THE BEST PART OF COOKING? THE SMILES OF MY GUESTS. 动手做餐饭最棒的是什么？是食客们享受的表情和沉醉的模样.
Reshma Kahn, born in Mumbai, has been in Beijing for more than three years now, and she cannot imagine her life anywhere else. After 4 years spent in Anping – city in Hebei known for its metal wire mesh in China and around the world – she arrived in Beijing with a luggage full of dreams and Indian recipes. And she has literally been living her dream since then – she is now a widely recognised ambassador of Indian cuisine.
出生在孟买的Reshma Kahn已经在北京生活了三年多，她无法想象再去别的地方生活。搬来北京之前，她在河北安平生活了四年，那个城市以丝网而闻名世界。四年后她带着一行李箱的梦想和印度食谱来到北京。从那时起，她真正开始实现自己的梦想 – 现在她毋庸置疑是印度美食的形象大使。
Is cooking part of your background?
My family owns restaurants back in India, so as a kid I spent long hours with seasoned chefs learning from them and… peeling and chopping carrots! I learnt things the hard way – but I was so lucky to get access to precious secrets chefs would never share with anyone outside their kitchen! So, to answer your question, I’ve never attended any cooking school, but being in a kitchen has always been part of my life.
How is the reception in Indian cuisine in China?
Chinese people are normally not open to Indian cuisine as they don’t really like to experiment. They hear somewhere it’s spicy, and, given they don’t eat spicy food, they are not willing to try. Of course, it’s completely different if they were exposed to foreign cultures before – this would make them more daring and open. Foreigners love Indian cuisine, come to my classes, love the recipes and even cook Indian food for their friends and family!
What’s in a cooking class?
Of course a recipe. Students get their hands dirty – literally with ingredients and spices. But it’s much more than that. During each class I share a story, the history behind the dish. And I also love to share tips about how to use spices being more aware of their medical power. And you should see how they take notes – they are very surprised. Normally a class is around 3 hours, so they have time to learn more about Indian cuisine, cook their dish, and enjoy it.
Is Beijing a source of inspiration for you?
Beijing is such an amazing and vibrant city! There are so many interesting people and I feel there is room for everyone to express themselves. When I moved here after having spent 4 long years in Hebei province, I felt a good vibe and realised right away something good would come out of my time here. Turns out something good comes out of my oven every single day!
What is an Indian private table?
I love to design private events for my customers. It’s not only about catering – I also put a story behind every single party. I love to set up the table, choose the soundtrack, create a certain atmosphere. As a trained designer and an historian by major, I love to combine my different skills in the same project. People are not looking for Indian food only, they want a lifestyle experience.
我很喜欢给客人设计私人宴请。这不仅仅是提供饮食服务 – 我会为每个宴请设计一个主题。我喜欢设计餐桌的摆设，选择背景音乐，并营造出一种特定的氛围。作为一名接受过专业培训的设计师和历史专业的毕业生，我喜欢把不同的技巧融合到同一个项目里。毕竟顾客不只期待印度美食，他们还希望能够体验印度的生活方式。
What’s your forte?
I think my Biryani. Biryani is a dish cooked with lamb and a lot of spices. The lamb is covered with rice and cooked in the oven in its own steam. It’s a very traditional dish in India, and one of the specialties in our restaurants when I was young. My secret is putting a little bit of myself in the dish – there is my love for my family and culture and my passion for good food.
应该是我的印度香饭吧。这道菜用羊肉和大量的香料做成。羊肉上覆盖着香米，在锅里闷熟。这是道传统的印度菜，也是我儿时在家庭餐馆里最常见的特色菜之一。我的秘笈是把自己全身心地投入到这道菜里 – 这里面包含着我对家人、文化及美食的热爱。
What do you eat if you don’t feel like cooking?
Being a Muslim, I have very restricted food choices so I end up eating at Pakistani or Indian restaurants all the time. But we have no restrictions when it come to desserts so this is where I can really satisfy my cravings! In Beijing I really love Sweet Tooth Bakery – their chocolate cheese cakes are simply divine!
作为穆斯林，我有严格的饮食规定，所以我一般都去巴基斯坦或印度餐厅。但是我们对甜食没什么规定，所以我可以放纵自己大快朵颐。在北京我爱极了Sweet Tooth Bakery，她家的巧克力芝士蛋糕简直就是人间美味！
What do you see in your future?
I see lots of cooking classes as they are the best way to share my culture and my recipes. I also see lots of events as I can completely express myself in coordinating different aspects of the eating experience. I can see a bright future for me in Beijing, and lots of delicious recipes.
Reshma and I met over a smoothie and clicked right away: we both share the love for Indian cuisine, for a well-set dining tble and for being able to broaden your own horizons. And while I can’t wait to try her recipes – she promised we would have dinner together sometime soon – I do recommend you get in touch with her if this article made you drool!
我们喝着果昔一拍即合：我们都热爱印度料理，热爱精心布置的餐桌，还热爱能够扩展眼界的感觉。我等不及去尝试她的食谱了 – 她承诺我们很快就会一起吃饭 – 我也建议流口水的你快去跟她联系吧！
Reshma Kahn, di Mumbai, una volta arrivata a Pechino ha deciso di fare del suo meglio per condividere la sua cultura con persone provenienti da tutto il mondo. I suoi strumenti di lavoro sono pentole e spezie. Con l’aiuto del marito Reshma cucina per eventi privati, tiene lezioni su tikka e curry ed e’ felice. Reshma e’ la prova vivente di come noi siamo artefici del nostro destino.
For the chat with Reshma Kahn I was delighted to wear:
T-shirt T恤: Uniqlo
sunglasses 太阳镜: Ray-Ban
bag 包包: Chanel
Pictures of us together were taken with my vintage iPhone. For all the other pictures special thanks to Reshma.
Translation by Vivian Zhou.