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Serving Aloo-Gobi to MJ

Glasgow ‘Curry King’ Raj Bajwe pens a book on his superstar guests, including Michael Jackson. Jackson paid 2000 pounds to fly Bajwe and two staff to London to cook his favourite dishes.

books Updated: Jul 09, 2010 01:32 IST

Glasgow ‘Curry King’ Raj Bajwe pens a book on his superstar guests, including Michael Jackson Glasgow-based Indian curry king Raj Bajwe cooked delicacies for hundreds of celebrities including Michael Jackson and Amitabh Bachchan, and has now completed a book that sets out his experiences with the bold and the beautiful from across the world.

Bajwe’s book, to be published later this year, is titled Tikka Picture: Eat It and includes pictures with over 200 celebrities including Jackson, Sean Connery, George Clooney, Mel Gibson and Indian film actors such as Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit, Kajol and Sunil Shetty. Bajwe, 46, particularly remembers Jackson, who relished his saag paneer and aloo gobi, during the latter’s visit to Glasgow in the mid-1970s with the Jackson 5.

Michael Jackson"Michael Jackson was a soft spoken man. We became good friends. We met seven times and twice I cooked saag paneer and aloo gobi for him. He later invited me to his private parties in the Neverland ranch," said Amritsar-origin Bajwe. "Jackson was 90 per cent vegetarian, and sometimes had chicken. He always liked extra hot spicy food. When he tasted my aloo gobi, he remarked it was cooked to perfection, that he could taste the flavour of cauliflower," he added. In 2004, Jackson paid 2000 pounds to fly Bajwe and two staff to London to cook his favourite dishes. Bajwe was due to fly to the USA to cook for him shortly before his death last year.

The restaurateur, who is travelling to India next month to marry, said, “He hated being called Jacko. Anyone who used the term was asked to leave the room.” Bajwe, who was the master chef for 11 years, now owns one of the most well known Indian restaurants in Glasgow, Cafe India. His book, he said, will reveal culinary secrets of celebrities.

Raj’s all-time favourite guest is Tom Jones, who scoffed four starters, three curries and a sweet in a two-and-a-half hour feast. But his biggest disappointment came when the Spice Girls failed to show for a booking. “Their manager had promised to bring them, but he was sacked a few days previously,” said Bajwe.