We met the famous food blogger at an ice cream workshop in Haagen Dazs and got her to talk about her passion for food, her favorite desserts and of course, her fitness routine to avoid overeating. to gain weight !
When did you first discover your passion for cooking?
I started cooking out of sheer boredom. I was in London at the time and didn’t know what to do because Arshad was busy shooting for his movie Goal. I was pregnant with my daughter and my son who was two years and seven months old had just started eating regularly. So I started to visit local markets, buy fresh produce, google recipes, and cook.
Every time I cooked it ended up being too much, and I didn’t know what to do. But Arshad was telling me not to worry because he was inviting the boys over to the house. For the shooting of a soccer movie, there were 11 people on the crew, so you can imagine the amount of food. I don’t know if it was because they were all really hungry, but they would be raving about my food. It made me gain confidence in my cooking skills.
How was your food blog born?
Well, about two years ago on Mother’s Day, I had no help. My maid told me that she had to go to her village and I didn’t know what to do. I decided that there was nothing more to do but cook for myself every day. I started to prepare a cuisine or some type of dish for each day.
It was then that a friend of mine Jaya, who knew what I was doing, suggested I blog about it. I didn’t even know what she was talking about. I’m not tech savvy at all! But with his help, I started blogging. (Check out Maria Goretti’s culinary blog here). I actually didn’t even know how to upload photos until the people who started blogging showed me how. But I learned along the way. Today my blog is full of photos, incidents and recipes.
Have you had any formal culinary training?
I did a show for NDTV two years ago where I met this girl who had gone to Gordon Ramsay institute called Aunt Marie in London to take her class and she recommended me to go too . I really wanted to go, so I applied and got my place. Fortunately, everything fell into place.
I took off last year and did a three month course there. I learned everything, from Indian to French and from British to Mexican and Italian. I also took two classes at the same time to make sure I learned everything I could.
You often cook at home. What are your children’s favorite dishes?
My son loves the risotto that I make. They also love the thin and crispy homemade pizzas with fresh mozzarella. I cook a lot because they often receive their friends. In addition, I love to receive!
Are you strict on calories when cooking?
On a daily basis, I try to cook as healthily as possible, but when I have guests, I don’t look at anyone’s health. I don’t count calories. I just cook with abandon!
With all this delicious food, how do you stay in shape?
Right now I’m going to CrossFit, but I’m really irregular in my fitness routine. I have to thank my mom and dad because I have good genes. It takes me longer than normal people to gain weight. I let myself go to the point that my jeans don’t fit anymore and then I start to train (laughs). But likes to be in shape. I think it’s important to be healthy and strong and not let yourself go to the point of having a heart attack.
How did you come to be associated with Haagen Dazs?
I think they were looking for someone like me and I was looking for a brand like them. I am really happy to be associated with Haagen Dazs. It’s about quality, forgiveness and real stuff. They do not contain emulsifiers or additives. For me, this is very important. I wanted to be associated with a food that I wouldn’t have to worry about giving my children.
It was great to be a part of this workshop. A whole learning curve on the brand as well as good takeaway!
What is your favorite dessert at Haagen Dazs?
My favorite ice cream is Belgian chocolate. I really like their cupcakes too. They are total indulgence!
Speaking of desserts, what’s your favorite for cooking? Want to share the recipe?
Red velvet cake; I love it and I can do it in my sleep;) I had tried several recipes before this and when I came across this one I tried it and it worked like magic! Now every time I visit someone or want to send them a little something to make them feel special, this is my signature Red Velvet Cake! (You can find Maria’s red velvet cake recipe here.)
You like to receive and organize parties. What does it take to be a good host?
Plan ahead. I used to cook a big feast because I can never cook a little. In fact, since Christmas is a big holiday here, I plan my menu for November itself. My meat and dessert are ready well in advance and only my salad and pastries are left for the last day. In addition, I send invitations and at least three reminders in order to have confirmations in advance. And finally, I never invite people I don’t want to my home. I can’t put on a show. It’s just not me!
After having been greedy all your life and now discovering your passion for cooking, what do you think is the key to success in the kitchen?
Intrepidity. If you are afraid of making mistakes or having disasters in the kitchen, you will never learn. By messing up, you’ll learn what not to do. I believe in being an eternal student because you never know too much about anything.
Finally, what are your future culinary projects?
I don’t have a concrete action plan but I still dream of what I would like to do. Right now, I think my kids are a little too young for my plans to come to fruition. But in about two years, I want to open my own cafe. I also want to run daytime workshops where I can teach people the art of cooking. I would also like to do a travel and food TV show at some point. For now, I’ll just wait for things to fall into place.