Pitchboard

Celebrate Diwali with Vicky Bhogal and Simon Gregory

On Thursday 19th October, British-born Indian Cookery Writer and Broadcaster Vicky Bhogal is teaming up with Bluebird’s Executive Chef, Simon Gregory, to celebrate Diwali with a feast for all the senses at the iconic Chelsea restaurant. The evening will feature a demonstration by Vicky of treats from her recently released cult cookery book, Cooking Like Mummyji, a Q&A with her and Simon and a lavish banquet fit for a Punjabi prince or princess.

Bluebird is the perfect setting for this unique collaboration in celebration of Vicky’s Indian heritage and British upbringing. Her recently released cookery book, Cooking Like Mummyji is inspired by the Punjabi food that she grew up with, but uses very few, and inexpensive, ingredients, and the framework of techniques is perfectly geared to easily use up what people have in their cupboards and fridges at home. Her recipes are fragrant and delicious, going against the traditional view of Indian food as heavy, the perfect food to celebrate the Diwali, the festival of light with.

Culinary heavyweight Simon Gregory was previously Group Executive Chef for Gordon Ramsay Restaurants before leaving to take over the kitchens at The Ace Hotel in Shoreditch. He has excelled in recreating some of Vicky’s signature dishes to serve at this intimate dinner in one of Bluebird’s most beautiful rooms, with a view of the night sky through its glass skylight. On arrival guests can enjoy one of Vicky’s favourite cocktails underneath the stars before a short but sweet cookery demonstration by her. Diwali is the perfect occasion to dress up with a bit of colour and sparkle, so feel free to get into the celebratory mood, the best outfit will win a signed copy of 'Cooking Like Mummyji!'; There will also be a special edible gift prepared by Vicky for everyone to take home as a memory and guests will be provided with gold pens and red paper to write down their wishes for the coming year and place into an envelope, as Diwali is all about new beginnings and bringing in abundance.

Diners will then tuck into a four-course candlelit feast with BBQ skewers of Chicken Tandoor Style, Prawns and Coriander Green Masala and Dry Spice Paneer, followed by starters of Aloo Tikki, Spinach and Aubergine Pakora and Keema Paratha with Imli Chutney. Guests can share larger dishes of Grilled Lamb Chops, Coconut Fish Dream and Dry Chickpea Sukke Chole, served with rustic Dhal, a traditional Raita, a regal Saffron, Almond and Cracked Black Pepper Rice and homemade Lemon and Red Chilli Pickle, before finishing with a Chia See Falooda for pudding.

There will also be a Q&A session on the evening with Vicky and Simon chaired by Fabio Adler and Tracey Howes of The London Restaurant Network, the leading networking association for hospitality in London, followed by a book signing with Vicky for anyone who wants to purchase her book. The session will ask Vicky about the inspiration behind the collaboration with Simon as well as what it was like growing up as a modern British teenager but still learning to cook at her mother’s side in traditional Indian fashion.

The session will chart the success of Cooking Like Mummyji which was first published to great critical acclaim in 2003, selling out before publication and garnering thousands of loyal fans. Due to changes in the publishing office it was commissioned from, it suddenly fell prematurely out of print for almost 10 years. Unpublished but unforgotten, it unexpectedly spread by word-of- mouth around the world and due to that popular demand this cult status bestseller has finally been stunningly reprinted, this time with glorious newly commissioned food photography, after a long, truly fascinating and inspiring journey back to print after Vicky’s determination to follow her dream to put it back on the shelves for future generations.

Vicky and Simon warmly welcome you to celebrate Diwali recipe by recipe, through heritage, spoonfuls of memories and delicious family food. As she says, "I have often thought it such a shame that the Western world is not let in on the secret of real Indian home cooking, as though it is a sort of long-standing trick, our last remaining jewel. I wrote this to share what we really eat at home, which is much lighter, fresher, healthier and fragrant than that which you find in a typical Indian restaurant and has a vibrant breadth of flavours. A handful of simple spices, like musical notes, can be combined in many different ways to create beautiful melodies".

Event date: Thursday Oct 19, 2017

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