A Yorkshire business woman is using her culinary skills to educate people in the Dales about Kashmiri cooking and its heritage.
Yesmien Bagh Ali from Skipton started Amaali in 2007, turning her passion for food and her family’s Kashmiri heritage into a thriving business selling hand-blended spice mixes based on the dishes her mother used to cook.
Yasmein said; “My family originally came from a small village in Azaad Kashmir and it was my mother who taught me the secrets of blending spices. She passed her love of cooking and her age-old Kashmiri dishes down to me and it’s these traditional methods and local village recipes that I’m now passing on.”
After the success of Amaali spice mixes, which caught the attention of top chef Nigel Howarth and renowned food writer Madhur Jaffrey amongst others, Yasmein expanded the business and now runs cookery workshops, cultural awareness programmes and more recently school workshops throughout the county.
Coupling her background working with early years in education with her passion for food and cultural background, the workshops aim to give pupils a practical hands on approach to build an understanding and positive attitude towards different cultures.
“I grew up in Skipton, ‘gateway to the Dales’ and I’m proud of being British. But I am also proud of my heritage and while my life is very different from the generations that went before, my recipes and approach are the same.”
The workshops, which meet Ofsted’s requirement that pupils are helped to develop a respect and understanding of different faiths and cultures, include 5 different activities so pupils and schools can mix and match to suit individual needs.
“The sessions which include cookery, art, drama and dance, give pupils and staff the opportunity to explore activities that encourage tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs, tackle prejudice and discrimination and address difficult and controversial events in the news, something that is very important in the current time.”
For further information visit www.amaali.co.uk