Dipna Anand is a Celebrity Chef who co-owns the famous 'Brilliant Restaurant' in Southall and is owner of her brand-new restaurant come cafe in Chelsea/Fulham called ‘Dip in Brilliant’ specialising in Punjabi cuisine, showcasing some of her grandfather’s recipes dating back to over 65 years. Author of the 'Beyond Brilliant' recipe book, Dipna guest lectures at The University of West London in the subject of Indian cooking and also runs her own School of Indian Cookery in West London. Dipna carries out food demos, pop-up chef events and is currently on a mission to teach the nation how to cook 'real Indian Food' with her TV show ‘Dip in Kitchen’. Working alongside Restaurant Associates who are part of the Compass group as brand chef for their Punjabi food range, Dipna is now on the brink of creating her own ready meals range as well as set to launch her second cook-book this summer. The chef’s Brilliant Punjabi food range is available at selected events with Wembley SSE Arena, The O2, The ExCel London, Twickenham Rugby Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.1 Which place, or city or country do you most feel at home in?
My most favourite city (after London) is most definitely Mumbai. When I land in Mumbai it’s hard to explain the feeling I get, almost like "I am finally home". It’s the entire cultural vibe of the city, it’s the home of Bollywood (which I love) and to me it’s a very real world, for example fruits and vegetables are sold on the roadsides, there are thousands of street food vendors, people are friendly, Indian festival celebrations fill the city with excitement and its just full of positive energy.
2 What are your proudest achievements?
Winning the personality of the year award at The British Curry Awards in 2014
Training Gordon Ramsay at my restaurant on how to use the tandoor oven for his BBC2 cook along series
Being part of Ramsay’s Best Restaurant Series Releasing two cook-books till date and making my fathers’ dream a reality
Collaborating with Tottenham Hotspur and the Levy Group
3 What inspires you?
It inspires me when I am flooded with emails, messages on social media of individuals congratulating me, wanting to meet me and commending me for the work I do. I am successful because they appreciate my work, this is inspiration for me. I also get inspired when I carry out children’s cookery courses, these children are the future of our industry and when I pass on my knowledge and skills to them, it inspires me to think that one day, like me they will live their dreams too and appreciate all the teaching they have been given.
4 What has been biggest obstacle in your career?
The opening of my restaurant, Dip in Brilliant was a challenge purely because I had never opened up a restaurant of my own and the deadline in which I had to open it within (2 months) was a task in itself. During the time of trying to open up my new place, I had secured many big contracts with other companies, so managing my time posed a big challenge, however with positivity, energy and drive, I managed to jump every hurdle and stay focussed throughout.
5 Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date?
My parents inspire me. My dad is my role model, he is the most hands-on, hardworking individual who is passionate and determined in his field of work. As a child I inspired to be like him and until date I am influenced by his energy and drive, he is my real-life superhero. I get my can-do attitude and willingness to succeed from my mum, her courageousness inspires me every day.
6 What is the best aspect about your current role?
I get to meet lots of people, I get to visit at least two new kitchens every single week and interact with so many chefs that have their own pools of knowledge, each chef has their own working style and secrets and I am blessed to get access to that knowledge. Another great aspect of my work is I also work as part of my family business and there is nothing more satisfying than being successful because your family ties are so strong. I get to work in some great venues, including football clubs, big banks, exhibition centres and with renowned brand names, each day brings something different and that’s the part of my job I love.
7 And the worst?
Being in this industry its very hard to say no and turn down ventures that are so exciting and have potential. I find it very hard to turn down something because I like to take on as much as I can and then rise to the challenge of doing it. Its got to a stage where there is so much going on that I am now having to turn down opportunities due to time restraints and this is probably the worst aspect of my current role. I want to do everything but physically am unable to take on so much as the time factor is the issue.
8 What are your long-term goals?
Teaching the nation how to cook hearty, enticing Punjabi cuisine and more
Eventually have my bespoke range of meals and spices
Carry out an Indian food trail around the world to see how Indian food has evolved worldwide and produce a series to reflect this Open another branch of Dip in Brilliant as the concept is a winner
Associate with population in Canada somehow as the concept of Punjabi food there needs to be showcased!
9 If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change?
Why does the word Brexit even exist and why is everyone so impacted by it? I would change the word Brexit to Fixit, so nobody would be impacted by the challenges Brexit has brought to so many. If I was PM for a day, I would bury Brexit forever.
10 If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why.
This would surely be Mahatma Gandhi because I would listen to his words and teachings all day long to understand life the way he did. Gandhiji said “there can be no change in the world if we are not ready to change ourselves”. He firmly believed change starts at home and for a world less corrupt we need to embrace total integrity in ourselves. His words have such strength and truth even today.