Parveen The Spice Queen: Taking centre stage at The Chef Show

Parveen on stage with the actors
Parveen on stage with the actors

Last week I took part in a play called The Chef Show. All the characters were played by two amazingly talented actors and then there was me... slap bang in the middle of the stage - I mean I was literally centre stage. I didn’t play a character... Nope, guess who I was playing?...Me!

It was quite surreal really, but when I got down to it - it wasn’t too challenging and not too dissimilar to my cooking demonstrations. The dress code was the same - red dress with my Parveen The Spice Queen apron and some red lippy. The only difference with this performance was that I had to share the stage and limelight. Which wasn’t easy for me (just joking).

Of course, the actors were the stars of the show and my role was to support them. I had to remain quiet while the actors were in character and only speak when spoken to, which actually was difficult for me and now I am not joking!...It was a challenge but hey, I am always up for a challenge.

Well, what can I say about the play. It was fabulous. There was so many different elements being explored; from the generation gap, intercultural tensions, racism, the authenticities of dishes like Vindaloo, all topped off with a little sentimentality. It was fast paced, uplifting and funny - which was most welcome on an extremely icy cold winter’s night.

Being involved in this play gave me food for thought ... and yes, pun intended. I realised that I probably couldn’t do what I do for a living if it hadn’t been for the popularity of Indian restaurants. So, I want to thank the Indian restaurant trade for all they have done to promote Indian food. The restaurant experience is very different to what I do as a private chef, but I will let you into a little secret. When I need a night off, I will pop down to my local Indian for some fluffy buttered naan and a spicy chicken masala. Well, needs must. Anyway I often get asked where I eat - well, that is a secret but I am happy to share some tip tips with you when “going out for an Indian.”


My first major tip has to be - look out for an Indian restaurant that is frequented by Asians, then you know it will be good!


Get to know your waiter and ask what dishes the chef recommends that day. Often, some dishes such as the curries will be cooked a day in advance but that’s ok, as we all know that curry tastes even better the day after.


Don’t fill up on naan bread! Naans contain white flour and yeast; which tends to be quite filling and you may leave you with that bloated feeling. A good alternative are chapattis, they contain no salt, yeast or butter, and are lighter on the stomach.


If you don’t like your food too spicy and its too hot with your mouth on fire, don’t be tempted to drink water, as all this does is disperse the chilli around the mouth and makes matters worse. Instead, have a few tablespoons of the cucumber raita or a minty dip - these condiments are designed specifically to cool down your mouth.

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