Becoming a parent changes you. We have new identities, new responsibilities and shifted priorities. So what happens when those priorities don’t align with your previous life and you’re forced to make some big decisions?
Sunita Solanki is the founder of British Indian Kitchen and West London mama of two. It’s a huge deal to take a plunge into the unknown and set up on your own. Here’s her story on how she found the courage to make her dreams a reality.
“Whilst being a mum of two, the journey of motherhood has been joyful, challenging and sometimes just a little bit overwhelming. I have two gorgeous young children and a wonderful husband who encourages me and has given me the confidence to pursue my career as a cook school teacher and share my knowledge and passion for cooking with practically anyone I meet!
It all started for me when I worked in recruitment for the creative industry for almost 9 years and I really did enjoy it, however my love and passion for food always came out when I dived into my lunch! I would bring in hearty dishes of lentils and chappatis, and fresh Indian inspired salads. I was always told by others that I should pursue my career in cooking, but really never had the confidence to do so, as I never really imagined or believed it would be possible.
I was made redundant 3 years ago, the same weekend I found out I was pregnant with my 2nd child, and my 1st baby was starting school in the same week! My life seemed like a heady haze, and really I didn't know what to do with myself. I figured everything happens for a reason, and maybe this was a time for me to just stop, think and reassess work, family and generally... life. It was a time for me to reflect and think about what I really wanted to do and how to do it.
So I sat down, took a deep breath, had a cup of chai and just started to brainstorm of what cooking meant to me. My ethic was, to just share, inspire and give confidence to people who want to try and cook Indian food with a healthy approach. Whilst I was pregnant, my husband who was so supportive, he said “why don't you take some time out and start a blog?”. I didn't know anything about starting a blog, or even what to call it at the time, but I thought what the heck, I'll give it a go.
I came up with the brand ‘British Indian Kitchen’ and finally found how I wanted it to look and feel. The blog had recipes, and also shared cooking methods and techniques from my Indian heritage. I was called upon by friends to do cooking classes and the word just spread, and through people’s kind gestures and words, my confidence continued to grow and I felt stronger and more capable about pursuing a new career in food.
Now I teach an array of people, collaborating with brands and own my cookschool, British Indian Kitchen. Not to mention my cookbook which will be published in 2018! My children are my young apprentices and they love to cook, as I help them grow and give them the confidence to try something new. Just taking the time to listen, encouraging them, I feel that if they learn to gain confidence and I set that example that anything is possible, they will hopefully learn to give confidence to others.
Confidence pairs with giving someone the strength to try something different, and for me, my closest loved ones did just that, and today I'm so grateful. I'm achieving things in my life that I would never have thought would be possible. The next time someone needs your advice, just fill them with confidence. You never know, they might one day find the courage to try something new."