I am a third generation born in East Africa. My Maternal grandparents were born in Kenya, my mother was born in Uganda, and I was born in Uganda. My paternal grandparents came from Gujarat in India, my father was born in Uganda. I am the eldest of the 4 siblings. We lived in a small village in Uganda and I went to school in Kampala and stayed with my paternal grand parents. During the holidays when we went home,my mother entertained us by teaching us how to cook, sew, knit, crochet and embroidery. We had to make all our snacks as there were no cafes nearby, so I learnt to make cakes and breads too.
I did my elementary school in Uganda and my high school in Kenya. My parents bought a farm and moved to Kenya. I went to a boarding school. On the farm we had no shortage of eggs, milk, cream, butter and ghee. We grew a lot of vegetables and fruit. When in season we had a lot of corn and wheat too. My mom made new friends and was introduced to a lot of different foods and vegetables including marmalades and jams. From junior high to high school I studied home economics and learnt to cook different foods and baking. After high school I went to London, England. In England I was introduced to a lot of different cuisines and met a lot of people from different cultures. We exchanged recipes and learnt about each others cultures.
I moved to Canada in early seventies and stayed with my maternal grand parents till I got married, and learnt some more from her. What I did not learn from my mum, I learnt from my grandmother and mother-in-law.
My husband comes from Kenya, my mother-in-law was born in Kenya, my father-in-law came from Pakistan. My in-laws ran a restaurant in Nairobi called Curry Pot. I learnt some things from them. My brother-in-law is married to an Irish woman, from whom I learnt to celebrate Christmas and Easter. My father-in-law’s family is from Pakistan and Ceylon and I have learnt about their culture and traditions as well.
I have traveled half the world to be in Canada and on the way picked up a lot of different cuisines.
I have a daughter and a son and I was a stay at home mum, so I started catering from home and made cornish pasties, chicken pies and cakes, (plain, birthday and wedding). I also start catering for a deli.I made cornish pies and chicken pies for them. In mid eighties I opened a restaurant called Cafe Nairobi in partnership with my sister-in-law where we did a lot of catering for private parties and weddings. I then joined the school board and worked in their Lunch program. I also went to Vancouver Vocational College and took a chef’s course. I taught Indian cooking in the evening at an adult learning centre in Vancouver. I retired from the board and opened a restaurant called Heavenly Bites where we did Tiffin’s and take out, and catered for parties. I also supplied a deli with samosas.
I am now retired. I have a daughter who is a dietician and a pastry chef and she helps with my recipes.