‘Travel is the best education’- Madhur Jaffrey

–Exclusive interview by Usha Pudukkotai

One of India’s   most admired voices on Indian food, MADHUR JAFFREY is set to appear at the upcoming Jaipur Literature Festival.  She’s an award-winning actress and bestselling cookery author has appeared in over 20 films, including Merchant Ivory’s Heat and Dust, and written over 15 cookery books.

In an exclusive interview, we chat to her about her exciting career she fell into by happy accident and is pursuing full-time with great enthusiasm.

You will be joining us in Toronto for the ‘Jaipur Literature Festival’. What can the audiences expect from you?

 It depends on the questions I get asked! It could range anywhere from my early life, travel, my books, recipes. I am excited about my latest book Madhur Jaffrey’s Instantly Indian Cookbook: Modern and Classic Recipes for the Instant Pot®. It’s the first book that I’ve done which is gadget-based.

These days people are into ‘health-food’ and conscious about their diet.  What is your advice to health food enthusiasts?

All my work is about healthy cooking and healthy eating. In fact, I grow my own vegetables in my garden. Even this morning I cooked a breakfast with ingredients from my own home-based plants. It’s yummy and delicious.

What is your favourite food?

I am extremely happy with ‘Daal Chawal’ or ‘Kadhi Chawal’.  I usually prefer vegetarian food. However, occasionally I like the Northern ‘goat curry’ if it’s well made.

You are a successful entrepreneur and businesswoman. Any tips for women who want to excel in their chosen careers?

Just do anything that you are passionate about. You will enjoy your work. I am still working full time because it keeps me excited. Find something that you really care about. I love good food. I got hijacked into this career totally by accident.  I enjoy what I am doing because I am passionate about it.

Being a role model for many women yourself, do you have any one who’s been your source of inspiration?

Many women have been my role models. Even women who are painters. 🙂 When I left India the position of women was not so great. Coming to America gave me a certain advantage. Even today, women are not at the top of the ladder. At any given point, you have so many things going.

Having said that, one of my role models is Marlon Brando, even though he’s a guy.

Is there a favourite destination, from all the travelling that you have been doing?

I believe travel is the best education. You learn so much, it’s very exciting. I collect a lot of recipes during my travels. I borrow some techniques and add my own flair to it, to suit my tastes.

Recently, I went to the South of India, I met people from Coorg. I got total exposure to the region of Kodagu. India is such a huge country; you learn something new from each visit. Even the temples prepare food with old, traditional recipes, which has been used for hundreds of years and the taste is awesome.

Thank you Madhur! See you at Jaipur Li Fest! 


The inaugural Jaipur Literature Festival festival is coming to the Distillery District next month from September 27-29.

Originating in India, this festival is the world’s largest free event of its kind. Over the past decade it has welcomed over one million book-lovers and hosted close to 2000 speakers including the Dali Lama and Oprah.

Making its Canadian debut in Toronto, this celebration of literature and the power of dialogue will be unlike anything the city has seen before. The festival will feature a diverse lineup of award-winning writers, actors, culinary artists (because what is a festival in Toronto without some delectable cuisine!?), activists, and more! The full roster can be found at :http://jlflitfest.org/toronto



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