She is often referred to as the Gourmet Goddess. She is also referred to as Martha Stewart of India. But she claims that she is not a chef. Any google on her will definitely defy her own belief to good. A writer, consultant, traveler, media personality with numerous hit TV shows to her name, Karen Anand loves to experiment.
This is the second year that she was in Kolkata with her farmers market. A meeting which was supposed to happen on Saturday afternoon finally got rescheduled to evening. Walking into Taj Bengal was nostalgic as always and reminiscent of wonderful months that I (Anindya) spent here.
It has been a long day for her which was evident as she walked along with us, back from a meeting and she would have a longer next day. Much awaited Farmers market was the next day and still few loose ends needed tightening up.
Read – If you didn’t attend the farmers market what did you miss Kolkata farmers market
One of the disadvantages of not being a professional journalist is the risk of getting intimidated by the personality sitting opposite you and we started our conversation with much apprehension. However, soon it got more comfortable and we realized what a warm person she was and what amazing stories she had to offer from all her years of experience and travels around the world.
So here is a list of a few things one doesn’t know about Karen Anand:
- Jewellery designing – She has been designing jewellery for a long time now. Although there are no plans of opening a jewellery line in the near future but a smile and a twinkle in her eyes meant that there may be some chances in the future.
- Her love – She loves pets and that too dogs. She has a German Shepherd, who is the love of her life, apart from food. She has had dogs as pets for the past 25 years.
- I am not a chef, I am not trained – She has no qualms in saying that she is not a chef. Even though she had trained briefly in the 3 star Michelin restaurant in Paris, Lucas Carton almost 30 years ago, she does not call herself a chef or trained unlike many these days. When she hears that after 3 months training at some institute, people call themselves chef, she is taken aback.
- She cannot roll a roti, phulka or make a paratha – And even though she loves all things rice, she cannot make biryani. A pulao comes very easily to her but claims that her maid can make better biryani.
- Comfort Food– Unlike what most people think that Karen Anand likes all fancy food, her comfort food is anything to do with rice and that too the local ones like ‘ambemohar’ in Maharashtra or a ‘gobindobhog’ in West Bengal. So some rice and yellow dal with pickles, or rice and some soup, simple with a little bit of spice is what lifts her mood at any time.
- Salads anytime – She actually loves salads and experiments with various sauces and dressings, which is evident from her new range of gourmet product with the brand name- ‘Pune Farmers’ Market’.
- Is this my life? yes it is- She was born and brought up in the UK and has appeared for civil service exams in the UK. She wanted to join foreign services, but in those days it was next to impossible to become a civil servant in a foreign country.
- Food happened to her – From giving her civil service exams, to working in Unesco and then studying journalism and working in that industry, food simply happened to her since she loved everything to do with food.
- Whats in your suitcase – She carries her spices whenever she is travelling abroad. Her life savers are some special malabar masala, panch phoron, kolhapuri masala etc. All her spice mixes are from the local region and freshly grounded. She also carries freshly made ginger and garlic paste with a little bit of salt, so that it stays for long when she travels abroad.
- Sweet or Savoury? She used to have a mind block towards everything patisserie. She was never fond of it and hence couldn’t make them too. She was a savoury person. A few years back she tried her hand at the pastry and she has now mastered the art of a few pastries. She can prepare a mean cheese cake in her sleep.
Read – 10 unknown facts about Chef Saransh Goila
How can a meeting be complete with her without a question on food blogging? Her answer was simple – she thinks that the entire food blogging scenario will see a full cycle churn where finally only good quality blogs with great content will survive. The rest will fizzle out.
As she rushes for the last minute preparations, the impression she leaves with us is very simple – The fame, success, media glare is only to be enjoyed as an onlooker and not to get soaked into. We left with a sense of goodness within us, a sense that comes to you when you come across a nice warm human being who is not just successful but is also inspiring people around her at all times to achieve more than they believe.