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Island girl

Categories: News and previews

Selina Periampillai on why she’ll be bringing a little bit of Mauritian sunshine to the demo kitchen

In the early days of my food career, venturing to Borough Market was a treat. A huddle of fellow food bloggers, hardly acquainted, would meet to feast on the multiple offerings from the stall holders, enjoying oozing grilled cheeses and crisp warm dosas filled with chilli-spiked potatoes, or succumbing to gooey chocolate baked brownies.

The thriving market was always packed with tourists and locals alike, open-eyed with excitement, as if every visit was their first time. The morning dew glistened on freshly picked vegetables, while ripened fruit added a pop of vibrant colour to stalls. The myriad enticing aromas would pull you in different directions. It became a place that I looked forward to visiting in order to take a breather, wandering through the hordes of people and seeking out samples, before making the important decision about what I wanted to eat on a leisurely Saturday morning.

Today, a trip to the Market still feels like a treat, whether it’s a coffee meeting at my favourite haunt, Rabot 1745, a glass of wine at Bedales, or my monthly visit to purchase my supply of charcuterie and Blackwood’s cheese, which I regularly smear on warm fresh bread at the weekend. It has retained that air of excitement—you never know what you might discover. One trip opened my eyes to the delights of Bread Ahead doughnuts, filled to the brim with crème patisserie, sat proudly alongside freshly baked breads.

Flavourful wraps, vibrant salads
Every visit awards an increasing plethora of seafood on display, and shoppers watch in delight as food is cooked up in front of them. I tend to opt for flavour-packed wraps and vibrant salads from Gourmet Goat—which has enough pull to have me pining for the next visit, seconds after it’s gone.

This is not fancy food; it is real people cooking what they love. I think that’s why part of me feels at home here. Since I have been cooking for others, whether it’s through supperclubs, pop-ups or teaching, I’ve put my heart and soul into making things exactly how my mother made them, or in just the way that my family taught me in Mauritius. Every recipe has a story. People want to experience the background tale through the taste and flavour of the ingredients so when I present a dish, it will be in its original form.

I am ecstatic to be in the Borough Market demo kitchen this month—to be in that buzzing environment, surrounded by these purveyors of quality produce and utilising it to cook the food I grew up on, is an exciting milestone. I’ll be bringing a little bit of sunshine food from Mauritius and the Indian Ocean islands to this London landmark, in a tropical feast for the senses. I look forward to sharing stories and my knowledge of this exotic region.

Join Selina for tips, tastings and recipes Friday 19th July in the Market Hall, 1-2:30pm