Next up in our behind the scenes blog is Sumayya Usmani, one of the newest chefs to join Seasoned to teach us all the art of tasty curries.

What did you do before joining Seasoned?

Alongside working at Seasoned Cookery School, I also write cook books, including Summers under the Tamarind Tree. I also like to write a column, alongside presenting on the radio sometimes too. I have quite a versatile work life.

What is your favourite cookbook and why?

 I think it is hard to choose just one cook book – However, a selection of my favourite cookbook authors have to be by Claudia Roden, Olia Herculese & Tessa Kiros.   

Have you ever written your own cookbook?

I have two cookbooks, Summers under the tamarind tree, and Mountain berries & desert spice.

What do you most like to cook at home?

I love cooking, and most of my life is surrounded by food, but when I’m at home, I just love cooking quick and easy food, but each dish has to be full of flavour.

What was your favourite thing to cook as a child?

 My absolute favourite thing to cook as a child has to be a cheesecake! – They are so tasty. My favourite flavour has to be baked lemon.  

You’re stuck on a desert island, what would you ideal three-course meal include?

 Ohhh that is very tricky! – There’s so much choice. For a starter, I would have to go with Baba Ganoush, which is a super tasty dip which is absolutely full of flavour. For my main course, I would obviously have to choose my mothers Mutton Pullo, it is so tasty. Finally, to finish, my first choice of dessert would be Ground rice cardamom & rose water pudding!   

Do you have any particular cuisines that you enjoy eating?

 I absolutely love Pakistan cuisine, I have such ties with this type of food, and there is so much heritage behind it. I also love Middle Eastern & South East Asian food. Each of these cuisines are all packed full of flavour. 

And finally… What is your favourite tea and treat?

I absolutely love Cardamom, so my favourite tea is definitely Milky Cardamom Chai, and then for a treat, basically anything which includes Marzipan!


If you’d like to get to know Sumayya a little more, and the roots behind her cooking style, then why not join her for a day of Curries & Accompaniments. View the full course page here.

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