NRI wins World Cookbook Award
Great Indian Feasts, the latest cookbook by Britain-based celebrity chef Mridula Baljekar, has won the 'Gourmand World Cookbook Award' in the 'Best Asian Cuisine Cookbook' category.
Baljekar, who runs the popular Spice Route restaurant in Windsor, near London, received the award at a star-studded ceremony in Kuala Lumpur, which was attended, among others, by the Malaysian royalty.
"I am absolutely overwhelmed and highly honoured by this award," said Baljekar, whose book came from the stable of John Blake Publishing and hit book shops in October last year.
Books from 65 countries were in the running for this year's prestigious Gourmand awards and were judged by a panel of high profile judges.
To be a 'best in the world' cookbook, usually entails a strong author, excellent publishing standards and user-friendliness.
"So the best books have a balance between the authors, publisher and reader. The best are usually obvious when you compare thousands of books," said Edward Cointreau, founder of Gourmand Awards.
As cookery writer, Baljekar has several other titles to her credit, including "500 Indian Recipes", "The Low-fat Indian Vegetarian Cookbook", "Curries of the World", and "Secrets of an Indian Kitchen".
Baljekar says she owes much of what she has learnt about Indian food to her grandmother when she was growing up in her native Assam.
"The kitchen was always very much my grandmother's domain," recalls Mridula, "even though we had helpers, she loved to do all the cooking."
Rather than sticking with purely traditional themes, Mridula, according to her website, "spends much of her time creating new recipes, in which she blends the traditional with the contemporary, and aims to make Indian food quick, easy and healthy, and yet retain its traditional flavours".