And boy, has this one been a whirlwind of highs and lows and a few career firsts! There have been so many Big Things, from leaving my long term career in the corporate world to setting up the Hari Ghotra brand. From working with the fantastic team at Jellyfish and launching the website to learning about (and working on) all the social media channels. These are all major milestones for me but there have also been 101 other new situations, events, and challenges I’ve faced which have all helped to begin building up the Hari Ghotra brand. What’s even more exciting is that I’ve lived to tell the tale and I’m even more thrilled about next year!
So these are my highlights from 2014:
- Creating the website and photographing all the dishes. Luckily for me I come from a digital marketing background so when terms like SEO, interstitial ads, PPC campaigns started to get thrown around the boardroom I didn’t run for cover (too much). That said, everything from the technical side of things to the art direction on the food photography has been an eye opener, and I’ve loved every minute. Believe me, it’s an art form making so many different types of curry look as good on screen as they taste. But what I am most proud of is that every dish featured on my website has been cooked by me, photographed by the team and, I’m so pleased to report, wolfed down after the shoot.
- Cooking with you. As well as the usual cooking classes I’ve been meeting the guys and girls at Google (and cooking for them) as well as bringing delicious Indian street food to a summer party in Reigate from my very cool van. We have (hopefully) lined up some great ‘Cooking with Hari’ sessions for the New Year so do come and watch me do a Masterchef on some poor volunteers!
- Being featured in Prima. We all love a good magazine and to be picked up by a national title is pretty awesome. The article, ‘What a Difference a Year Makes’, focused on what we’d achieved here in 2014, but the best bit had to be the photo shoot. I was pampered, given a makeover then styled by the lovely team at Prima – a girl could get used to this!
- Having articles published in the Guardian. I was so honoured to have this paper do a feature on me, it really knocked me out. And my mother! Her poor neighbours still haven’t heard the last of it… If you haven't seen it yet then here you go 'Advice to my younger self'
Ambassador for Curry for change. Being asked to be an Ambassador for the Curry for Change campaign for Find your Feet has been wonderful - I think this is a really special one. The work that this charity do with some of the poorest communities in India and Africa has been a real eye opener. I'm thrilled to have been able to do a tiny, little bit to help raise awareness and also hear some of the stories about how they have helped empower women in these communities. I am really looking forward to working with them more next year.
- Cooking on screen. I’ve faced a few new challenges this last year but I think the biggest one has been cooking (which I can do) on screen (which was not so easy). Sometimes you just have to get on with it though, and luckily for me I have a great team to help and guide me. Now I’m almost loving making these little films. Almost.
- Creating my authentic curry kits. Although it’s early days with my Curry Kits they are something that I am very proud of. These all-in-one bags are about helping you create authentic Indian flavours at home from scratch. They’ll be available for everyone to buy on the website next year and I can’t wait to hear what you think of them.
So that’s it! I think above everything what has been really fantastic is the support from all you guys out there. You’ve been trying the recipes, commenting on the dishes, sending in pics and sharing them with your friends.
And just for you, I’ve a whole new selection of recipes coming in the New Year and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say about them. So here’s to a fantastic Christmas (I’m raising a glass) and an even better 2015. Keep cooking, keep trying the recipes and keep having fun!