Growing Up and Inspiration
Binixa (Bini) Ludlow grew up in Bradford, West Yorkshire. She learnt traditional Gujarati cooking from her mother and aunties at the tender age of eight (to prepare her for married life), and then took over the running of the family kitchen aged thirteen. Bini’s passion for traditional Indian cooking stemmed from being surrounded by experienced home cooks at the heart of Bradford’s diverse culture, and an array of Indian shops full of unusual, exotic ingredients.
Bini, ‘The Career Woman’
Staying true to traditional home cooking techniques has played a vital role in Bini’s career to date. She has worked in secondary schools, teaching young people how to cook creatively while ensuring that they understand the processes involved when cooking with spices. Her real passion lies in producing delicious, colourful dishes that are easily replicated at home.
Bini has been entertaining friends and family with honest Indian fare for many years and her love affair with good Indian food has not abated over the years.
Bini believes that Indian cooking is about loving the ingredients and not rushing the process. If a dish is rushed the food never tastes as good as when time, effort and a little care and attention have been taken to prepare it.
In 2005, Bini decided to locate to India for a few months in order to explore her heritage and meet her extended family. She witnessed first-hand how women in India produce their cuisine. It was a real eye-opening experience for Bini to compare her Bradford-learnt cooking techniques with her Indian family’s truly authentic culinary techniques. She also worked at schools in the Gujarat and Kerala to enhance her knowledge of local customs, traditions and food culture.
Bini was surprised and delighted to learn that it’s common for Indian men to use cooking as a business venture. She witnessed a lot of male street food vendors on her travels and was intrigued by what they served up. Bini discovered the ultimate curry in Goa: crab curry with rice and salad. It was such a revelation that it spurred Bini on to experiment with renewed vigour when she returned to the UK.
As a qualified secondary school DT teacher, Bini taught creative cooking techniques and introduced young people to the colourful role of spices in cooking. It felt like a natural progression for Bini to set up a cookery school and share her passion for spices with a network of friends, family and other budding cooks wishing to replicate colourful Indian dishes at home.
Bini set up Sweet Cumin in 2011 and she now runs a broad range of half and full day cookery classes to suit all abilities. Hosted at Bini’s charming country home in Somerset, class attendees can expect a personalised, hands-on experience, in a supportive environment. With class sizes set at a maximum of four people – attendees are guaranteed to learn with absolute confidence.
For Bini – Indian cooking is all about loving each and every ingredient and not rushing the process. Which is why she only uses the best, locally-sourced produce. When time, effort and care is taken – richer, deeper flavours can be created and savoured. Bini is a firm believer that sharing good food together creates the best memories.
To develop the Sweet Cumin brand in a new direction, Bini is currently working on new classes inspired by other regional curries around India and East Africa and ready meal recipe ideas. Bini’s mum lived in Kenya for 18 years – so she would like to explore the African influence inherent in her mum’s cooking.
Bini’s career has gone from strength to strength in recent years. Her portfolio of accolades now includes a raft of awards for her classes and frozen ready meal range, numerous high-profile TV and Radio appearances (BBC, ITV and C4) as well as featuring in local and national press (The Guardian, Delicious Magazine, Crumbs Magazine). Bini’s longstanding collaboration with Thatchers Cider (pairing curries with ciders) has been rolled out across the UK, Australia and the US.