There was no question that my passion for food would grow into what it has become, living in a family already so involved in the food industry. My grandmother was the best cook in town, my mother is a caterer and cookbook author, my uncle runs a food packing company and my cousin is a fully trained chef. It felt natural to squeeze myself into the club and add another chef to the family!
Growing up in Nairobi, Kenya for the early years of my life, I was exposed to two different cultures of food: Punjabi and Kenyan. Thankfully, I was also raised in a family of foodies who were always experimenting in the kitchen. My fondest memories as a child are when I would sit on the counter watching my grandmother rolling round roti’s, chopping fresh vegetables and stirring the lentils. When I moved back to Canada, the learning and inspiration didn’t stop.
I discovered at an early age that I had a strong love for food and was intrigued with how it worked. After school, I would experiment in the kitchen with whatever there was in the fridge to be just like my grandma, my mum and the chefs I saw on The Food Network. I practiced my knife skills based on what I saw them doing, I read blog after blog and book after book of recipes. The learning and interest showed no signs of slowing down. I think I drove my family crazy, every time they turned on the TV, or wanted to watch something with me, The Food Network was guaranteed to be on. Nothing has changed.
I always thought cooking was just something I enjoyed doing and a good hobby to keep up. It took me a while to realize my skill set, my palate and how strong my passion really is. After graduating from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Commerce and Major in Hotel and Food Administration, I knew that the best way to find my place in the world of food was to try on a few different hats. I worked in leadership positions right after school and also got a taste of how dining rooms are managed to improve guest experiences. I saw all there was to see in the industry, from bottom to top, only to find myself the happiest when I was creating new recipes and my friends and family were enjoying what I made. I started my food blog, Choperella to share the recipes I develop and to explore food photography and styling.
I soon found myself itching to grow as a chef and decided to follow my dream and go to chef school! I went to chef school to learn more about the fundamental techniques, terminology and the foundation of French cuisine. Going to chef school has helped me to better understand ingredients and how different methods of preparing them can lead to new and original results. I have gained a greater sense of confidence in my cooking since attending chef school while keeping the spontaneity and passion that brought me into the kitchen in the first place. Learning about baking and pastry arts was also a highlight of my experience in chef school. I get a lot of enjoyment out of it and it’s a great way to be creative with both flavours and visual designs.
Choperella is my main outlet for me to share my passion with you. All of the spices in Indian cuisine play a large role in my recipes and my flavour palate while my techniques range from home-style fun to three-star precision. My goal is to use what I have learned at home and in culinary school to express my take on the food I grew up on with a modern twist. At the heart of what I do is my desire to connect with my family and my friends through a shared love of food and being together. I hope that you’ll share my creations with your friends and loved ones and discover your own passion for all things food.
Welcome and enjoy!