We Asked 4 Food Bloggers What Inspires Them to Cook and Here’s What they Said

Every week the Brown Girl Magazine food team brings you recipes, food hacks and meal planning ideas. This week, we learn more about the food bloggers themselves. What inspires them to cook? Who taught them and what is their favorite kitchen tool? Read on as we dish out on their favorites.

Ann Ittoop @thefamiliarkitchen

A freelance contributor at Brown Girl and full-time marketing director living in New Jersey with her newly-wed husband. 

South Indian food is my favorite thing to cook. More specifically, appam! And it’s even better with chicken curry. I also love cooking with Thai, Korean, and Vietnamese flavors. Aside from appam and chicken curry, my favorite food combo is a bowl of pho with an avocado shake (sinh to bo).

My go-to kitchen gadget (if you were wondering) is my cherava, which, if you’ve never sat on one and grated coconuts on it, it’s a Kerala kid’s rite of passage, haha! My favorite three spices are green cardamom, cloves, and fennel seeds.

I’ve come to realize cooking is my journey to self-discovery. I never thought it’d hold such a deep meaning for me, but I feel so connected when I am in the kitchen grinding spices in my passed down mortar and pestle, and soaking in scents of home.

If I could cook with anyone, it would be Asha Gomez so we could cook and talk about South Indian food!

Something that most people don’t know about me is that I’m a musician! I’ve played the flute for about 15 years (did the whole marching band thing and all).

Megha Patel @chocolateandcheeseplease

A freelance contributor at Brown Girl and full-time financial analyst with the travel bug. 

My thing to cook? I can’t decide just one, so I’d have to say Italian & Mexican! My favorite thing to eat is ANYTHING with cheese, clearly :) I love tacos and I loveeeee pizza! I love using a big knife when cooking. Chopping is probably my favorite thing to do. (Does that make me creepy?) Honestly, I cook because I love to eat. It turned into me wanting to explore different variations of recipes, and that turned into what I do now! This is probably unexpected of me, but I would LOVE to cook with Guy Fieri. I’ve been watching his shows for YEARS and we both love fat/greasy food… I think we’d make a pretty great team ;)

My favorite three spices are garam masala, turmeric & cayenne pepper. Aside from that, salt is life. I guess you can say that I’m a really weird vegetarian. While I used to eat meat, I very randomly still crave hot dogs. I also love ramen but almost never like the veggie broth so I get whatever meat broth there is, without the actual chunks of meat…. (lol). I HATE cilantro but I LOVE green chutney. I don’t really like vegetables…. Oh, and I love pouring cheerios into my chai! There ya go, that’s me!

Nisha Vedi Pawar @lovelaughmirch

A freelance editor at Brown Girl and full-time property manager living in New Jersey City wth her sweet daughter mirchi and husband Suraj. 

I love cooking good old “ghar ka khana” which for me is North Indian Cooking. The ultimate compliment is when my daughter craves my Rajma, when my dad requests my Biryani or my husband says my dal reminds him of his Nani’s cooking. My mom’s food is my absolute favorite food, after that Thai and Mediterranean come in a close second. My favorite kitchen tool is my belna, haha how Punjabi am I?! And my vitamix – hello smoothest sauces and chutneys ever.

Cooking keeps me close to my roots and helps me feels connected to the generations that came before me. Whether it’s making my husband’s Nani ki dal, my Dadima’s khichadi, or my mom’s keema, I feel like I am cooking alongside the cooks of my family. It would be such a treat to cook with Vikas Khanna, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing him before and his passion for food and Indian spices is infectious. I especially enjoyed his spice room at Junoon, every cooks dream space.  My favorite spices include green cardamom, fennel, and mirchi (are you surprised?!) Even though we eat and cook nonvegetarian at home, I was vegetarian for five years and usually order the vegetarian option while dining out. I LOVE paneer and think it should be in its own food group.

Zheel Patel @zheelicious

A freelance contributor at Brown Girl and full-time stay at home patiently waiting for her son’s sibling to arrive. 

My favorite thing to cook is probably going to have to be tacos or anything Mexican. My favorite foods include tacos, pasta, and khichdi. I love my kitchen-aid stand mixer! I’m not a baker but this machine makes me feel like one lol. For me, cooking is like therapy, but more than that I want to be able to pass down all the traditional recipes to my kids and keep our culture alive! I would love to cook with three people (I can’t just choose one): Ina Garten, Giada, and Rachel Ray. I grew up watching them on TV and experimenting with their recipes!

My three favorite spices are red chili powder, cumin coriander powder, and salt of course! Something that most people don’t know about me is that I’m really weird and have to watch friends every night before/while falling asleep.

By Nisha Vedi Pawar

Nisha is the founder and editor of Love Laugh Mirch, an Indian inspired lifestyle site where she shares her take … Read more ›

5 Indo Caribbean Food Experts you Need to Know This Winter Season

trinidad curry
Curried Chicken with Roti Parata or Roti, popular Middle Eastern/Indian cuisine

It is officially that time of year—the holiday season. There’s nothing like Christmas and New Year’s in the West Indies. Between the pepperpot in Guyana and the palm trees decorated in lights in Trinidad, the home food, warm weather and laid-back ambiance makes us wish we could escape the cold and head back to the Caribbean. Most of us, however, cannot “take holiday” and find ourselves hungry for fresh dhal puri and doubles. But, thanks to these Indo-Caribbean food bloggers, we can bring the motherland to our kitchens.

1. Matthew’s Guyanese Cooking

From Diwali mithai specialties to curry chicken, Matthew is creating a name for himself as a young Guyanese food blogger. He makes a great effort to incorporate Hindu holidays and traditions on his Instagram account, in conjunction with the customary foods and sweets associated with these religious events. However, his expertise does not end there, with new and alternative recipes for classic dishes such as curry chicken and bhara, Matthew takes center stage sharing both traditional Guyanese dishes as well as specific religious dishes made for festivals. His most popular YouTube video, with 1.4 million views, features his grandmother and focuses on the best tips to make the softest Guyanese paratha roti. In addition, his YouTube account is home to many videos offering guidance to Indo Caribbean cooking. Find recipes at @mattews.guyanese.cooking

2. Trini Cooking with Natasha

Natasha Laggan of Trini Cooking with Natasha is wildly popular throughout the Caribbean and the U.S. With humble beginnings, Natasha credits her love of food to her family’s business. She speaks of the nostalgia home food provides her as she reminisces memories of her grandmother’s cooking and helping her mother make sandwiches early in the morning. Featured by Forbes, Natasha grew her Facebook following quickly throughout the pandemic by posting old YouTube videos. Today, she has more than 1 million followers on Facebook and over 200K followers on YouTube. She uses her passion for cooking and Trinidadian culture to bring easy-to-follow recipes to viewers. Her following has now reached the West Indian diaspora globally as she has also become a brand ambassador to two well-known food companies.  Follow the food expert @trinicookingwithnatasha.

[Read Related: 5 Indo-Caribbean Recipes for the Holiday Season you Have to Make]

3. Cooking with Ria

With over 100K followers on YouTube, Ria is quite the expert when it comes to making roti. Her dhal puri, sada roti and paratha roti tutorials have over 1M views! However, her expertise does not stop there. Of the 180 YouTube tutorials, her recipes vary from curry to other Trinidadian favorites like macaroni pie and pigtail soup. Just scrolling through her YouTube page makes your mouth water. From doubles to classic Trinidad bakes like pound cake and sweet bread, she provides precision and anecdotal commentary while guiding you through the familiarity of home food. Check out Ria’s page at @cookingwithria.


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4. Chef Devan

Known as Chef Devan, Devan Rajkumar embraces his Guyanese Canadian heritage by creating recipes combining flavors of both the East and West Indies. His love of food has allowed him to expand his role to judge in a popular Canadian cooking show: Food Network Canada’s Fire Masters. His cooking often blends the flavors of multiple cultures but also creates the classic recipes of his motherland. With a multitude of interests, Chef Dev uses his social media platform to connect with followers by sharing various aspects of his life that go beyond cooking. His most recent YouTube video provides a trailer for an upcoming video “Tastes Guyana” which shows him exploring Guyana from the inside, specifically deep parts of the inner country. To learn more about Chef Devan follow @chefdevan.


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5. Taste of Trinbago

Reshmi is the chef behind the growing blog, Taste of Trinbago. A Trinidadian native who now resides in Texas, she uses her love of food and Trinidadian culture to share hacks, tips and easy recipes with West Indians throughout the globe. She finds a way to simplify traditional West Indian meals, that we once watched our elders make with curiosity.  From holiday specialties like black cake to Diwali delicacies, Reshmi has brought vegetarian and non-veg recipes to followers in an extremely accessible way. She even posts recipe cards on her IG highlights for followers who may need written instructions. Her IG profile is a mix of various West Indian foods while also sharing bits of her life and even her secrets to baby food. Follow her @tasteoftrinbago.


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These are just five Indo Caribbean food bloggers sharing their secrets to easy cooking. The once very daunting recipes and food instructions our parents gave have been simplified by most of these bloggers through video, voice over and modernized recipes. We no longer have to estimate a “dash, pinch or tuk” of any masala. We are just days away from Christmas and this is the perfect time to find the best-suited recipe to make that paratha for Santa.

Featured Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

By Subrina Singh

Subrina Singh holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Asian & Asian American Studies from Stony Brook University and a Master’s Degree … Read more ›