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About me

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Welcome to Culinary Experience.

 

Hi, there. My name is Pooja Kolas. Thank you for visiting my blog. I believe that best food is that which appeals to all five senses. My effort has also been towards the plating of food. It should be appealing to the eyes, as we first enjoy the food by looking at it. Then comes the aroma, followed by sound, feel and last, but not least, taste. If you love to eat and feed, then you have come to right place. Through the Culinary Experience website, my attempt is to share my experiences of rich Indian cuisine and bring forward the legacy of Indian cooking, and various cooking techniques. A variety of dishes, some authentic, some fusion, some totally innovative are at your disposal.

My Childhood

I had a very pampered childhood. Being born into a family of academics, I was always encouraged to study and hardly entered the kitchen. I was blessed to have been fed by amazing cooks in the family, such as my grandmother and mother.This saga continued even after the marriage. I was married in a joint family with a mother-in-law who is an enthusiastic cook. As such, I was always the sous-chef for my mum and mother-in-law.

Discovered my passion

I discovered my passion for cooking after coming to England. We came here with a toddler, where the priority was to cook fresh and healthy food for the baby. Being first time parents, we wanted everything to be the perfect for the child. Being away from our homeland also made us realise that, since the extended family was not around us now, it was our responsibility to pass on our rich culture and heritage to the next generation. 

We decided to celebrate all the festivals and to perform all the rituals and explain the significance of these to our children. Any Indian festival is incomplete without the special food prepared for the festival as it holds a lot of significance, both in cultural and historical terms.

During this process, I realised that I quite enjoyed preparing various dishes, not just traditional Indian food but international cuisine as well, which I was exposed to after coming to England. I had discovered my passion. To be very honest, there was nothing surprising in that; after all, it was in the genes. 

Opportunity knocks on the door

 

I got an excellent opportunity to take my passion to the next level while working in the Community Education College in Auckland, NZ. I was working part time in this college. One day my colleague who also used to teach Chinese cooking asked me if I would be interested in teaching Indian Cooking for the Community Education courses. I was speechless as I never expected that someday I will be asked to teach Indian cooking. I said to her that I do not have any professional qualification. My only qualification was my food which the staff members had tasted on various ‘bring a plate’ parties.

I was excited but was in a dilemma. Why? Because I was 7 months pregnant with my second child when I was offered this. I could not resist this opportunity as this was my passion. The course was to be delivered over a 5-week period so I had enough time before the baby arrived.

But my baby got so excited that he decided to come early. With the last session still to be delivered, I was admitted and waiting in the hospital for the baby to be delivered. I was feeling restless as I could not complete the course. I even tried asking the doctor if I can go for just a couple of hours to complete this session. Of course, the answer was a big NO.

Finally, sitting in the hospital, I wrote the recipes with detailed instructions and emailed it to my colleague.  For the first time in the history of the college, a Chinese cooking teacher delivered an Indian cooking session. Both the session and baby were delivered successfully. After all, language of food is universal, don’t you agree?

My little one is a foodie and good food critic. From a young age, he would join me in the kitchen and was very interested in cooking. I often say that he keeps on revisiting the kitchen as he attended all cooking sessions by comfortably sitting in my tummy but missed his last one so keeps coming to complete that unfinished business.

 

Wonderful five years

 

This first course was a great success. This gave me the opportunity to teach for next five years. I was asked to develop this basic course into other courses. I delivered different courses such as Advanced Indian cooking, Regional Indian Food, Street food. I thoroughly enjoyed those five years. I had to stop these classes as we moved back to UK.

My passion for cooking and food presentation was making me restless to do something in this field. For a long time, I was not sure what to do. The stint of teaching Indian Cooking in New Zealand was great, but I wanted to further this experience. 

 

My Profession

I am a Maths teacher by profession. I love teaching Maths and I highly appreciate the existence and application of Mathematics in all areas of life. During the day I teach students who are willing to study Maths, Physics, Computer Science etc. During the day I think about Mechanics, Calculus, Statistics, Conics, Algorithms etc. However, when I am not thinking about Maths, I am thinking about recipes, or in the kitchen cooking. That is my stress buster.

 

Beauty of Indian Cuisine

 

I have always wanted to share with everyone that Indian food exists beyond takeaway curry. I am often asked, 'Do you eat Indian food every day? Is it not too rich to have it every day?'  Yes, we eat Indian food almost every day but what we eat is very healthy food. We have a variety of non-vegetarian dishes, but our vegetarian cuisine is also very vast.

Indian food is highly versatile. It can be very humble when served on a banana leaf and will be at its best when offered to God. It can also be modernised through fusion dishes and, with artistic plating, becomes the showstopper at fine dining/Michelin star restaurants.

 

Culinary Experience- the new beginning…

'Happiness is a table full of good food shared with loved ones'. Hence, I encourage you not only to follow my recipes but also present them using the suggested presentation to make it a memorable experience for your loved ones. That is the main aim of this food blog and the inspiration for the name of the website, ‘Culinary Experience’.

Come and embark on this culinary journey with me and be ready to explore and experience this amazing culinary world.

 

Bon Culinary Voyage and Bon Appetite!

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