Anjula Devi, chef, Anjula Devi Authentic Indian Cooking School

The Staff Canteen
Anjula Devi

Anjula Devi discusses her role as Chef at Anjula Devi Authentic Indian Cooking School and her own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Anjula Devi

Place of work: Anjula Devi Authentic Indian Cooking School

Role: Chef

Follow her on Twitter: @Anjuladevi

Bio: Anjula is one of the UK’s most celebrated Indian chefs, founder of her eponymous cooking school, a champion of authentic and traditional Indian cooking, Brand Ambassador for the world’s largest Indian food company TRS Foods, winner of a prestigious BBC Good Food Bursary award and founder of her own brand – ‘Route 207’.  

Chef Skills

Anjula Devi takes us through her personal experiences whilst being in the Culinary Industry. These key skills that young Chefs and industry professionals learn as part of their basic training.

How long have you been in this role?

 I founded my own cooking school and Indian food business just over three years ago. In that time I have had a lot of fun, and learned a huge amount about running my own business. Recently I was honoured to be appointed as a guest chef at Leiths School of Food and Wine. 

What do you find most rewarding about teaching?

 I absolutely love spending time with Indian food enthusiasts (and to be honest, people who simply love food). It gives me a great buzz when I can show them a new cooking technique or recipe which they have never seen before, or when we work with an ingredient which they haven’t used before. For me it’s all about teaching people to make authentic Indian dishes which they can replicate; so it’s a great feeling when I get a call or e-mail excitedly telling me that a client has successfully recreated a dish at home. 

What are your ultimate top five tips for someone looking to start a career in the industry?

 My top five tips for the first few years in this industry would be:  
1. Follow your food passion.
2. Try to spend most of your time and energy doing what you do best.
3. Seek out and learn everything you can from those who inspire you most.
4. The harder you work the more successful you are likely to be.
5. Continually search for your point of difference and personal identity as a  chef. Over the course of time, it is the last one of these (your point of difference and personal identity) which can really set you apart from the rest. 

How important would you say further education is in this industry?

 I have learned in life that there are many different ways to be successful. What is most important is your appetite for learning. Each day really is ‘a school day’  in this industry, so I encourage you to start every day with this approach.   

What are you looking out for on a CV or in an interview if someone was applying to work with you?

Of course, there are some basics – a CV should be well formatted and show relevant experience. What really creates an impact for me, is if someone can show their appetite and passion for learning new things and successfully taking on new experiences. 

What would you advise for someone looking to follow in your footsteps?

My number one piece of advice is ‘be yourself and don’t follow the crowd’.

If you could go back and do anything differently would you?

If I had my time over again, I would have founded my own business much earlier. I definitely have made mistakes, but each one has made me even more determined.

Any other tips from a cookery school perspective?

Enjoy spending time with different people. Every single person you meet can teach you something valuable, so teach and learn with a smile on your face.

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The Staff Canteen

Editor 16th February 2017

Anjula Devi, chef, Anjula Devi Authentic Indian Cooking School