Modern Spice by Monica Bhide

© Monica Bhide

Monica Bhide is a well known chef, cookbook author and an entrepreneur. Her highly praised first cookbook, “The Spice Is Right: Easy Indian Cooking for Today” is a collection of mouth-watering menus tempered with her up-to-date touches on classic Indian recipes. Monica’s second book, “The Everything Indian Cookbook: 300 Tantalizing Recipes-From Sizzling Tandoori Chicken to Fiery Lamb Vindaloo” received similar success. “Modern Spice” was released in the US and has a foreword by Mark Bittman and was subsequently released in India by Random House and has a foreword by Chef Sanjeev Kapoor. She is a contributing editor to the AARP magazine, writes a weekly syndicated for Scripps Howard Media called Seasonings, and is a frequent contributor to NPR’s Kitchen Window.

Interview by Stephen Thompson, Ph.D.

Welcome to OpenBeast. Could you briefly introduce yourself?

Many thanks for having me. I am a food writer and I write about how food and culture affect our lives. I was born inIndia, raised in the Middle East and have been in theUSfor over twenty years. I am also the mom of two young boys who keep me very busy (and very entertained).

You are an engineering graduate and with two master degrees. What inspired you to get into cooking business?

I was never really happy with my technical degrees. And then years ago, a close friend passed away. Her death made me question everything in my own life. I quit and decided to do what I had always wanted — to write. And as it happens, people say you should write about what you love..  I love to eat so I became a food writer.

Did you get formally trained for cooking and who is your mentor?

While I have taken several cooking classes I have not gone to culinary school. My mentor, in food and life, is my father who is an amazing cook.

Talk to us about your online classes?

I don’t teach online cooking classes but I do teach online food writing classes and have been doing so for several years now.

Describe your cook books?

Fun, easy and accessible! Modern Spice, the newest of the lot, will make you fall in love with spices and will help you create really delightful meals that you will love. That is my hope and my promise!

Any project or initiatives you would like to share today?

I am working on a really fun novel that has many recipes in it! I will be debuting on Indian tv soon as a judge for a reality show (in November) and I have my fourth book releasing later this year — In Conversation with Exceptional Women. I am also working on updating my spice app for the iphone. It is called iSPICE.

What is your typical day like?

I write a lot in the mornings and then reserve the afternoons for recipe development and testing. Evenings are for family and then late at night I figure out ways to make my blog readable!

Your spice app for Apple “iSPICE” is just awesome? How did you come up with that idea?

Thanks so much. I wanted to have a simple app that people could use to identify a spice and then cook with it. No bells and whistles, just something useful and I think that app meets those requirements!

What are your personal strengths and how did those help in your professional success?

I don’t give up.

What’s your top achievement or best honor you have received thus far?

When my dad said he was proud of my writing.

Thank you so much and wishing you the very beast.

To learn more about Monica Bhide and her delicious recipes visit her official website at