Anita Sharma-James was born in Punjab, India in 1966 and grew up in Harborne, Birmingham. She gained a doctorate from Nottingham University and worked as an academic medical Research Scientist until 2002. She lives with her husband and 11 year old daughter in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire.
In 2007 Anita set up The Spice Trade, an Indian cookery school giving scores of people the confidence to cook Indian food, sharing her culinary heritage and culture. This gave rise to enormous interest in the authentic regional Indian food created during these sessions and before long, she was supplying food to local delis and cooking for exclusive dinner parties. The emphasis is on the highest quality Indian food made with locally sourced produce and flair, to suit each individual clients’ needs and dietary requirements.
In recent years, The Spice Trade has expanded to a many-faceted venture, offering live cookery demonstrations, educational talks, cookery team building and training events, wine tasting and high-end catering. Anita, whose client’s have included Audi, O2, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Lloyds, and Birmingham University, has now established a reputation for uncompromisingly fabulous Indian food and events.
Her live cookery theatre shows have captivated audiences at The Good Food Show, Malvern Three Counties, and The Royal Show, Stoneleigh amongst others, and she appeared on TV as a finalist in a national cookery competition with Jean-Christophe Novelli, in 2011.
Anita has also published recipe book A Life of Spice-Raksha’s Story charting her mother’s culinary journey from India to the UK, which is available from Waterstones. The book reveals that the journey of our lives is also our culinary journey, food footprints where we have stopped to cook and in turn have been nourished by others. Memories are evoked by food, its flavours, aromas and textures. From Pre-Independence Delhi, via the fertile plains of rural Punjab, to 1960s Birmingham, Anita’s mother, Raksha Devi has experienced an ever-changing culinary landscape. Her recipe book invites you to explore this rich journey through her mother’s eyes and through Indian festivals, religious rites, weddings, and the arrival of new generations born in the UK.
2014 sees Anita rebrand her company to Anita Sharma-James as her own name has become synonymous with the art and science of Indian cooking.