Watching my mum cook for our extended family would fascinate me. At the tender age of 6, I would stand on a stool and help her roll the chapattis. Just being in the kitchen with my mum imbedded skills and cooking techniques that no culinary school could teach. My interest for cooking was taking shape. Later in life this interest turned into a passion for creating and recreating authentic recipes from my childhood and exploring new world cuisine. This passion for cooking took me from an aspiring young home cook to…
fast forward 25yrs…
A successful Specialist Vegan/Vegetarian Chef,
Restaurateur, National and International
Events Caterer, Businesswomen, a wife and a proud mother of four amazing daughters!
How it all began...
I still remember making my first Kachori...
As a young woman, I would always be trialling new recipes, cooking something or another. I would take something new I make into work. This one fine day I took some kachoris (spiced crushed pea balls filled in a flaky pastry) to work and one of my co-workers gave one to the director to taste... a week later he comes into my office and asks me if I wouldn't mind making some for the next board meeting luncheon. Feeling incredibly excited, I proudly made 40 kachoris and took them to work presented on a platter with some chutney. They went down a treat! The catering company asked me to supply kachoris and a couple of other dishes for their corporate events. My first side hustle took shape and twice a week I would get up at 4 am, complete the order, and box them for delivery. By the way, we didn't have a car, and I had a 1-year-old baby girl, so I borrowed my dad's car twice a week. This side hustle increased my monthly income and it was a godsend! We purchased our first car, £200 a red Datsun Sunny. Later that year, we managed to secure a mortgage on our first home. 3years later in1995, I had my first real business opportunity and life took me to a crossroads. I had to make some serious decisions and take some risks as I knew that this was the only way I could give my passion for cooking a proper direction. I chose to open my own small snack shop....The decision was made and Surti Foods was born. From this, I opened my first catering unit as I had started building quite a name in the catering scene. This led to the opening of a retail snack shop in a new shopping mall. Then 15 years later my ultimate dream and my most challenging of all ventures came to fruition... my Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurant, Surti by Chef D.
I have encountered and overcome life’s toughest challenges and times where many would have given up. I carried on and persevered, going over and beyond. Building a business in the Veg food industry was extremely difficult in the ‘90s. The passion to create and recreate authentic and fusion cuisine alongside holding on to my morals and ethics was becoming a financial challenge but I turned it around and made it my super power! I had a gift and I was creating the most amazing cuisine which attracted the real food connoisseurs. The appreciation for my food gave me a deep sense of pride that fuelled my passion and continued forward. Through thick and thin, I never caved into the ruthless world of Business. Here I was, an independent self-made Businesswoman, juggling home life and a young family, this eventually took its toll on my health. I ignored so many signs and continued to suppress them. Keeping my business afloat and always rising to the next challenge was a 24/7 continuous commitment. The family would say, slow down you need a break, you need to take time out for yourself, look after yourself, and my answer was, "yes let me just complete this project… or as soon as this wedding season is over, I will sort myself out..."
"You're not ruthless enough to be in Business"
"You won't be successful as a Veg food business"
I let them say what they wanted to...
I never cut corners! I know I will never be rich, but I sleep well at night! Holding on to ethics and morals was my strength.
life in the industry...
The turning point!
AND... finally i had to make some choices...
One chapter closes...
I embark on my new journey...
The wake-up call came in 2017, when I lost my sister, my best friend, the backbone of our family, to an illness she was not technically supposed to have… her lifestyle, her diet, her mindset, everything about her just did not fit the criteria.
The grief, the loss was unfathomable.
I was the one who neglected myself. Even she would tell me off for working silly hours, putting on so much weight, not eating at the right times... my life was nowhere near normal... Why all of a sudden did this happen to her? The grief turned to anger and confusion turned into questions… so I asked myself where have we gone wrong? Where did all these ailments stem from? Partially neglect, ignorance, and denial, but mostly the lack of proper knowledge. There was so much we were doing wrong. Finding the answers became an obsession as I realised the root of the problem was the food we are eating! it's not doing its job of nourishing and repairing our bodies. I had to know more, so I dived into the contradicting world of nutrition. We were already vegetarians since birth, and I had a career in food, so what more could there be that I don’t already know?
Right?... I was so wrong!
I found myself falling out of passion for my business and my restaurant was no longer giving me any joy...
The time finally came to take a step back from my Catering and Restaurant Business and I made a tough decision in 2020 not to reopen my Restaurant as I felt my passion had shifted from just creating delicious food to creating Healthy delicious food, I needed to learn more so I decided to continue to research and embark on a new journey into correct Nutrition and Cooking.
After much in-depth research, something was still missing.
Obtaining all this knowledge about food combinations and nutrition, I learnt that this still wasn’t enough to ensure the food we consume will nourish us properly. No matter how expensive, organic, clean, or fresh our ingredients are, it’s all useless if in the end, our cooking equipment and method destroys the nutrition! If that's not bad enough, the wrong cooking equipment leaches harmful toxins back into our foods!
If we don’t have the correct equipment, these ingredients are merely exciting our palate as overcooked, over-seasoned and toxic junk. All this type of food does is filling us up without nourishing us in the way it was supposed to. This lack of nutrition, processed food and toxicity builds up over time and can prevent us to function in the way we used to or are supposed to. Unfortunately, for some people, this damage can trigger life-threatening diseases quicker for them than others, and many find out when it’s too late… To find the right solution to this problem, I had to search further and wider into another world of food, not just the best ingredients but the correct cooking equipment!
Just the correct combination of food is not the only answer!
Healthy Nutrition... Needs the correct cooking method too!
Whilst my research continued into healthy foods, I realised that learning about the healthiest cooking equipment went hand in hand too. This was the only way I could justify giving a healthy meal its correct meaning. This opened up a whole new area of interest. What I learnt here was nothing less than life-changing... the results shook me to my core! I felt perplexed obtaining all this information and facts. I didn’t know how to feel. Glad to now know the truth or saddened with the fact that so many of us are unaware of the dangers of using the wrong cooking equipment? Have we been misled? mis-sold? misinformed?
What I am certain about is that as a result, using and continuing to use the wrong cookware is contributing to so many lifestyle diseases that so many of us are battling every day.
Nevertheless, I had found the missing link!
With 25 years of cooking experience, I thought I knew all about food and cooking. The harsh reality was that I had not even touched the surface.
What we all think is safe to cook in is what the cookware companies want us to think. We are all victims of the mass marketing strategies conceived by the large manufacturers to make us purchase everything they promote as the new fad in cooking equipment. Over the years, we have been fed lies just like what we are learning about the large pharmaceuticals and their lies. With the hundreds of so-called best cookware out there, my work was cut out for me. I had to read all the small print and sift through websites where they claimed that their cookware is safe to use and have health benefits. Only to find in the small print that it says otherwise! So the following pans: Teflon, Nonstick, PFOA’s non-PFOA’s, Aluminium, Granite coated, Anodised, Ceramic coated, Iron cladded, 18/10 SS, Heavy bottom, and the list goes on… none of these were the best after all!
My search for the Ultimate Best of the Best!
A special feeling when you find a company with genuine ethics morals and an ethos! Finally a company I can resonate with.
My quest served its purpose and i find my passion again !
This quest to learn more about the best nutrition and the best cooking equipment has taken a new direction and opened up a whole new journey...
One where I can help others... My new mission and Passion!
I finally found The Rolls Royce of the cooking equipment world!
Now a year later, I am extremely pleased to have the opportunity of teaming up as a Tutor/Trainer and a Chef Ambassador with this global multi-award-winning 75yr old company, who have magnificently designed, crafted, and engineered the world’s best and most superior specialist health cooking system, made of 316Ti Titanium 'Surgical' Steel.
This collaboration has given me the right tools to take my mission of promoting healthy high nutritionally dense ingredients and cook them in this specialist health cooking system. This perfect combination of ingredients, skills, knowledge and equipment ensures optimum nutrition, taking each recipe to another level, elevating each ingredient with the taste of its real flavours, and quality in every single delicious recipe I create.
I can't wait to cook up my delicious food for you again!
Finally, my new journey begins...
The decision to close Surti's was too difficult, but things had to change, I needed a new direction.
The deep sadness of losing a loved one left me with so many questions.
Now I have learned how to channel that emotion into helping others. I can still continue doing what I love doing but with a better purpose.
I have embarked on a journey, a mission, to promote healthy cooking back into our homes and our lives, not just with the best ingredients but the best equipment too. I am humbled that life has given me a chance to combine my skills to share this knowledge with you through my New Cooking Academy...
Cooking with complete confidence that we have got it right! Only then can we ensure that our bodies are nourished in the best possible way.
'You are welcome to join me, Chef D, in...