I am Nimi Sunilkumar from Munnar, Kerala.
I am a cookbook author/culinary teacher/freelance writer/food photographer/a part time food blogger/a dietitian.
These are my set of job titles that I try to stitch together.
Who is a Culinary Artist?
Cooking is an art in itself.
Culinary Artist according to me is one who can breathe in life to the food, making it flavourful and appealing enough to trigger your taste buds.
What did you want to be when you were in higher secondary school?
My flair for cooking started off during school days, but it was only after my marriage I started taking it up seriously.
Life was not easy having a husband as the best food critic picking and pinpointing on every single thing. In fact, I started cooking seriously to make him eat what I cooked.
In high school, I had dreams to pursue my career as an archaeologist or as a writer. Never in my school days I had thought of writing about food. But, I did have a hobby of clipping out recipes from different magazines and maintaining a food diary of my own. And I used to wait for the weekends to try out the recipes. But when my mother found me getting a bit too engrossed in cooking, she started limiting me to cooking saying that it’s now time that I concentrate on my studies as there would be a phase in life when I have to cook.
Well, literally I have a lifetime to cook .
What is your typical day like?
My day starts off with my role as a homemaker. By 8.30 am I board the bus to school. At school I handle two job roles.
I was roped in as a culinary teacher for students (as a part of work education classes) and also as a dietitian. We serve lunch for about 1000 children every day. The people who cook there are not professional chefs. They are basically bus attenders. My basic role there is to train the people who cook in the kitchen, so that they serve healthy food to the students. A menu is prepared taking into notice that inclusion of vegetables is on the higher priority. The kids are encouraged not to waste the vegetables.
I work at the school till 2 pm and return home and then have my classes on Kerala cuisine for foreigners. After the class it’s back to home chores and once those are settled I sit down on the work of my books and blog.
What did you learn about the career after you started your job?
First and foremost, I have taken life as it has unfolded. As a cookbook author, my books have all been self published. I wrote my first book in 2009.
It wasn’t easy at all to start of self publishing as I didn’t have much idea of the paper and printing norms. I have learnt quite a lot now compared to the earlier days of ignorance after writing three books.
Two of my cookbooks went on to bag “Best in the world” for the “Gourmand world cookbook awards”.
My attempt on starting my first book was to treasure the authentic recipes of Kerala. Winning awards for my books were one of the most memorable moments.
Some of the most inspiring moments were when I was congratulated by celebrity chefs like Vikas Khanna and Sanjeev Kapoor.
What things would you do differently in preparing for this career?
I would try to keep myself updated and as food in itself is a vast subject.
What do you love about your current role?
The best part about my current role is that, my passion and career go hand in hand.
What are the challenges you face in your career?
Personally coming from a traditional family where women are just homemakers, striving hard to bring out my books and driving my passion into the connecting fields have certainly taken its time.
What is the future of a Culinary Artist in India?
Food is something that is a part and parcel of our life, so I’m sure that the demand would be more in future.
What are your future aspirations?
My future aspirations are to bring out more books on the regional cuisine of India and preserve our authentic recipes .
What sort of experiences helped prepare you most?
Experiences have always added value in my steps.
Being a self published author my first book was a really hard attempt as understanding paper and print was a whole new dimension.
Facing challenges and learning to overcome it were the great experiences that helped me prepare the most.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I love to spend time by reading books, cooking and writing.
What are the skills and education required to be a Culinary teacher?
Passion for cooking, creativity, patience to explain out in detail, knife skills, multitasking while cooking and there should always be a commitment to the quality of the end product.
Now there are different training programs like chefs training, Catering, Baking and pastry arts under many universities. There are also the Food & Nutrition courses that can help a lot of people who are interested in menu planning and creating a balanced meal.
What are the various job roles a Culinary Artist can perform?
There are many food based careers depending on what field his/her liking is. Some of them are:
- Culinary demonstrators
- Food stylists
- Food photography
What do you think potential recruiters look for in a fresh Culinary Artists?
It’s important that the culinary artist has to have a good sense of business as to create recipes and run a kitchen in the cost effective way.
A skilled person always gets noticed through his/her commitment to the quality of the products.
How do I know if a career in Food Industry is for me?
You can take up this career, if you think:
- you have a strong passion for food
- keen on broadening your skills by practicing different techniques and styles of cooking
It should be noted that this field demands a lot of competition and serious time commitment.
Any final thoughts or message?
I was a person who had no clue that life would lead me to food.
I guess every person should have ambitions and dreams but finding that specific dream which you want in your life is the challenge.
A passion for the career that we choose is important as it always helps in taking stronger steps. (Should you follow your passion?)
Check out her website : nimisrecipes
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