Dipna Anand has already made her mark in the food world. Not only is her restaurant Brilliant (located in Southall) one of Prince Charles’s favourites and has an abundance of A List celebrity fans, it was named of of Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Best restaurants’ for his channel 4 TV Show. This talented chef recently won a respected accolade from the British Curry Awards that was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron, as well as a National award from The British Nutrition Foundation and is about to launch her signature recipe book Beyond Brilliant.
Now Dipna is taking the restaurant to new heights, building on those authentic recipes with ones of her own, which focus on healthy ingredients and low-fat cooking techniques. It’s a pioneering approach that’s set to shake up the world of Indian food.
Have you always wanted to pursue a career in cooking?
Yes having grown up in the restaurant business and a family of foodies, I developed a real passion for cooking and indian cuisine at quite a young age. I have watched my dad succeed in this industry whilst I was growing up and this inspired me to pursue a career in this industry. I used to go and help dad at the restaurant with my mum and brother from the age of about 7 or 8 (especially on the weekends as it was extremely busy) and even then I enjoyed it like I do today. So yes I have always wanted to go into a career related to catering and hospitality or food related.
The restaurant ‘Brilliant’ has been an extremely successful family business for many generations; did this create a lot of pressure for you when you became a chef at the restaurant?
I did not really become a chef as such because when I officially joined the restaurant (became an employee), I was actually managing front of house and then gradually got more involved with the menu side of things and devising dishes with the chefs and experimenting certain dishes. Yes The Brilliant has now become a brand which is not only national but international and when I started working at the restaurant, I did all I can to ensure the quality/standard of the restaurant was never lost. In fact I implemented new ideas and procedures to further improve the restaurant and make it even more Brilliant. There is always pressure because we cannot let the standard drop. With a name like Brilliant, you have to ensure you are nothing less than Brilliant.
Who taught you to cook?
I learnt to cook from my mum at home and also my dad. At the restaurant I was taught by our sous chef Sunil and head chef Jas. In fact even up until today if I want to learn new cooking tricks, I just go into the restaurant kitchen and start getting key pointers from the chefs. So have been taught by mum, dad and chef Sunil and chef Jas
With a name like Brilliant, you have to ensure you are nothing less than Brilliant.
What is your favourite dish to make?
I love to cook my famous stuffed mushrooms. I make the filling, coat the mushrooms, then fill them and cook them in the oven. Its fun and doesnt take long either
Do you cook a lot at home?
I cook somewhat at home, although I do enough cooking in my job anyway, whether it’s at the cookery courses or teaching at the university. My mum usually does most of the cooking at home, as she is the best chef in my life.
What inspired you to write a cookery book?
My dad has been wanting me to write a book for the last ten years, he always said but I never really took it seriously. But after winning an award for inspiration announced by the prime minister at the British curry awards in 2013, it motivated and inspired me to start taking the book idea dad had seriously. And 5 and a half months later the book is done
What makes your book so different from other cookbooks on the market?
There are many cook-books out there where you try the recipes and at times they do not work, for example ‘it doesn’t look like that in the picture’ type thing, so I wanted my book to be different, I made it a point that each recipe in the book was tested 3-4 times, including by a home economist. Ensuring my recipes work and making sure the finished dish looks exactly like it does in the picture. The book also has recipes in which date back to 65 years ago, when my grandfather in Kenya had the first Brilliant Restaurant. The book tells a story about the Brilliant being in its third generation and also takes you thorough what the Brilliant is all about. So almost like a story being told through recipes.
My Mum…is the greatest cook in my life
What is your greatest achievement in your career so far?
I have 3 greatest achievements:
One is completing this BEYOND BRILLIANT book
Second is when I won the award for inspirational woman at the British Curry awards, this was announced by the Prime Minister
The third one was winning a national award for my food technology project on low fat Indian cooking when I was doing my A’levels
Who is your target market for your book?
Mainly restaurant customers as they have been waiting very long for our secrets to be revealed. So thats a mixture of Asian and non Asian people. In terms of age groups, its really mixed. Just like the Indian cookery courses I run at the restaurant where I get candidates as young as 18 to as old as 85. So the target market are people with a passion for cooking Indian food.
What else can we see from you in the future?
I am sure to be doing more books, however would love to have my own cookery programme too together with opening up a bigget cookery school
I am sure to be doing more books
Beyond Brilliant only costs £19.95 To purchase the book Click Here