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Celebrity Bites – Deeba Rajpal

Celebrity Bites – Deeba Rajpal

When asked what is more important ; Passion or Skill? Deeba Rajpal, who’s a successful food blogger obsessing over her blog called “Passionate About Baking” said, “Passion of course!”

It’s simply beautiful to see how she has curated and styled all the recipes on her blog. The interview has not one but many take home messages and most importantly gives a chance to learn from her journey.

 

First thing anyone would notice looking at your dish is how you have styled it! How important food styling is according to Deeba Rajpal ?

In this day and age, it is almost as important as eating the dish, as we tend to eat with our eyes first. Also, with social media driven by digital images, it is difficult to understate the importance.

Your blog and social media handles are filled with beautiful food photography which makes your dishes more irresistible. Were you always fond of photography? Have you taken any formal training?

Deeba rajpal : Thank you so much. I was always fond of photography, though food was nowhere in my vision till about 10 years ago. I think it just developed when I began recording my recipes on the blog. It’s digital cameras that made it possible. Using it was rather inexpensive, and it offered instant gratification. I could hardly imagine I could shoot a cake, and upload it to my blog in minutes! No training of any sort at all.

Deeba Rajpal A chef, A blogger, A food stylist and also A photographer! Tell us more about your journey with food!

Back in 2007, I had time on hand and an internet connection. The sudden discovery of a few food blogs in the US and the idea of creating my own free site online came together pretty nicely. A couple of initial appreciative comments gave me a boost of confidence to delve in further. This became my happy space.

The PAB journey never ends. Just like a hungry family, it waits to be fed regularly and needs good, wholesome content. The blog is a passion that has got me here today, the reason that I push boundaries. The experience has been an enriching one, it has found me some of my best friends and brought me great learning. With it, my photography skills are also constantly evolving. I believe I might have created a small niche for myself.

The milestones include the first ‘blogger’ award I ever got, an invite to develop recipes, my first commercial styling project, getting on board with Saffola Fit Foodie, a collaboration to teach styling with Darter, a 10-day trip to Switzerland sponsored by Swiss Tourism as a food blogger and an invite to talk at Ted x. Most recently, being food photographer for a cookbook published by Vikas Khanna adds to my journey hugely. It’s been a privilege.

Cooking is a therapy they say, what is more therapeutic for you? Baking or Cooking?

I think both and more so if I am experimenting. Monotony bothers me. I need to constantly experiment, try new things, feed the blog and family. Yet, it’s baking a dessert that gives me ultimate joy because I look really forward to styling it, then shooting it. And, I don’t even have a sweet tooth!!

What do you do to stay educated about new trends in your field?

There is such a digital revolution underway. Everything you opt in for {and sometimes don’t} gets delivered to your inbox. I devour trends mainly by way of images. My two favorite hunting grounds are Instagram and pinterest.

What it takes to become a successful food blogger?

Invest your time in quality content.
Find your niche and build around it. Develop your own style of blogging.
Be a responsible blogger. Build a community, contribute to it, give credit where due.
Respect copyright. Say no to plagiarism.
Most importantly, enjoy blogging. There is enough place for everyone in the world.

Passion or Skill? What is more important?

Passion definitely! You can try develop a skill gradually, but passion is the driving force. In my humble opinion, it should almost be an obsessive passion.

Tell me about an accomplishment that you are most proud of in your career. Also, who inspires you the most?

… that 3 years ago Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna believed in me to shoot his cookbook, My First Kitchen. It has just been published by Penguin India.
The world around me inspires me. Seasons, fresh produce, ingredients, colors, Instagram, young innovative chefs, home bakers.

What would we find Deeba doing when she’s not cooking or blogging?

Playing with the dogs or taking pictures.

How would you describe your style of cooking/baking?

Inspired, simple and from the heart!

Tell me something about your favourite cuisine. Why is it your favourite?

That’s tough. I am torn between favorites, between simple fresh Italian, and seasonal Indian. Both are my favorites since you can stir them up real quick, they don’t need a ton of fancy ingredients. Good quality ingredients are all that matter.

What’s your signature dish? Could we get its recipe please 🙂

It’s my chicken/mutton korma. Simple, flavorful and a family recipe. It’s been shared through the family, cooked up by friends, savored by many. That’s just how a good recipe should be.

Recipe – http://www.azafranwellbeing.com/food-drink/chicken-korma-chef-deeba-rajpal

Sweet savories are mood changers! How true is that?

I think it’s a matter of taste. I quite enjoy the combination as I find it intriguing that some folk can get it so right!

What is your take on extra virgin olive oils?

I love a good quality extra virgin olive oil, and use it a lot. My pantry will not be complete without it.

Your take on organic cooking?

Not sure.I’m not sold until I’m not convinced because promise of a product being organic. That said, if the produce is secure, I love the idea of no pesticides and better nutrients. I just wish it was more affordable and could be within reach of a larger percentage of people. The price can be prohibitive.

Would you like to share one of your best dishes made using extra virgin olive oil?

I use EVOO a LOT! I most recently tried marinating fresh green almonds in a single origin extra virgin olive oil, and was quite happy with the result.

Recipe – http://www.azafranwellbeing.com/food-drink/marinated-green-almonds-chef-deeba-rajpal

 

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