Thursday 17 October 2013

Chai and Chat - Curry For Change, how did we do?

I have been very vocal on my blog and on twitter about my support for Find Your Feet. It's a very small charity with a fantastic positive attitude to helping people in need - through empowerment, skill building and education and not through aid.

From the first moment I was asked to understand and support their Curry For Change fundraising campaign to pay for their work, I knew I was in. So I attended their launch event, an amazing, informative and fun evening where I learnt to cook from Dhruv Baker, Vivek Singh and Anjum Anand. Since then, I've tried to support their work through this blog, through my twitter stream and by actually donating real cash money. 

I was recently invited to a "Chai and Chat" event organised by Find Your Feet to review what has been achieved. I was only too proud and pleased to attend. 

Curry For Change has managed to raise £10,000 for Find Your Feet, with a mysterious trust benefactor (I am not kidding here!) agreeing to match that total pound-for-pound! The result is £20,000 raised to further projects in India and Nepal!

But what does the money do? Well take a look at this. Here is Teresa.

She has six (yes, six!) children. She's a member of a self-help group in her remote rural village in Jharkhand, India. When I say remote, I mean it. There are NO roads and there is NO electricity. Life is spartan and hard. Water is incredibly scarce. This means it is terribly difficult to grow enough food. 

Find Your Feet has trained her on principles of sustainable agriculture. In addition they have taught her how to make simple leaf plates. The plates are sold for use at weddings or at the village market. The extra income pays for necessities.

Teresa says: “We have learnt new agriculture techniques and have grown enough rice for all our food needs. If we get good rains next time, we will make a surplus to sell. I have also learnt to make leaf plates. I get 5 rupees for 20 plates (6p) and I can make up to 20 rupees a day (25p). Now through my crops and the plates I have sent two of my older children to school. Now we are free from moneylenders, we have money for agriculture, medicines and emergencies. But most importantly we can send our children to school.”

Yes, the ability to earn £0.25 per day is the difference between a woman's children going to school or missing out. It's a sobering thought, isn't it?

If Teresa's story inspires you, how about donating a little something right now? Go on, I have!

This is Savitri Sharma, the Director of Find Your Feet's operations in India and Nepal. She wanted everyone to know just what a difference the funds would make. She spoke to us passionately about the dignity of the people she assists and how much they want a head start rather than handouts. Coordinating all of the project across two nations takes so much strength of character and determination. I was full of admiration for her poise, dedication, and kind nature. What an amazing woman!

The Chai and Chat was held in London's Anise Bar, run by Chef Vivek Singh, whose Cinnamon Kitchen Restaurant is just next door. It's a super bar with some innovative cocktails and mocktails. There's a link to their Lychee Goji Bellini below, if you want to recreate one of their lovely creations.

The other Curry For Change champions, namely food writers, cookbook authors and bloggers were in attendance to find out the progress report and celebrate Find Your Feet's success. 

This is yours truly with The Spice Scribe, Zoe Perrett. She has probably the best knowledge of Indian food of anyone I know. A bona fide journalist and writer, you'll find her writings in The Times of India and elsewhere, but her excellent blog is here:

I had the chance to catch up with my friend Kavey. I owe her a debt of gratitude as she is the person who told me all about Find Your Feet and Curry For Change. Kavey is obviously the brains and talent behind the brilliant Kavey Eats:

I was delighted to meet some amazing new people. One was the cook book author and curry expert Monisha Bharadwaj, who has long been a TV chef and cooking tutor. I had a fascinating discussion with her about west London's Indian food scene and heritage. (Her website can be found here:

I also had the pleasure of meeting the exceptionally dapper and exceedingly charming Urban Rajah, AKA Ivor Peters. Ivor is a rising star of the Indian Supperclub scene. His book "The Urban Rajah's Curry Memoirs" is out now. His website, which includes a blog AND recipes is here:

I had a wonderful evening nattering, munching on snacks and having a couple of long and lovely drinks. But more than anything, I felt proud and privileged to have helped something bigger and more important than me or my blog. I felt I'd somehow helped with something much more worthwhile.

My previous blog posts can be found here:

Curry For Change Masterclass: 

Dhruv Baker's Prawn Malaba Curry:

Vivek Singh's roast saddle of lamb with root vegetables and pickling sauce:

Anjum Anand's Pomegranate Souffle:

Anise Bar and Cinnamon Kitchen's Lychee Goji Bellini:

Snigdha would like to thank Find Your Feet for inviting her to Anise.


  1. I confess I didn't quite get 'Curry for Change' until I read the story of Teresa and suddenly it all fell back into place. Such a small change made a huge difference, and I think we forget that too readily. Thank you Snigdha!

    1. Dear Sake Bounce,

      I'm really glad that Teresa's story clarified the purpose and relevance of Curry For Change. I feel a bit bad that I hadn't made it sufficiently clear before, but I tried to do my best in my previous posts. I guess it is the personal stories, how this campaign touches individual lives, which makes how worthwhile the cause is obvious.

      Thanks for your comment. How are things, Sake Bounce? Are you in London or Tokyo right now? Maybe your could have an XL bowl of ramen in Teresa's honour?

      Warm regards

  2. Well written Snigdha;) I shall go off and make a donation now

    1. Dear Fiona,

      WOW! WOW! WOW!

      Thanks for your comment - I'm so chuffed you liked the post! To hear from you that you liked the way it was written means a lot to me. I love your writing style. So it's praise indeed! :)

      And I'm delighted you're making a donation to Find Your Feet. So grateful to you. It'll make so much difference!

      Thanks muchly, Fiona!
      with best wishes

  3. Thank you so much Snigdha ( what a lovely name you have !! ) you have written so highly about me ... . I am very much humbled and inspired. Assure you all to keep up to the reputation and make best use of your invaluable support.
    Huge thanks once again,

    1. Dear Savitri

      I have only just noticed your lovely comment. Sorry - I've been busy and distracted recently.

      It was a privilege to meet you. I'm so impressed by what you have achieved and what you do for people in India and Nepal.

      Keep up the good work. I look forward to next year's campaign!

      with love and admiration

  4. Thanks a lot Snigdha , look forward to see you in India some time and take you to one of our projects.

    Much love,

    1. That would be wonderful! Thanks Savitri!