Ny name is Natasha Shamji and I am a professionally trained Le Cordon Bleu Chef, a mom committed to cooking at home for my family and friends, and a lover of good food. Welcome to Thyme in the Kitchen!
Born and raised in Vancouver (Canada), I moved to London 15 years ago.
Growing up, food was an important part of our culture and the way we connected with people. I am Indian by ethnicity, with strong roots in Central and East Africa. Growing up in Central Africa, my parents spoke French and were influenced by food from Belgium and France. My parents moved to Vancouver in the mid 70’s because of its beauty, diversity, and numerous opportunities.
As a result, I have been lucky enough to grow up eating amazing food from all around the world. Our meals ranged considerably from rich Indian dishes with African flavours, to French and Belgian classics along with the beautiful and varied Pacific Coast food from Vancouver itself. Vancouver was a fabulous city to grow up in and is lauded as a foodie destination.
I have been blessed with having some amazing cooks in my family. My mother, my aunts and both my grandmothers were incredible home cooks and all with their own styles and specialities. Among the many lessons I learned from them; trusting your instincts in the kitchen is key.
I have vivid memories of being in their kitchens; watching them cook curries, rice dishes, Indian breads, etc. with ease, confidence and without any exact recipe. They all had so much fun and the kitchen became a place of joy for me. They are my inspirations as a chef and an example of how time and effort can make even the most reserved individual into a confident chef.
Now when I cook or when I teach people to cook, I teach them not only how to follow and make a recipe, but how to use their instincts and trust their palates when they are cooking.
Some of my fondest memories as a child are still visiting my Nanima (my maternal grandmother) in Montreal and waiting excitedly for her to finish making chapatis with sugar spread in the middle or her Pilau (Chicken and Rice dish). Every Sunday, we would go to my paternal grandparents house for brunch and eat my grandma’s incredible aloo poori (potato curry with an unleavened fried bread) with homemade yoghurt and Sev (sweet rice made with Vermicelli noodles and flavoured with nuts and raisins).
My mom cooked food that was more influenced by her upbringing in East and Central Africa with dishes like mishkaki (spiced marinated and grilled skewered beef) or mogo (a cassava curry), but also cooked classic French dishes like steak frites with peppercorn sauce or garlic and parsley prawns.
Our meals were always different but still familiar and I loved that. This is how I cook at home! I cook what I love; with ingredients that inspire me, and recipes that call to me on any given day! I am not beholden to any specific cuisine but love world food and cooking a diversity of dishes and flavours.
"I cook what I love; with ingredients that inspire me, and recipes that call to me on any given day! I am not beholden to any specific cuisine but love world food and cooking a diversity of dishes and flavours."
Several years ago I decided to leave my career as a Social Worker and pursue my dream to go to culinary school. I completed a professional Patisserie and Cuisine diploma from Le Cordon Bleu London and have not looked back since.
I have consulted for a number of companies and have worked as a Private Chef whilst still being a stay at home mom. Le Cordon Bleu enabled me to become the chef that I was dying to become; one that has a classical training behind me, feels comfortable and at ease with different flavour pairings and confident creating and sharing my own recipes.
I am a home cook at heart and what I love most is making home cooked food exciting and delicious, along with teaching people of all ages how to cook for themselves (and others) confidently.
Happy browsing, and I hope that my website inspires you to unleash your inner chef. I teach kids, young adults and adults and offer a variety of classes. Have a look at what I can offer and let me teach you and your loved ones to cook in your kitchen.
Have a read through my blog posts, where I share information and advice about food and cooking at home. Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter where you can receive up to date information and offers on my classes, new blog posts, and some great exclusive recipes as well.