Chef Pallavi Nigam Sahay

Chef Pallavi Nigam Sahay is the author of a renowned book 'The Bhojpuri Kitchen', which celebrates the region's age-old favourite recipes. The chef was also seen on a TV show, 'Amma Superstar' which was aired on channel Living Foodz. She has been featured in 'Kissan Tiffin Time Table' on India Food Network's YouTube channel. She has also worked with industry's kitchen star Sanjeev Kapoor's YouTube channel. She lived in Muscat for a certain period during which she worked as a food columnist for the 'Times Of Oman' while also being featured on their YouTube channel.

Bringing local traditional cuisines to the national as well as the international stage has probably been my greatest contribution till date to the F&B industry. My first book released in 2017, 'The Bhojpuri Kitchen' was well received both in India and abroad. It brought to the front pages of many print and online media the traditional food items from the region and also won the Gourmand Award internationally. I also hosted a 10-day Bhojpuri cuisine fest in Trident BKC that year to further spread awareness of the cuisine which has a wide array of dishes for all kind of audiences – vegetarian, non-vegetarian, for those who have a sweet tooth and also for those who are looking for quick comfort meals as part of their busy weekday menus.

I had a great love for cooking since childhood. I used to lurk around kitchen whole day during Diwali or Holi or someone's birthday or on days when any kind of special meal being prepared, to watch my mom and my chachis preparing food. I started trying out dishes from the age of 12, my first attempt was trying to prepare Pulao for my cousins, actually me and my cousins were the only ones in the house so it was kind of taking advantage of everyone's absence. We were in the joint family and my Dadi used to keep all the precious whole spices in a small room in the house called 'kothri', it was a storage room for grains and pulses and pickles etc. We were not allowed in the room, but that day, in order to prepare Pulao the way mom does, I took the liberty of going inside that room and taking out the whole spices. I'm glad I did it because Pulao came out really well and everyone loved it. Since then there were many trials similar to that. I started cooking more frequently after my wedding, mostly Indian, mainly Bihari dishes after learning from my Saasu Ma. At the same time, I was working as research analyst in an Insurance firm, it was my first year and I did not like it a bit. Sitting in those morning meetings I used to think of preparing something special for dinner. I was getting frustrated and finally one day with my family's support I quit.

Then I decided to pursue my love for cooking. So I went to Italy to pursue a culinary diploma, after completing the course I worked in a trattoria there as professional training was part of the course. After coming back from Italy, I joined Hyatt for training. Meanwhile, Kunal, my husband, got a job offer in Muscat so we shifted. I started writing a recipe column for 'Times of Oman'. Then we started doing recipe videos for 'Times of Oman' YouTube channel. That did very well. Enquiries started coming and I also started conducting culinary classes, both at home and at forums. Then we decided to do YouTube videos in India, so I approached Sanjeev Kapoor's Khazana channel for YouTube videos, after doing many videos we did a proper show named 'Working Women's Kitchen'.

I got an offer from India Food network to be part of their renowned show named 'Kissan Tiffin Time Table'. Meanwhile, I was also working on my book. Book got published by Westland in November and on one very beautiful December morning I woke up and saw the email from Living Foodz. They had contacted for the show. This is how it all happened!