make my favourite foods lighter and that was what got me into cooking healthy Indian food. UKTV Food took note of my first cookbook and asked me to do a show called Good Food Live. It did not get off to a good start.
On the first day of shooting, I was so nervous that I managed to cut my hand in two places with the supersharp Japanese knives even before I started chopping. I was seriously embarrassed. I thought they were going to regret signing me up.
They sent me home after ensuring I was OK and I was sure at that time that my TV career was over before it even began. Thankfully, they called me back and we completed the series without a hitch. In fact, my association with the show lasted for about four years.
But when BBC2 asked me to do Indian Food Made Easy, I was eight months pregnant with my daughter Mahiya. Since I was more focused on this momentous phase of my life called motherhood, everything else seemed less stressful. So I was quite relaxed in front of the camera and managed to have a good time. The show went on to be a huge success.