Chef Garima Poddar to start cooking classes for university students away from home

By Amneet Kaur

A 22-year-old Indian celebrity chef is to start cooking classes for students away from home who are struggling to cook healthy and easy food.

Garima Poddar will hold classes in the kitchen of The Maltings, student accommodation in Birmingham.

She said many students told her how much they struggle to eat homemade food when they move away from home, either because they don’t know how to do it, budget constraints or takeaways are a more convenient option.

Chef Garima Poddar

Garima being herself an international student at University College of Birmingham (UCB), staying at The Maltings, said because of her notoriety she gets many students coming over for dinner to taste her food.

She added: “Students here at The Maltings have tried my food and they like what I make, they come over every evenings and they say I wish you did cooking classes because they find online recipes difficult to follow.

“Even for parties, we have a lot of parties here but people would just buy snacks rather than making them at home, which is very easy and cheap to do.”

Garima came up with easy two ingredients recipes for students and she wants to teach them what they can store, how long they can store it for, what is good for their health, what is nutritious food and how to balance carbs and protein.

She added: “Another thing that only a chef can teach you is how to obtain good quality at a cheap price. We know how to scan the market very well.

“See I would never buy my parsley, mint or my coriander, I grow them; so I cut down on that expense and it’s just easier to have a plant for a while rather than just going to buy a bunch of coriander every time.”

Garima considers cooking as a life skill, she thinks it is essential to know how to cook as we eat every day.

She stressed cooking healthy food at home can reduce health issues and affect your mood.

“I’m not telling you to come and make fine dining dishes with me or to become a Michelin star, it’s about the basics of cooking,” she added.

“For example you should know how to cook your rice, when your rice is cooked and that it shouldn’t be burnt at the bottom. You should know what the difference between baking powder and baking soda is.”

The classes will be taking place every Wednesday, starting from May. The exact date is yet to be decided but more information will be available on social media.

The young chef has five years’ experience of conducting cooking classes and she won International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM) Young Chef India schools.

She was also praised by renowned chefs, Sanjeev Kapoor and Gordon Ramsay, and has received many awards like the Top 100 Women Achievers of India Award in 2016.