Since opening her restaurant in Gloucestershire in 2013, Romy Gill has established herself as one of the most talked about Indian chefs in the UK. Romy’s Kitchen, in Thornbury (now closed), mashes together influences from her upbringing in West Bengal and modern British lifestyle since moving here in 1994. She’s a regular on the festival circuit, and even has her own range of chutneys, sauces, pickles and spice mixes, which she sells from the restaurant.
Using herbs and vegetables from the garden behind the 40-seater restaurant, from fenugreek leaves and Indian radishes to beetroot, squash and mooli, Romy’s cooking has seen her win numerous local and national awards. Only this year, she was presented with an MBE in the Queen’s Honours List for her services to the hospitality industry.
“Growing up in a Punjabi family was great as my parents were not traditional at all, they made sure we ate different types of cuisines and respected all cultures and religions,” says Romy. “My grandma and mum used to dry pomegranate seeds to use out of season, and then cook them as dry anardana – so delicious. The rice pudding, too, is very much from Bengal – it was the first solid food introduced to me by my mum. It’s called payesh and one of my favourite sweet dishes in the world!”
Try Romy’s authentic Bengali recipe for veggie-stuffed samosas and kachumber salad for an exciting vegetarian starter.
Don’t be put off by the number of ingredients in Romy’s gluten free recipe for succulent lamb cooked in pomegranate and spices. It’s surprisingly easy to make, jam-packed full of flavour and well worth the effort!
A little bit of rice goes a long way in Romy’s recipe for this delicately spiced, aromatic rice pudding. Did we mention that it’s also gluten free? Oh yes please.
Here’s our interview on the olive magazine podcast with Romy Gill about Diwali and West Bengali food: