I was born and brought up in Mumbai, India and moved to Tonbridge in 2017 after following my heart! I married my long-term boyfriend, an Englishman, after more than seven years of dating each other.
We are now happily settled here, and although I am a communications consultant by profession, cooking has always been a big part of my life and my number one passion.
After loads of encouragement from friends and family, I decided to start my business, Masala Pantry, to teach Indian cooking.
The concept is simple: I teach clients how to cook authentic Indian food using easily available ingredients found in supermarkets locally. I give private cooking lessons in the comfort of people’s own kitchen, using their own pots and pans, so they can be confident in recreating what they’ve learnt.
I had been toying with the idea of mixing my passion for food into a profession, and so I briefly joined a food and drink PR agency in London, only to soon realise that I needed to do something more. So I quit my well-paid job in order to enter the unchartered territories of running my own business.
I created my own website, logo and marketing material and voila – Masala Pantry was born.
At present, I mainly offer private lessons and catering for groups of four to six. But I would love in the future to do public pop-ups and also participate in local food festivals. I promote myself through Instagram, but word of mouth recommendations are growing, too.
People love Indian cuisine and its many different layers of flavour, and with Masala Pantry I set out to shed light on how easy and simple Indian cooking can be.
Another aspect of my teaching is to bust a few myths. For example, not a lot of people here know that there is no such thing as ‘curry powder’ in India, or a ‘Madras’, for that matter!
People can enjoy a personalised lesson that incorporates their particular food preferences, and I always ensure that all recipes can be made with allergies and likes and dislikes in mind.
Across countries and cultures, food always brings people together, and my lessons are no different. Friends, colleagues and families, including both parents and children, can enjoy these sessions, acquiring some culinary skills as well as spending quality time together.
My recipes are largely influenced by the medium spiced, tangy flavours of authentic home-cooked meals in Mumbai. I love chicken and fish curries as much as I enjoy my vegan and vegetarian meals.
In my family, we eat meat only on weekends as a treat. On weekdays, my mum mainly cooked veggies. This was just how it was. It was only in the last couple of years that I learnt that it is labelled as vegan/vegetarian and that it is super popular!
If I had to describe the essence of a Masala Pantry cooking class in three words it would be ‘warm, homely and 100 per cent authentic’.
All details about Sana’s lessons and private catering can be found at masalapantry.co.uk
Instagram @Masalapantry Facebook @masalapantryuk
and Twitter @masalapantry