Six Years of Sizzling Success
An award-winning Shropshire business woman is celebrating six years in business as an Indian Chef with a string of successes.
Lajina Leal set up Lajina Masala in 2013 after a challenge from a friend. Commenting on how much better Lajina’s dishes was then those they were eating in their local Indian restaurant, her friend said if Lajina cooked a batch of Asian food and sold it all at a car boot sale the next weekend then she should set up her own business. The rest is history.
In the last year, Lajina has become the Indian Guru for the Vegetarian Society in Altringham, a Chef Tutor at The Harbourne Cookery School and a Tutor at a new cookery school – Field to Fork in Eccleshall.
Add to this private catering, corporate events, teaching children in school, demonstrations, festivals, charity events and her own range of monthly workshops at Little Wenlock Hall, Lajina is constantly on the move.
Lajina has also developed her own range of low sugar and salt, gluten free spice mixes after requests from her pupils for the secret of her success. Starting with just two spice mixes, today she has a range of six ranging from an all-round Curry Masala to Cardamom Kick, a lighter mix for those that don’t eat garlic.
Her spices which won ‘The Most Innovative Business Award’ in 2015 and the Shropshire Dragon’s Den competition in the same year are stocked locally at several farm shops and she also sells online and at events.
She said: “For me, spicing is everything when it comes to creating the perfect curry. We rely too much on jars and ready-made sauces but once you have mastered the art of spicing and creating a curry sauce, you will never go back.
“However, I realised that people are short of time so now they have the perfect compromise. Pre-mixed freshly ground spices to create a wide variety of dishes which they can add to fresh vegetables or meat to create a healthy, quick curry.”
Around 200 people per month will either see Lajina in a demonstration, or learn to cook with her at a workshop, class or team building activity. Last year she even appeared on stage in a comedy role in the Chef Show and cooked for a Bollywood actress.
“Cooking and eating together is one of the nicest things you can do with colleagues, friends or family. You are sharing tasks, communicating, supporting each other and learning new skills – and then you get to eat the fruits of your labour in a relaxed informal setting.” She said.
“I am particularly thrilled to be asked to cater for a Bollywood Night charity event in June 2020 for the Shropshire Rural Communities Charity at the amazing Cound Hall.”
For more information about the Bollywood Charity Night raising funds for Shropshire RCC projects which "Improve lives, build communities" see https://www.shropshire-rcc.org.uk/news/join-us-for/. Tickets are £50 per person and includes a drinks reception, Indian meal, Bhangra dancing and raffle.