In the kitchen with: Ravinder Bhogal

August 07, 2019
In the kitchen with: Ravinder Bhogal

This week, we're in the kitchen with Ravinder Bhogal. Ravinder is a British cook, restaurateur, food writer and TV presenter. She's also known for her incredible vegetarian recipes. 

Ravinder was born in Kenya and raised in London, by her Indian parents. Her recipes are inspired by her upbringing, her heritage and her biggest food hero – her mother. Ravinder's ever-popular restaurant Jikoni reflects this, as does her award-winning cookbook, Cook in Boots.

Your favourite recipe you cook for yourself?
Any kind of pasta really – alio olio with lemon zest and lots of parmesan, fresh pesto and one with an abundance of clams and garlic are favourites.

spaghetti allo scoglio
The one thing you always have in your fridge?
Butter – both salted and unsalted 
If you could impart one piece of cooking knowledge to everyone, what would it be?
Get acquainted with spices and all their wonderful nuances. They take food from elevator music to a symphony.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Tough one. Probably bread. Bread is life. 

Bread and butter
Can you recall the moment when you knew you wanted to pursue a career in food?
There wasn’t a moment as such, it was always part of my sub-conscience – more of a day dream.
Your go-to dinner party meal?
I am too experimental to have just one and it also depends on the season. But I do make the best tiramisu. 
Who is your food hero?
My mother. She gave me the determination to make flavours behave in the kitchen. I also inherited her wonderful intuition.
What music, if any, do you like to listen to while cooking?
I love the meditation of Sufi music. 
Biggest kitchen disaster?
I was pressure cooking goose legs for a dish, as I needed them quickly for a pie filling, and forgot about them. The smell of burnt goose legs has stayed with me since! 
Your guilty pleasure?
Potato crisps. I could eat them happily instead of dinner! I never met a chip I didn't like. 
In all your travels, where have you experienced the best food?
In Mumbai – the vegetarian food is extraordinary. The seasonal thali at Shree Thaker Bhojanalay is unbelievable. I was lucky enough to be there when it was Alphonso mango season and I was in awe of how many wonderful dishes were created using it. 
Is there one cookbook you go back to time and time again?

Madhur Jaffrey's Eastern Vegetarian Cookery is a tome I treasure.

eastern vegetarian cooking cookbook
The kitchen utensil you can't live without?
My microplane – zesting lemons without it is such a bore. 
You're currently craving?
I could always do with a cup of tea.
Any advice to new cooks?
Embrace the mistakes – it’s all education.