Hi, I’m Joy and I am the head chef of Sligo’s Joy Kitchen. I was born in a small village called Khanyan in Eastern Part of India, West Bengal and was the eldest daughter in the family. From an early age, I was always very career-focused, very studious, and my ultimate goal was to become a reputable engineer like my father. This, however, did not happen in the end.
My mother was, and is, an exceptional cook. I was not all that interested in cooking because my mother had always prepared and cooked everything for the family. My younger sister and I were told to focus on our studies rather than on household chores. For a family in a rural Indian village, we were very progressive for the time; both my sister and I were constantly motivated towards our careers rather than settling into a marriage. Amidst this, I absolutely loved the traditional Bengali food my mother had always ready for us.
My mother learned all her cooking first-hand, and had old traditional recipes passed down by my grandmother who was an expert in Mughlai cuisine. Her specialty dishes were Biryani, Mughlai Paratha, and Chicken Mughlai. We used to go to restaurants occasionally to taste some other kinds of food and different recipes. It would be our family weekend outing to destress from the hustle and bustle of the week. We would regularly have Kolkata street food. Some of the food I could not stop eating were the famous phuchka chicken roll also known as a kathi roll. The chat, special to Indian street food in general, was my go-to snack after school or college.
Interestingly, my ambition to be an engineer died after many attempts to enter the industry, but I still always had that plan in the back of my mind. At this stage, I had finally married my husband Anirban who worked as a dairy engineer, and we shared the same passion for food, eating out, and trying new things did not stop. I did miss my mother’s food terribly and tried to replicate the same flavour but it just wouldn’t be the same.