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|Born||May 1971 (age 48)|
|Cooking style||Indian cuisine|
Romy Gill MBE is a British/Indian chef and cookery teacher, based in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire. She was the owner and head chef at Romy's Kitchen, Restaurant which opened in September 2013 on Castle Street, Thornbury. She is one of the few female Indian chef/owners on the UK restaurant scene, and was appointed an MBE in the Queen's 90th birthday honours list in 2016. Romy is currently writing her first cookery book, which will be published in 2019.
Early life and inspirations
When Gill moved to the UK in 1993, she began hosting dinner parties for friends, later running cookery classes, which led to her launching her own range of sauces, pickles, chutneys and spice mixes.
She gave cookery demonstrations both in England and further afield, and in September 2013 she opened her first restaurant, Romy's Kitchen.
Style of cooking
Gill's style of Indian cooking is very different from that found at the majority of Indian restaurants in the UK. She avoids the use of unnatural food colourings, and is a fan of combining Indian and British cuisine.
She combines spices and flavours that she grew up with in India with ingredients that she was only introduced to when she moved to the UK, creating dishes such as gurnard cooked in coconut milk, tomatoes, tomato puree, ginger, garlic and her own spice blend; and monkfish marinated in turmeric and lemon juice, then cooked with onions, ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, 5 spice mix paste and her own spices.
In order to open her restaurant, Gill applied to a number of banks for a loan, but was turned down by every one apart from NatWest, providing her with the business loan that she needed to get her restaurant underway, leading her to be featured on the BBC News in a segment about the struggles that entrepreneurs face when trying to raise the necessary funds to start a new, local business.
The restaurant closed in August 2019.
Awards and achievements
In 2014, Romy was shortlisted for the 15th Asian Women of Achievement Awards (AWA), which celebrate women who make an “outstanding contribution to our culture and economy”. In the same year, her restaurant, Romy's Kitchen, was shortlisted as "Best Newcomer" in the British Curry Awards.
Cookery demonstrations and other events
Gill demonstrates her cooking at festivals both in the UK and abroad. In the UK, she has given demonstrations at the Foodies Festival, Grand Designs exhibitions and at food and cultural festivals in Abu Dhabi, New York City and other locations.
In addition, she gives talks and cookery demonstrations in schools where she discusses how food is cultivated, the importance of eating with the seasons and the impact of food on the environment.
Gill, along with two other female Indian chefs and Atul Kochhar, gave a demonstration at Kochhar's restaurant, Benares, in November 2012 to raise money for charity, and is an avid fundraiser for charity Frank Water.
In May 2014, Romy was heavily involved with the Bristol Food Connections festival: a citywide celebration of local food and drink. Along with other top chefs such as Martin Blunos, Tom Kerridge and Ken Hom, Romy took to the BBC Stars' Kitchen to give live demos of some of her popular recipes. During the Bristol Food Connections festival, Romy was also a guest on Saturday Live, alongside Jay Rayner and others.
In 2017, Romy gave demonstrations at a range of festivals, including the BBC Good Food Show, the Abergavenny Food Festival, the Big Feastival, Dartmouth Food Festival and the Padstow Christmas Festival.
Romy contributes regularly to food publications such as Crumbs, Olive, Delicious, Saveur and Food52, and has featured in The Guardian, where she had a residency in April 2016, The Observer, The Telegraph & The Independent newspapers.
Her first cookbook, Zaika: Vegan recipes from India, was published in 2019.
Romy appeared as a guest judge on Celebrity MasterChef 2016, and also cooked alongside The Hairy Bikers in their Comfort Food series. She has featured as the subject of a film short on "Family Dinners" on Food Network UK, with more BBC and ITV appearances in the pipeline.
Gill lives in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire with her husband and two daughters. She is an active runner.
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