Share insight on a workday with Romy Gill. How do you like to kick-start your day?
I used to have chai in the morning but now I have started my day with hot lemon water. Most days I go for a run or walk it all depends on when I can fit in. Intimate fasting works for me and keeps me full of energy.
In 2016 you were appointed an MBE in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours list. Congrats on the same, can you share your experience on the same?
It is huge for me because I had never expected that anything like that could happen to me. I came from a very small town in India and from a very simple family where hard work was only on the cards. When I received the letter I left it on the side thinking about another bill for the restaurant, when my eldest daughter who was very little then opened the letter and read it to me and was screaming and then only I came to know about it.
I rang the number of the cabinet office three times just to confirm it was for me and they had not mistaken me. To receive this for the hospitality industry is the best news ever. I don’t think I will ever win any other awards ever again.
You released your debut cookbook in September 2019. Zaika – Vegan Recipes from India followed by On The Himalayan Trail. Please let our audience know more about these books.
When I chose to write Zaika I wanted the western world to know that we practically eat plant-based food without any additives. Our food is wholesome and each state and household cooks very differently. The spices are the same except for the techniques and method changes. I wanted to share the knowledge and awareness of our food.
My mum died that year and I shared most of the recipes in the book and the food she cooked for us. On The Himalayan Trail, I had always wanted to write because my love of Bollywood was filmed in Kashmir and I always wanted to go to Ladakh because my husband used to travel in a scooter a long time ago and told me stories about food and landscape. When the opportunity came to write for the suitcase magazine in Ladakh I was blown away by local, seasonal, sustainable food in the harsh climate. I had to research and travel many times to be able to write a book that’s very close to my heart.
As a chef and a writer I had the most loving time learning the food and culture of a part of India I never knew. I am now writing my next book and I cannot wait to share it with you next year.
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