Peterborough’s own Spice Queen is set to sizzle on the small screen thanks to a new show on ITV - and she hopes the flames will keep on burning for her flourishing TV career.
Cook Parveen Ashraf has been filming in the UK and India for her new series called Parveen’s Indian Kitchen.
But the ambitious 53-year-old from Werrington is determined not to stop there, with a second cook book on the way and a determination to make the most of her career having overcome a year of hell more than a decade ago when she needed four operations to remove a stomach tumour.
The series begins on Sunday, January 20 at 9.30am, and the self-styled Parveen The Spice Queen hopes it will inspire people to try out some new recipes.
She said: “The show is celebrating everything about Indian food. People love it. There’s a fear factor about cooking Indian food and I want to get rid of that.
“It’s about inspiring people and giving them confidence.
“I think the food is the star of the show. I hope people get the confidence to cook and will recreate the recipes at home. They are quite simple to follow.
“We talk about what spices to use and what method.”
Mum of three Parveen, who said her profile has grown thanks to her regular columns in the Peterborough Telegraph, was previously an Ofsted inspector. She pursued a career in cooking after recovering from her health scare.
“I have always known this kind of cuisine. I got married and my husband loved what I cooked - that inspired me,” she said.
“He would go to restaurants and was so disappointed, so would bring work clients back to the house.
“After surgery I came out of hospital and my husband said I should do something that I love. I said I loved cooking for people and decided after the tumour I would change career and teach cooking.”
Parveen has taught Indian cooking at colleges in Peterborough and does private tuition both nationally and internationally, while she has also appeared on TV hit Come Dine with Me.
She has been a regular demonstrator on the Hochanda shopping channel, based in Peterborough, and made guest appearances on James Martin’s Saturday morning show, but having her own ITV series was “surreal”, she admitted.
“You have experts in their field and little old me.
“People will hopefully watch and think ‘that’s quite simple, I will try it’. I loved filming it so hopefully people will love watching it.”
With her career now cooking on gas Parveen hopes to get involved in new projects, while there is talk of a second series for her ITV show. She added: “I’m an extremely ambitious 53-year-old. I have three children and all of them have left home. Now it’s my time!”