Dr. Priya Deshingkar, owner and founder of Deccan Tiffin, is passionate about nostalgic Indian cuisine. The daughter of Brahmin scholars, Priya’s culinary journey transcends cultural constraints, bringing the flavoursome dishes of Delhi – a place she describes as “a melting pot of northern Indian cultures” – to the shores of the UK.
Named to acknowledge her parents, who were born in the Deccan Plateau, Deccan Tiffin is the result of Priya’s passions for cooking, which are portrayed by juggling her own catering company and hosting monthly Maharani supperclubs from her villa residence in Hove. This senior-research-scholar-by-day cooks with invaluable cultural expertise passed down from her parents, and an extensive understanding of traditional Indian culinary secrets.
Cooked with traditional techniques – including layered marination for the deepening of flavours, tenderising using enzymes, perfuming with floral extracts and enriching with nuts – Priya’s recipes derive from the food that she grew up feasting on as a teenager in Delhi, before relocating to the UK in the 80’s. As a result, she specialises in the rich and complex Awadhi cuisine of The Nawabs of Lucknow, the fragrant meat dishes of the Mughals, the simple and delicious vegetarian cuisine of the Guptas and Agarwals, and the unique paneer dishes from Punjab.
It goes without saying, that Priya is not keen on fusion food, as she feels that many of the cooking techniques and flavour combinations that have evolved over centuries have brought out the best in food. Therefore, her perfectly-spiced dishes are cooked with intentions of “bringing the true taste to the people”. It’s always a grand affair – with an array of festive foods, vintage crockery and impressive early twentieth century decor. At each of her supper clubs, Priya pays much attention to detail, creating a comfortable and friendly “atmosphere of decadence and luxury”. This month, the Hove native is gearing up to bring the Deccan Tiffin family to London, a place she argues is the Indian food capital of the world, outside of India.
Naturally, the talented chef has gained a cult-like following of foodies, who will all no doubt be flocking to her debut supperclub in the capital, themed ‘A Taste of Old Pre-Partition Delhi’.
Deccan Tiffin takes over Asma Khan’s Darjeeling Express in busy Carnaby Street, London on Sun 20 May; you won’t want to miss this one!
The next Hove supperclub is on the 16 Jun, and there is also a cookery class available at the newly established Brighton Community Kitchen run by Brighton and Hove Partnership.