Asian Lite’s FnB columnist Riccha Grrover in conversation with Chef Brinda Chiniah Bungaroo. She says that “the dishes from my kitchen places culture and diversity on a plate for everyone to explore. “My wish is to share the simplicity of Mauritian multicultural cuisine that will touch people’s day to day lifestyles”
RICCHA GRROVER- Tell us about your brand Brinda’s Mauritius Delights?
BRINDA CHINIAH BUNGAROO: My name is Brinda and I love cooking and creating new recipes. Originally from Mauritius I love to share healthy and easy recipes. I enjoy using seasonal ingredients that are readily available, British produce and merge them with Mauritian flavours that bring instant comfort. I am very passionate about multi-cultural food which is translated in the dishes I create.
RG- When did you start it and what is your brand’s vision?
BB-When I first started sharing my food photography on social media, I never expected there would me so much interest with such positive response. I realised when being questioned about my food, that although Mauritius is one of the prime destination holidays, yet many people were not familiar with the diversity of the food from Mauritius. That inspired the birth of Brinda’s Mauritius Delights, and I have not looked back. I have been invited to run cookery event, super clubs, teaching University/College hospitality students, hosting charity events. The response so far has been overwhelming knowing how much people liked Mauritian food and learning about the heritage behind them. Learning as we all know is constant and sharing experience is even more fruitful. I aim to share the simplicity of the Mauritian Culture, one that touches people’s day to day lifestyles.
RG-Where does the menu take its inspiration?
BB-As an avid traveller I love visiting new places not only to experience new cultures but also to get new inspirations in trying out new dishes while using exciting different ingredients to create dishes. I love sharing my cooking experience with people in discovering the wonderful world of multi-cultural cuisine. Understanding food is akin to understanding peoples’ different culture which I believe is a big part of growing and educating ourselves. Mauritian multicultural cuisine has the simplicity that contains the secret ingredients that embraces love for cooking and enjoying food. Throughout my cooking journey I aim to inspire and share my memories and a “raison d’être” for creating my dishes because I believe “food is a universal language” and the essence that brings people together.
I always refer to my recipes as having the simplest ingredients in common, which are: “Dashing of love, fond memories, heart full of passion – all blended together to create mouth-watering delights”.
RG- Do you cater to varying dietary requirements?
BB- I do cater for different dietary requirements. As a chef one has to be mindful of what suits best the people who will be eating the food, what are people’s preferences, likes and dislikes. It is a very crucial part of catering and cooking.
RG- What keeps you inspired in your profession as a chef?
BB- My love for cooking and feeding people is the main reason why I enjoy what I do. There is no dull moment when it comes to food. Since starting my food brand I have met many people from different cultural/social background from many parts of the world. If there is one thing that is universal it is definitely food, just like my husband always quotes “food is a universal language”.
RG- Tell us about your spice range that your brand has come up with what spices do you make?
BB– Details of my Home blend of Spices – Brinda’s SpiceKitchen:
My home blend spices have been recreated from my family’s recipe, one that has been and still being used in most of my dishes. The range of spices I have created are some of the most commonly used in my kitchen from cooking to marinade for vegetable, meat and fish. To date I have five brand blend of spice mix from Brinda’s SpiceKitchen, namely:
–Vindaye Spice Mix also known as pickle spices because it contains most of the ingredients used in Indian pickles
-Roast Spice Mix – Used mainly for marinades and cooking
–Masala Curry Powder – used in all my curries and sometimes mixed with other ingredients and used as a marinade.
–Tandoori Spice – I decided to do this one because I found the shop bought tandoori spice mix was overpowered with artificial colouring.
–Roasted Cumin powder – one of my favourite spices I use in many of dishes.
RG- What were the challenges you overcame and how in pandemic lockdown times when F n B sector was affected and how you are adapting your food biz in a post-Covid world?
BB- In life it is very important to look at all different situations that come our way as a learning curve, a journey to let us grow. Yes without doubt the pandemic has created challenges in many people’s life especially in the F n B sector. I used those time to rekindle myself and learnt new ways of sharing my love of cooking. I held several online cooking sessions, live cooking sessions on my social media platform. In doing so I have become more confident in doing video cookery teaching session, I did my first food recipe E-book, which for me is a step into creating more recipe books in the future.
Brinda’s Mauritius Delights is about homemade food, simple food but soul food. Dishes that capture traditional cooking into contemporary lifestyle.
“I take pride in my dishes which are very simple for anyone to create in the comfort of their own kitchen regardless of their cooking ability. Cooking good food from scratch and learning new ways to get creative in the kitchen is quite exciting. I have always believed that cooking with the bare minimum and simple ingredients to create wholesome dishes is very rewarding. In my opinion when it comes to Food there is a place for everyone. No matter what type of food, which part of the world one comes from there will always be a place for Food. Food is very individual to everyone, we all have our own style of cooking.”