"The story of the book is a fascinating one," says Panjabi. "I had tried to introduce proper regional Indian food to the hotels, but I was told, 'No one will order them.' I was convinced they would, and put real Indian dishes on the menu rather than meat swamped in curry sauce. But they didn't order them. I decided that I had to educate the public about real food before experimenting." So she began research for her book. "I tried all the top publishers in the country, and all of them said there was no market," she says. Did she ever lose faith? "Never," she insists. She guessed the book would appeal to both men and women but in different ways. "I knew curry-making was a macho thing men would want to do at the weekend," she says, whereas, "Women were hesitant to cook curry for dinner parties, as they did not want to get saddled with something they could not do."
Panjabi's first London restaurant, Bombay Brasserie, has been open since 1982; one of her five other London restaurants, Amaya, recently received a Michelin Star.
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