Face of Patak curry Anjali Pathak talks about why Swiss Cottage is home

Anjali Pathak, the face of family-run curry spice business Patak’s, talks to reporter Rachael Getzels about why she loves living in Swiss Cottage.

Anjali Pathak is the face of family-run business Patak’s, which makes curry spices and mixes that are sold around the world. The 31-year-old learned how to cook from her mother and grandmother and says Patak sauces are still based on family recipes. This month she was invited to attend the woman of the year lunch in honour of her achievements.

What bought you to Swiss Cottage?

My family have had an apartment here for 20 years and we used it on and off for work for that time, and then I officially moved here a year ago. I love the north west of London because I’ve been coming down here for the last 20 years of my life.

What is your favourite thing about the area?

It’s very family oriented and very quiet – also I love how leafy and green it is. There are great parks nearby. I also like all the small independent cafes in Hampstead. I’m very foody and I’m not a huge fan of chains.

Where is the best place to buy Indian spices locally?

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I actually just go down to my local Indian shop. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s the best, but it’s right outside my house and they have a very large spice range. They stock a lot of the spices I use in my cooking, which I can’t find in supermarkets – Rajah’s spices, for example.

Where is the best place to eat Indian food in the area?

I don’t eat Indian food out much because I cook at home. I’m an Indian chef, so I can make it cheaper and tailor it to my taste buds. You can add things or leave them in. There’s the social element of eating, which is the most important part for me. If I make an amazing meal, I want to show it off and share it.

What’s the most important thing people need to know to be a good cook?

They need to know where to get good ingredients. I like to fly the flag for independent shops. If the supermarket is your one-stop shop, try to get in-season ingredients.

What’s the biggest mistake people make in the kitchen?

They try to be too ambitious. If you try recipes you don’t have time for, or dishes with difficult techniques, you’ll never be a great cook, you’ll be an average cook. You should pick dishes that are perfect for your skill level.

If you could write your own epitaph, what would it say?

‘Love the life you live, live the life you love.’ My brother, when he bought me an iPod a few years ago, had it engraved on the back, and I’ve always remembered it. I suppose it’s the way I approach life, it’s my motto.