With five books, two TV series, a new food range and a reputation as the face of healthy Indian food to add to her CV, we spoke to EBS London alumna, Anjum Anand, about her passion for cooking, career ambitions and the ingredients behind her inspiration.
Anjum studied at EBS London in the early 90s and planned to use her education as a spring board into the business world. Inspired by her father, she formed her plans to fulfil this ambition.
‘I wanted to be a successful entrepreneur. I didn’t know what I would be doing but I knew I would be doing something where I was my own boss and I assumed I would be successful. You know when you are a student you are very naïve, the world is your oyster. If someone had told me then what I am doing now I would have looked at them like they were completely crazy.’
This entrepreneurial spirit resonated with the culture of EBS London and allowed Anjum to mix with a whole generation of students interested in doing something for themselves. Her first jump into the business world with a firm making flat pack furniture never promised to fulfil her dreams and provoked a change of direction. Her love of cooking at home led to an exploration of the food industry with roles in innovative restaurants, such as Café Spice in New York, the Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles and the Park Royal Hotel’s Indian restaurant in New Delhi.
Having done all this she returned to London and decided she wanted to write a book. Anjum explains how the motivation for this stemmed from her own poor memory.
‘I was learning recipes from my Mother and tweaking them to make them easier or healthier. I needed to write it all down so I could remember it for myself and my kids so I could pass it down to them as I loved the idea of passing down the culinary heritage to my family.’
This idea soon developed, as Anjum saw the lack of healthy Indian cook books on offer during a visit to a specialist cookery book shop in Notting Hill. Finding a publisher proved to be hard in a market dominated by TV chefs but, despite the many rejections, ‘Indian Every Day: Light, Healthy Indian Food’ was published in 2003.
It was another four years before the BBC decided that mainstream television was ready for an Indian cookery show and approached Anjum to present. Her series, Indian Food Made Easy, was aired on BBC2 in 2007 and subsequently around the world.
Read the full interview in EBS London magazine.