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International Women's Day with Malaika

In the spirit of International Women’s Day, tell us about some of the women that you are most inspired by personally and professionally?

I am inspired by so many women doing amazing things daily! My biggest inspirations are definitely the women that surround me and pour love into me daily but I'm also inspired by many of the women I follow and interact with on social media especially the young black women I know that produce content consistently or the ones that cook & bake professionally. I have a deep affection and admiration for The Kitchenista's simplicity in the kitchen, It's Holly's inquisitiveness, and The Greedy Girl Cook's experimentation with traditional Jamaican ingredients.

Tell us about about your relationship with food and cooking, what your earliest memory of being in the kitchen is and/or what inspired you to get into cooking?

My experience with food is immersive – I enjoy cooking, eating, learning and even just talking about food, how it can shape our lives and influence the type of people that we are. Having grown up in London to Jamaican parents, with predominantly West African friends and eating out often with my Mother from a very early age my relationship with food transcends cultural and geographical boundaries, but is also how I celebrate my culture and heritage by sharing my Jamaican recipes for others to enjoy.

My earliest memories of being in the kitchen are rooted in my impatience and greed! I always wanted to taste the food as soon as possible and helping out was the best way to do that. Many of my family members are in the catering industry so I was surrounded by an infectious passion for cooking from an early age that my appetite helped me to embrace. My mum has always loved eating out and exploring new cultures, exposing to me lot of different foods growing up, always encouraging me to try things at least once and to see my culture as a foundation for my exploration.

You’ve recently released your first e-book, Seven. What can readers expect from it?

Seven is a small introduction into juices and soups for those that are interested in developing a more wholistic, intuitive attitude to eating. The concept was born out of my first seven day water fast so it focuses on seven plant based, gluten free soup and juice recipes that I love when I want to recentre and recharge. I am a big advocate of making informed (& data led where possible) decisions so I have packed it with an introductory overview of what juicing is, what are soups, how to make stock, a seasonal  produce calendar, and seven small poems that help me to remember the important things in life.

What is your favourite food/type of dish to cook and where do you seek inspiration for new dishes?

What, how and when I cook is based heavily on my mood and lifestyle at any given time so I cook to the vibes I am experiencing. When I'm at my best and in the mood I like to cook more layered, complex dishes, exploring new ideas and experiment with concepts that require all my attention, patience and time. I love cooking anything that makes me feel good! When I'm not in the mood I keep it simple; spicy prawn omelettes, victoria sponge cakes, pasta dishes and oven jerk chicken.

Much of my inspiration comes from dining out, travelling, watching food related shows and researching ideas on the internet. I am also an avid recipe book collector and don't buy books to actually cook the recipes but to see how others pair flavours & textures together (and look at the beautiful pictures!)

Clickhere to keep up to date with Malaika and To purchase her new book SEVEN.