With her radiant smile and effortless charm, Rachel Allen, celebrity chef and baking queen from Ireland, has made her way into the hearts of millions of fans across the world. And while she may not have come to India ever, she does have a number of favourites among Indian dishes.
“I did a variation of biryani a few days ago and had a great time cooking Madras curry for my pupils. I am a fan of Madhur Jaffrey’s (cookery author) recipes, I take a lot of inspiration from her,” she says.
For professional and budding bakers, she advises, "Get your basics right, use good quality ingredients and organise well in advance. I don’t mind taking a long time when I am baking, but it must be worth the wait."
"I love baking, but I love teaching more," adds Allen, the author of four best selling cook books, who is now sharing her secrets to relaxed and easy cooking on TLC with her show, Rachel Allen’s Easy Meals.
When asked if she feels the culinary world is male dominated, Rachel says, "Majority of chefs may be men, but some of the best chefs in the world are females. I believe cooking is empowering, my husband’s grandmother started running a restaurant ages ago and we employ a lot of women in our business. Women are made to feel very important in their roles really," she adds.
On popular chef and TV host Nigella Lawson, her contemporary with whom constant comparisons are drawn, Allen quips, "I guess our similarities end at the fact that we are both women who love their food. She is a fantastic chef."
And if there is one celebrity she would love to cook for, she says, it will have to be Barack Obama.