“Creating good food is art,” says Yudhika Sujanani who is a well respected chef amongst her peers in the culinary community despite the fact that she has no formal training.  This however, does not impede her passion to create delicious authentic Indian food with an Asian fusion twist.

Yudhika has earned herself quite a following, appearing on SABC’s 3Talk, guest cooking at numerous Good Food & Wine shows and launching a range of Indian food together with Woolworths.

More importantly, after hearing a speech by Dr Nobs Mwanda, CEO of the Soweto-based anti child abuse organisation Copes SA, she started a fund-raising concept called the Curry Club.
Through sumptuous dinners at her home in Fairways, Johannesburg, this Jimmy Choo-wearing-chef raised R15 600 through patrons contributing as much as they would pay in a restaurant.

Q&A with Yudhika

About me
My name is Yudhika Sujanani.  I am 32 years old.  I have three children, Hetal 8yrs, Tanvi, 6yrs and Rushil 4yrs.  I grew up in Durban and I would love to live in Franschoek.  I love entertaining, reading and needlecraft.

On a professional note
I am a chef and the Spekko brand ambassador.  I have started a dinner club called The Curry Club.  The main purpose of this dinner is to increase awareness about the needs of our communities and to raise funds and collect food aid.

I not only promote just Spekko rice but also teach people how to prepare quick and healthy meals.  Sharing my knowledge is very important to me and I enjoy teaching during the cooking demos.

What’s your spice4life? What drives your passion?
I could best describe it as a wonderful, spicy masala which is made with things that I love.  I sometimes say that I have a pupose in life and it is an undeniable force that drives me.  I could describe it as part of my DNA.  I feel that this is my driving force.  It is also the light that guides me in everything I do.

What is your personal inspirational message to the women of South Africa? 
South African women have always been strong and now beginning to show their strength.  We only have one chance in this lifetime and this is not a dress rehearsal.  Live life to the fullest and have no regrets.

What would you say is the situation/individual that has made you the person you are today?  
Many situations and people have changed my life.  My parents were divorced when I was quite young and this has been a turning point in my life.  It has made me appreciate family and not take them for granted.  I come from a very simple family that was not wealthy.  This has also taught me to be sensitive to people and to appreciate everything that I have and everything that I can do for my kids.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Nothing is bad as it seems…always give yourself two weeks and then have another look at your life.  Its never as bad as it seems.

What do you think is the secret to happiness, if you believe there is such a thing? 
When I think about happiness I always relate it to people and not possessions.  Count all the things that we have and not what you don’t have like friendship, love, honesty.  Appreciate and tell people what you find special about them.

My favourite quote is… This is one that I love … “The mind may calculate but the spirit yearns and the heart knows what the heart knows. “

Favourite book, author, movie, music: Stephen King, Santana, Madonna, and movies like Narnia and Harry Potter that I can watch with my kids

Additional information from The Sowetan, Die Beeld and thepost.co.za

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