Paediatric Sleep Physiologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children,London
My cooking stories began when I was a child.Born and brought up in a traditional joint family tharavadu at Pala,Kerala where people in the family at that period of late 70s and 80s believed that boys have no role in kitchen and they shouldn’t be spending time in Orapura and Chayippu-a large area of the house which was mainly managed and led by female members and domestics in the family where male members hardly entered. As a child I had shown less interest in sports and games with my peers rather I prefered to observe and help my mum in her wonderful cooking and I always got fascinated by the aroma of basic spices and condiments and its different flavours which magically transformed all ingredients into a mouthwatering dish.
When I think of my maternal house in Kanjirappalli-Tomy’s Bunglow,the nostalgic memory and sense of smell comes to my mind is the kitchen and the side courtyard that always had the fragrance of organic Vanilla and Cinnamon that came from Madhaviyamma’s fluffy sponge cakes baked in an old oven in order to welcome us for holidays. My parents encouraged me by providing simple cooking recipies from magazines to try by myself.. I always admired how easily and passionately my amma treated and welcomed guests.She never had to think twice to invite people for a meal.
I remember the first caramel pudding I made under the guidance of my paternal aunt,Mrs Leelamma Mathew who also taught me how to decorate a pudding with caramelised nuts.During those days visiting Leela chechy on summer holidays was my greatest joy as I got full freedom to use her kitchen.She taught me how to make good tea and serve the guests.Leela chechy and aliyan were used to feel proud in itroducing me to their family guests and encouraged me a lot for cooking skills as a child.
Later,after graduation my parents sent me to a cooking school(Divine College of Management Studies at Cochin) for a short course to develop my skill.I did an on job training at La Via Masague,a Spanish restaurant in Barcelona,Spain for 6 months.Thanks to my parents Mrs.Usha Thomas and Mr.Thomas Thekkel for all the love and support.
My 10 year long bachelor life in Barcelona,Spain played an important role too.. lot of my cooking experiments and observations were done in Barcelona and I got the exposure to try and taste different continental specifically Mediterranean cuisine.I was fortunate to have good friends who supported and encouraged me during those days.I was privileged to treat guests from different walks of life at my residence in Barcelona including bishop,priests,civil servants,business people,educators and academicians,families,tourists etc.
I believe that anyone can be a good cook if you have passion ,patience,a little creative mind, encouragement and support from dear ones..