Ravinder Bhogal Chats Food Without Borders, Butter Love, and Swearing Parrots

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EPISODE SYNOPSIS

For Ravinder Bhogal, cook, writer & restaurant owner, food storytelling is an integral part of her

work ethos and what drives the flavour combinations that make it to her menus. In this inspiring

episode of The Filling podcast, Ravinder explains to Anna Barnett that restaurants are spaces for

humanity where you see the spectrum of emotions, and if you can understand someone’s food you

can understand their culture. Ravinder’s is a life story packed with exploration, rule-breaking,

community, and a sense of belonging. And not forgetting seriously delicious food.

EPISODE NOTES

01:40 – 05:15) Lockdown has been tough for all sectors of the hospitality business, however

Ravinder has channelled that frustration into ‘Comfort & Joy’, her catering initiative for Kings College

Hospital and the Nishkam Swat foundation. Here she explains the concept and inception.

14:30 – 17:00) As a former journalist, words play an important part in Ravinder’s life and love of

food. Here she delicately explains how words and food entwine and how her dishes are stories with

no ending.

28:00 – 30:00) Ravinder describes her flavour combinations as ‘mongrel cuisine’ or food with no

borders. Her cultural heritage means she naturally wants to combine her Indian roots with her

Kenyan and British upbringing. She Ravinder details how this cultural integrations manifests in her

cooking.

34:30 – 37:00) In an emotionally detailed section, Ravinder recounts arriving in South London from

India and the cultural shock that awaited her. It wasn’t an easy passage. The idea of Jikoni became a

utopian ideal where cultures combined and where she could belong.

44:00 – 46:30) This wonderfully loving section details Ravinder’s admiration for her pioneering

grandfather who left India in the 1930’s to set up a new life in Kenya.

47:00 – 50:00) Familial expectations for an Indian girl are examined here. Ravinder was the first girl

in her family to be allowed a university education. But did she study what was expected of her?

53:00 – 55:00) As a self-described ‘non chefy chef’, Ravinder is not immune to a little self-doubt. So

praise from eminent names such as AA Gill and Nigella Lawson is enormously rewarding. Listen in to

hear how AA Gill described Ravinder’s cooking.

TOP QUOTES

“Writing is a huge passion; words are as important as food; words move me to tears and so can

food.” Ravinder

“Do I take out an injunction or do I marry him?” Ravinder (on her husband)

“Nothing can replace good old fashioned hard work.” Ravinder

“It’s a very ‘come to mama’ kind of dish.” Ravinder (on her Scragan Pie)

“I think it’s a social responsibility for restaurants to have flattering lighting.” Anna

“I’m Punjabi; we don’t have blood; we have butter in our veins.” Ravinder

RESOURCES

www.ravinderbhogal.com

www.jikonilondon.com

www.lalaniandco.com

www.wildpressjuice.com

www.swatlondon.com

ABOUT THE GUEST

Ravinder Bhogal is a food writer, restaurateur, cook, journalist, and stylist. Born in Kenya to Punjabi

parents, Ravinder moved to South London with her family when she was 7. Her mixed heritage

background blends deliciously with her natural passion for food and cooking, and her work and food

spans flavours and culinary traditions from the Far East, India & South Asia, the Middle East, East

Africa, and Britain. Ravinder often cites the celebration of immigrant cuisine as her cooking style.

Ravinder first came to prominence in 2005 when she won the TV cooking competition, The F Word,

judged by Gordon Ramsay and Angela Hartnett. She opened her first restaurant Jikoni in

Marylebone, London in September 2016.Ravinder has written several cookbooks and writes a

regular monthly column for the FT Weekend.

Instagram: @cookinboots

ABOUT THE HOST

Anna Barnett displayed an enthusiastic interest in food, cooking (and especially eating) early in life;

eagerly joining her nan in the kitchen to observe and learn the traditional baking, ingredients, and

recipe techniques that would prove to serve her in the future. After a number of years working in TV

production and fashion, Anna’s natural culinary passion and energy led to a series of supper clubs,

pop-up restaurants, and professional catering. Subsequently, Anna released her debut cookery book

‘Eat the Week’ in 2015 and spent several years writing ‘The Reluctant Vegetarian’ blog for The

Independent newspaper as well as contributing to Vogue. For over a year and a half Anna wrote the

food pages for Grazia magazine, and now has a column writing for The Evening Standard online

where she shares recipes and food & travel recommendations, as well as interviewing some of the

world’s most eminent chefs.

Instagram: @annabarnettcooks

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