Barrister turned entrepreneur Nisha Katona, talks about her rise to success, her inspirational recipes and how she has partnered up with Haier the No.1 Global Major Appliance Brand to launch their new Built in Cooking range.
How did you career in cooking begin and what advice would you give to someone who is looking to launch a cookery book or start their own restaurant business?
Nisha: Well, what a lot of people don’t know is that I started my career as a Child Protection Barrister and have always had a passion for cooking. I think it’s very true that anyone born into an immigrant culture is very passionate about their food. It’s one of the few things that you can keep alive, so from when you’re born the smells, the aroma of your culture is something that’s so unique and precious to you.
Food has always been a big part of my life and even though I was a Barrister for 20 years, all the while I taught Indian cookery and wanted to teach and keep these ancient Indian recipes alive. I just thought to myself if I’m so addicted to my food, there must be something in it, I wanted to give something to the British public, cuisine that wasn’t seen on British highstreets and only seen really within Indian homes at mealtimes when the curtains were drawn, and that was really the start of my cooking journey and that was seven years ago, and we are now building our 18th restaurant. I would say if you want to be in the restaurant business really love what you’re going to be doing and think of what will set you apart from others in the industry.
The same goes with launching a cookery book, how will your cookery book be different to other cookery books out there, what is it that makes your recipes that little bit more diverse or interesting.
What do you love about the Haier built-in cooking range and hOn App?
Nisha: Not only is the Haier built-in cooking range intuitive and beautiful, but it’s also ergonomically pleasing. They have mechanisms that allow you to set the right temperature for your specific dish and your food is cooked evenly with wonderful quality.
It also makes things easier when you have a feature like the Haier hOn app that supports your cooking journey every step of the way. The dedicated App allows cooking enthusiasts to sit back and relax and spend more time with family and friends, whilst it sets the temperature, cooks the food and alerts you when it’s finished cooking your food. And with over 200 recipes, you have a lot of dishes to experiment with.
What motivates you when you get up in the morning, how do you start your day?
Nisha: I’ve lived a long time and I realize that the most satisfying way to live is to wake up in the morning and wonder how you can make the lives of those around you better. I built my restaurant so that we could enrich lives in the cities we go to. Every morning I think about how through my food I can do that.
Do you feel the kitchen plays the most important role in a house and why is it so important in using the right appliances when cooking?
Nisha: Absolutely, it’s so critically important to love your kitchen and the appliances around you. When you go into your kitchen, it is a real collaboration between you and your hob or you and your oven. So, it’s important that when you go into your kitchen, you look forward to opening that oven and look forward to interacting with that hob. It sounds mad, but as a chef you need instant heat, you need an oven that cooks your dish evenly, otherwise all your preparation goes to waste. The kitchen plays an integral part in the home, it’s where you gather as a family or a couple or even alone if you’re wanting to enjoy a nice peaceful meal on your own. It’s the place where you also entertain and host parties or gatherings. Your appliances should make your entertainment and cooking journey easy.
Where do you get inspiration from for the recipes you cook?
Nisha: My inspiration, I would say came from my grandmother, my earliest memory is a small kitchen space, with an open-door policy. We came to England at a time when the only bridge between us was food. To make friends we would cook food for people and our kitchen was always open. Those recipes were ancient recipes that only our family cooked, generations after generations. One of the food memories I remember is going to the fish market at 5am and smelling that lovely, sweet smell of pink fish freshly caught, and choosing vegetables from the pavement, touching it. We felt food as children, honoring the food is so important.