Q:

The Space

A:

I don’t spend very much time in my home kitchen, so I would call The Third Space my home kitchen too. It is built to look like a home; there's no commercial equipment in there. And it’s very green, I have greenery everywhere. I’m a huge plant mom.

My kitchen is a space where I'm able to have conversations and tell stories. It's an open kitchen, because I love interacting with my guests. My dog is running around, my kid is running around, and my guests are part of it all. I don't understand the concept of being behind a wall when I'm cooking and my guests don't get to see what I'm actually doing.

Lay your table for life.

Q:

My Heirlooms

Lay your table for life.

A:

The oldest thing I have is the spice tin my mom was given when she got married, so it’s over 60 years old. That’s a tradition: when a girl gets married, the family gives her a spice tin with her and her husbands’ names engraved on the outside. I refill it probably every week, just with the volume of spices that I use.

I also have clay pots that she used to make her fish curry in. I grew up on a beach in a fishing community, and my mother and all her sisters all have homes in a compound. Everybody’s homes had a modern kitchen, but there was an ancestral kitchen on the property where you cooked over wood fire and coal. So if my mom was making a fish curry, you better believe she was making it over coal in a clay pot. And those are some of my earliest kitchen memories.

Q:

My Most-Used Piece

A:

I also have a mortar and pestle from my mom; she probably used it for 30 to 40 years. I grind every spice from scratch, and I can’t grind cardamom pods without that mortar and pestle. I’m a huge spice buyer: I love Diaspora spices, and there’s also a local Indian store here called Cherians, which is a regional supermarket for where I'm from in India. It has everything I need.

Lay your table for life.

Q:

My Collection

A:

I am a huge tea drinker, so for the longest time, I collected tea pots. I had a collection of 60 or 75 teapots that we used to serve tea for our guests. And it sat on a very special table. Not too long ago, someone accidentally did something that broke 80% of them. I remember walking in and just having this moment of, whoah. And everyone was so nervous, because these were like my prized possessions. But I was really surprised at my reaction. It was very therapeutic and cathartic for me: I picked up all the pieces, I walked to my garden with them, and I made a garden patch with all my broken teapots, and planted herbs in between them. We made something out of it.

Lay your table for life.

Q:

My Daily Ritual

Lay your table for life.

A:

My chai making is a huge ritual for me; it happens every day. It could be me just having a moment myself; it could be my son, who is 15 now and loves chai and has learned how to make it; or it could be friends, family and community that gather around that pot of tea. It’s an essential part of my every day, and a very therapeutic time for me.

For me, my kitchen is a place of bringing community in. It's an open door policy. If I’m at home, my neighbors know that at 3 o’clock, a pot of chai is gonna be brewing. 

Q:

My Best-Loved Weeknight Dinner

A:

I return to my mom’s fish curry all the time. It’s my place of comfort, it reminds me of home, it’s the beach I grew up on. If you follow my Instagram you’ll notice, every three weeks you’ll see a fish curry photograph.

But roasting vegetables is probably my favorite thing to do. Two or three nights a week, there’s a pan of roasted vegetables in my oven. I have one pan, but each vegetable will get a different spice. And I’ll roast anything. I will literally roast any vegetable! If I can get my hands on it and put it on a pan, it’s getting roasted.

Lay your table for life.