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Michelle Peters - Jones's interview

Interview by Gitanjali Interview by Gitanjali

We interviewed Michelle Peters - Jones!

Visit the blog: The Tiffin Box.

See profile page and recipes

Hello Michelle Peters - Jones, so tell us...

What inspired you to start your blog, and what is the philosophy behind it?

When I was living in England, I was one of the contestants on Masterchef UK. My recipes were popular and a friend suggested I start writing them in a website, instead of emailing everyone who asked me for them.

I like to keep my recipes simple and accessible, but at the same time, they are steeped in history and my childhood memories of growing up in India. As I moved from place to place, my culinary knowledge has grown and I love sharing it with my friends and readers.

Tell us a little bit about your culinary journey from India to England.

I was born and brought up in India, and moved to England when I was 21 for graduate studies. I met my Canadian husband at university, and we ended up moving back to Canada a few years ago. When in England I was desperate to recreate the food of my childhood, and slowly, via Skype and lots of phone calls with my mom and aunts, I managed to learn the essentials of Indian cooking.

What are your culinary influences?

They are spread all over. I trained for almost and year and half with a French trained le Cordon Bleu chef, and that has influenced my technique and style. I love food from South East Asia and am constantly experimenting. Travelling all over Europe has made me appreciate the subtleties of Western cooking and I have recently been researching and working on Cajun and Acadian food. I love to learn all the time and I am constantly striving to achieve more and more.

What was it like being on Masterchef UK?

I was lucky enough to be on Masterchef twice, and I loved the experience. I was never going to be a professional chef, but the great feedback and advice I received from the judges made me a more confident chef and cook. I loved the pressure and the fun learning aspects of the show, and I still keep in touch with some of the people I met on it.

What is your earliest food memory?

I remember tagging along with my grandfather when he cooked for weddings in India. He was a wedding chef, the man who cooked for crowds of thousands of guests. The heat, the dust, the incredibly organised chaos... all inspired me in so many ways. I learned how to kill a chicken when I was five and we were never sheltered from the realities of where our food came from.

Do you have a secret ingredient, a product you use a lot that is unexpected or that helps you save time?

I caramelize lots of onions and freeze them. They're so useful to add a kick of deep savory sweetness to a lot of dishes. And this way, my house only smells on onions once :)

Is there any dish, ingredient or type of food you refuse to cook? Or anything that you refuse to eat?

The joke in my family is that I eat everything. But that said, I am not too fond of brassicas... I can take or leave them.

What are your goals for your blog? Where would you like to see it in the next year? Five years?

I love writing and photography, and my blog is my personal portfolio. I hope that more people take the time to read it, and while a lot of people engage with it, I could always do with more (well, don't we all?) I want to keep writing, sharing stories and recipes, and hopefully one day The Tiffin Box will be as well known as some of the other major blogs out there. My inspiration is David Lebovitz, and one day I will get to his level.

My worst food flop was...

Ahhhh... I'd like to say none... but there was this terrible experience with whole wheat pasta macaroni and cheese. Let's just say the less said about it the better :)

Anything else you would like to share?

I work as the managing editor for the Canadian Journal of Sociology during the week and I am also part owner of a manufacturing and technology company... how is that for multitasking?

Thank you Michelle Peters - Jones for answering our questions and see you soon!
Published by Gitanjali - 09/03/2014

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