Chef, Entreprenuer, Philanthropist …..
I first ran into Poonam during a school summer fair ! Ever the professional, Poonam spent many hours helping reinvent and organise a ‘food stall’ that she was wasn’t directly responsible for. Poonam had generously donated an incredible amount of food and the stall turned out to be a huge success ! We got chatting during the event and bonded over our common love for culture and food. Kind, vibrant and reliable… Poonam’s number is definitely on my speed dial
Born in Nairobi , brought up in London, Poonam had a happy and diverse upbringing. With a degree in law, Poonam worked with charitable institutions, alongside her father’s restaurant business for several years. Poonam then moved on to working with her husband’s property business, which was perfect while her sons were still little. The business suffered during the downturn, which coincided with Poonam’s decision to join the burgeoning family restaurant business full time and take on additional responsibilities. It was an easy transition for Poonam, who had gained enough knowledge and experience, from spending hours as a child in the kitchen, observing and helping her parents prepare exotic and elaborate meals.‘ I still find myself the happiest in the kitchen, creating a new dish or styling a food plate for our clients ’.
Poonam is extremely proud of what her family has achieved and they are her inspiration. Despite several set backs, Poonam has immense confidence in what she is capable of achieving.
Chef, Entreprenuer, Mum, Food Consultant, Event organiser…..Poonam is the modern day renaissance woman.
Who is your hero ?
How has your past experiences influenced your present ?
Made me more resilient, I take knock downs in life as a challenge and draw strength from them. When my family first came to this country from East Africa we had nothing. My father had to work in a factory to support his family. This was a stark contrast from having a high standard of living, as a hotelier with hundreds of employees in Kenya. Through all this he never lost his sense of humour, taught us to keep smiling, be generous and value what we had. We then grouped together as a family and built the very successful brand ‘ Madhus ’.
During the global recession, I lost a lot of investments and property abroad, but thanks to my fathers philosophy, I’m still moving ahead with lots of positivity despite having to start over again. I learnt very early in life, it’s not about how much money you make, it’s the journey and experience to get to your goal that counts. Life has enriched me with amazing experiences and the journey so far has been brilliant.
Your favourite cuisine and restaurant
My favourite cuisine is of course Indian. My favourite restaurant at the moment apart from Madhu’s is Coya. I love the fresh flavours in Peruvian dishes.
Your favourite comfort food
Your secret london
No real secret but if I get time over the weekend I like to go to Maltby Street Farmers Market which has amazing produce and not as over whelming as other London food markets.
Biggest achievement so far
Having my two boys, getting ‘ Madhus ‘ into Harrods and catering for HRH Prince Charles
Where do you see yourself in 10 years ?
Handing over Madhu’s to my nephew and restricting my work to overseeing special projects with him. I would like to see my husband’s property business flourish again. I would like to take my foot off the paddle, travel more and do some more voluntary/charity work with homeless, substance misuse clients and women’s rights.
3 must have ingredients in your kitchen cupboard
Salt, chilli and garlic !
Top 3 things on your bucket list
Visit Vietnam, Oysters and Wine in Cape Town, explore South America.
A book your currently reading
Favourite beauty product
Clarins beauty balm which is a great moisturizer for my skin
What do you do for relaxation ?
I sing old bollywood songs ….badly Lol !! I like going for a walk down the river to clear my mind, I always think better after a stroll down by the Thames.
Favourite family holiday destination
Saint Geran Mauritius.
A favourite family heirloom
My fathers ring.
Your biggest extravagance
The upcoming wedding of my niece…
Best advice you’ve been given
Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Follow the link to Poonam’s 3 Simple Recipes
Photo Credits – Charlotte Krag @ www.charlottekrag.com