Q&A with Cyrus Todiwala at BBC GFS Summer

We met up with the one and only Cyrus Todiwala at BBC Good Food Show Summer where he had plenty of advice for getting the kids interested in cooking!


What would you say is your signature dish?

If in the restaurant, then our signature dish has to be the traditional PARSEE DHAANSAAK. It's been on the menu now for over eighteen years and we cannot remove it!


Who, what or where provides inspiration for your cooking?

Inspiration for me will come from anywhere. Meeting some amazingly skilled Indian Women who may give some of their family secrets, markets, even supermarkets where I see new products, meeting and talking to chefs, photographs, raw materials, farm visits, magazines, books... in short anything and everything inspires me.


Seeing new equipment as well, for example, with trigger off thoughts on what one can do.


What advice would you give to aspiring cooks or chefs?

My first bit of advice to all aspiring chefs that I meet is to tell them to open their eyes and ears and to zip their mouths unless they are asking questions in a proper formatted way. Growth and success will come so long as you can build your tree trunk strong and stable. Patience is the virtue all of us need to exercise.


What is your favourite comfort food or guilty pleasure?

I do have a few. Bacon and Egg Muffin at the Big M at times when you just want a quick good fix. Pizzas and burgers too at timesm and KFC on late nights when we leave hungry and tired.


For comfort at home it has to be a simple Mora Daal Chawal (Parse-style pureed pigeon pea lentils and rice) - but give me beautifully fried eggs and bacon anytime of day or night and I am totally satisfied.


Do you have any tips for getting kids interested in food and cooking?

Plenty! Kids need to be encouraged to do things and for that, parents should take them shopping and ask them questions on how they would cook something. Make them grow things even if you do not have a large garden or house. Make then grow and take responsibility. Take them to markets rather than only shops and stores. Use their help in the kitchen for basic things and make them feel really important for their help and efforts.


Describe your dream dinner party menu:

My ideal party to attend is what I also like doing, and that is to cook lots of snacks and bits, a good assortment, and no main food. It must be filled with lots of friends and family, lots of fun and laughter and people simply graze and enjoy.


Making food like that is also very rewarding as you can make a million tastes come alive.