Alvida, chef Tarla

Alvida, chef Tarla

She is a household name in India, a culinary legend credited with revolutionising Indian cooking.

Celebrated chef and cookbook author Tarla Dalal, 77, died in her sleep from a heart attack at her Mumbai residence on Wednesday, The Times Of India reported on Thursday.

Mrs Dalal was supposed be at the Singapore Swimming Club for a one-day cooking demonstration on Nov 13.

When contacted, Ms Chandni Jain, the director of events company Limite Edition, the organisers behind Mrs Dalal's visit, said she learned of the death on Wednesday afternoon.

"Limite Edition has been working closely with Mrs Dalal for the past few months, planning for the Nov 13 event.

"We are deeply saddened by her passing".

Mrs Dalal, a vegetarian chef, was last here in 2011 when she prepared healthy Rajasthani and Gujarati cuisine for a week at the Rang Mahal Pavilion in Resorts World Sentosa's Hard Rock Hotel.

Born in Pune, India in 1936, she moved to Mumbai after marrying Mr Naveen Dalal in 1958.

She began giving cooking demonstrations in her home in 1966 and published her first cookbook, The Pleasures of Vegetarian Cooking, in 1974.

An instant success, it sold more than a million copies.

She went on to write about 200 books that have been translated into several languages.

Mrs Dalal also hosted popular television cooking shows like The Tarla Dalal Show and Cook it Up with Tarla Dalal.

She is survived by her three children aged between 49 and 54.

Her husband died in 2005.

With family

Her son, Mr Deepak Dalal, told The Indian Express: "There was no hospitalisation, no suffering. She died with the family around.

"She was full of energy and loved her work immensely. She went out of her way to help people.

"Just last week, she was here with us. After returning to Mumbai, she was scheduled to go to Singapore for a cooking class. She died with her boots on."

Explaining Mrs Dalal's appeal, Singapore chef and culinary consultant SR Bala, 39, told The New Paper that there might have been cookbooks before Mrs Dalal wrote hers, but none captivated generations the way hers did.

Mr Bala, president of the Indian Chefs & Culinary Association (Singapore), added: "She was likeable and her cooking was uncomplicated, so that's why she resonated with audiences.

"She became an inspiration because she made Indian food affordable and accessible to everyone."

zothman@sph.com.sg


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