Growing up in a large Indian family, life revolved around the kitchen.
I would spend hours sitting with my grandmother as she thought of dishes to serve a table of 15 or more, finding hundreds of ways to combine ingredients and conjure different flavours.
I was sous chef and chief tester— there’s no better initiation into the world of cooking… or eating!
Years later, my mum gave me my own spice kit to play with as I set off for university. It felt like a real rite of passage moment. I took what I had learned but applied it to a new kitchen, broad tastes and a modest budget. I used that magical tin for all sorts: spicing up pasta, jazzing up my beans on toast and stir-frying like an Indian. I was astounded at how many of my friends had never heard of the ingredients that I used, how unfamiliar they were with the health benefits of turmeric, turiya and tamarind, and how plain their meals were.
I wanted to share my knowledge of Asian cooking and make the ingredients, so familiar to me yet so foreign to others, accessible. I subsequently began my company Red Rickshaw, now the largest online Asian grocery store in the UK. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was only halfway there.
As Red Rickshaw grew and I became a mother, life began to get in the way of great meals. Cooking stopped feeling like that exuberant rite of passage and dulled into an everyday chore. The Eastern delights I’d grown up with became a distant memory. Even with the rare ingredients that I was providing through Red Rickshaw, I recognised that others might similarly lack the time to experiment. Still, I maintained my dream of wanting to introduce everyone to home-cooked Eastern goodness; to enable all to taste the world on their dinner plates.
My idea of Feast Box was born.