“I believed I was going to save the world, because I was studying economics at that time,” says Maria Goretti, laughing.
“‘You’ll have to cook for your family one day.’ That’s what my mom used to say. But I alwayswondered what the point of this education was if I was going to cook rotis for my family,” she recalls.
The irony is that, many years later, it was precisely that — cooking for her family — that introduced Maria to her true love. “I had to feed my two-year-old son, Zeke.I had a lot of free time, and Arshad (Warsi; husband-actor) was busy. So, I started visiting various farmer’s markets, but I didn’t know how to use all that beautiful produce. Then I started doing my own research online,” she says.
Soon,she left for Tante Marie Culinary Academy in London, UK, for a Cordon Bleu Certificate course in culinary skills and baking. Recently, the former VJ launched her first cookbook, From My Kitchen To Yours. “Cooking opened my mind, heart and soul. The experience [of going to school] not only taught me how to cook, but also made me more mature. Sometimes, a few things just click. Cooking was that thing for me,” she says.
The writing process wasn’t a cakewalk for Maria Goretti. She started out with blogging, but it wasn’t until she received three offers to write books that she finally decided to take one up. “I wasn’t ready to write a book. I thought I didn’t have enough knowledge,” she says.
“In fact, when Ajay Mago from Om Books International (the publisher of From My Kitchen To Yours) asked me to write my book, I thought the conversation was unreal. I nodded, but I never really started working on it until one fine day, when he called and asked me how the book was coming along. That’s when I thought maybe I was doing something right, since he believed in me. So, I decided to put my issues to rest, and began working on the book,” says Goretti. Eventually, when she got down to the nitty-gritty, it all started taking shape.
Looking back, the former VJ admits she is “extremely happy” with the final product. “Each recipe is described exactly the way I would cook it. The recipes don’t talk about my repertoire. They are easy-to-cook and no fancy techniques are involved. The aim of a cookbook is to entice the reader into cooking, and to share the joy that I experience while cooking. If I have managed to do that, and I truly hope that does come across, then I am a happy person,” she says.