Who said you had to go to culinary school to be a chef?
A Mauritian girl who grew up in South London and traveled extensively during her early years tells us how she fell in love with food and about her venture Taste Mauritius. Selina Periampillai, is a passionate and self-taught cook who specialises in the exotic and tantalising flavours of Mauritian cuisine, in London.
Her inclination towards food started by watching her mother make delicious dishes in the kitchen while she tried to remake some of them successfully for her family.
“I took Food Technology when I was in school, and it was my favourite subject” tells Selina. “I still remember trying to make my first cheesecake in the class and everyone had eaten it before I got home.”
You have to build up a good base of customers, so word of mouth and social media was very important
Selina started TM when she started cooking with her mother in the kitchen while learning Mauritian family recipes. recipes, “I then started a food blog because I realised there were not many places you could get good quality Mauritian home-style food in London.”
The blog led to supper clubs where she would host about 10 people, which transcended to pop ups, to catering to cookery classes. Her food was loved by everyone and this kept her motivated to come up with innovative ways to connect with people. And today Taste Mauritius brings cookery classes, supper clubs, pop ups and also private catering to those who love their food across London.
Being in London she doesn’t forget her Mauritian roots and cooks up some of the authentic dishes from her land. She even reciprocates some of her homely dishes in her kitchen. ”I always resort back to my Mauritian feel good dishes, like a Cari Poulet, or whip up a prawn Rougaille (spicy creole sauce) which you have with chapattis, quick and fulfilling!”
Anyone who knows me would be able to tell you if I don’t have food I can be quite miserable
Building a start up requires patience and perseverance and we asked her what were the challenges she faced initially. ”You have to build up a good base of customers, so word of mouth and social media was very important, as was it to get good reviews.”
She believes in quality food and admits that food is something that governs her moods!
“Anyone who knows me would be able to tell you if I don’t have food I can be quite miserable! I love it, reading about it, cooking, eating, talking about it, I have become quite addicted.”
She does of course keep herself updated with what the celebrity chefs are up to, but most of her inspiration comes from her friends, her parents, in restaurants, street food, social media, blogs…
Talking about her favourite dishes she says, ” I dont think I pin it down, but would have to be Mauritian dhal puri (popular street food wraps filled with curry and pickle) , mums cari poulet (although she doesnt make it for me anymore!) and some truly simple comfort food a plate of spaghetti bolognese, extra parmesan cheese and a glass of white wine.”
Doing something that you absolutely love is something only the brave hearts and passionate can manage and Selina is definitely one of them!