Skip to Content

Madhur Jaffrey

« Back to Glossary Index

### Early Life and Education:
Madhur Jaffrey was born in Civil Lines, Delhi, into a Mathur Kayastha Hindu joint family.
– She supported Mahatma Gandhi’s demand for Indian independence from British rule.
– Jaffrey experienced the effects of the partition of India in 1947.
– She attended schools in Kanpur and Delhi, participating in school plays.
– Jaffrey pursued higher education at Miranda House, earning a B.A. in English Honours.
– Her college experiences influenced her future career choices.
– Jaffrey’s academic foundation was significantly shaped by Miranda House in New Delhi.

### Career in Performing Arts:
Madhur Jaffrey joined the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.
– She won a scholarship from RADA and graduated with honors in 1957.
– Jaffrey appeared in various plays, including Off-Broadway productions and Broadway shows.
– She collaborated with Ismail Merchant and James Ivory on Merchant Ivory Films.
– Jaffrey acted in several films, winning the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlin International Film Festival.
– Her diverse acting career included roles in films, TV series, and theatrical productions.

### Culinary Career:
Madhur Jaffrey learned to cook in London at the age of 19.
– She published her first cookbook, “An Invitation to Indian Cooking,” in 1973.
– Jaffrey authored cookbooks on Indian, Asian, and world vegetarian cuisines.
– She presented cooking series on television and developed a line of mass-marketed cooking sauces.
– Jaffrey’s culinary expertise earned her multiple James Beard Foundation Awards and the Cookbook Hall of Fame induction.

### Personal Life and Family:
Madhur Jaffrey married Saeed Jaffrey and later Sanford Allen.
– She has three daughters: Zia, Meera, and Sakina, each pursuing their own careers.
– Jaffrey’s family has connections to notable figures like Raghu Raj Bahadur and Sheila Dhar.
– Her daughter, Sakina Jaffrey, is known for her acting roles.
Madhur Jaffrey’s personal life includes travel, freelance writing, and residing in Manhattan and upstate New York.

### Awards and Recognitions:
Madhur Jaffrey received various awards, including the James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.
– She was honored with the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2022.
– Jaffrey’s contributions to cultural relations led to an Honorary CBE in 2004.
– She has been recognized for her work in various fields, from acting to culinary arts.
– Jaffrey’s accomplishments also include directing a documentary film and publishing a book on South Africa’s AIDS epidemic.

Madhur Jaffrey (Wikipedia)

Madhur Jaffrey CBE (née Bahadur; born 13 August 1933) is an Indian-born British-American actress, food and travel writer, and television personality. She is recognized for bringing Indian cuisine to the western hemisphere with her debut cookbook, An Invitation to Indian Cooking (1973), which was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Cookbook Hall of Fame in 2006. She has written over a dozen cookbooks and appeared on several related television programmes, the most notable of which was Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cookery, which premiered in the UK in 1982. She was the food consultant at the now-closed Dawat, which was considered by many food critics to be among the best Indian restaurants in New York City.

Madhur Jaffrey

Jaffrey at a cookbook event in Vancouver in October 2010
Madhur Bahadur

(1933-08-13) 13 August 1933 (age 90)
Alma mater
AwardsSee below
Culinary career
Cooking styleIndian and South Asian
Current restaurant(s)
  • Dawat, New York City (1986 to present)
Television show(s)
  • Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cookery (1982), Far Eastern Cookery (1989), Listening To Volcanoes (1990), From Manna to Microwave (1990), Madhur Jaffrey’s Flavours of India (1995), Friends for Dinner (2001), Ready, Steady Cook (2001), Cooking Live (2001)
Award(s) won
  • James Beard Foundation Award
    * 2006: Cookbook Hall of Fame An Invitation to Indian Cooking
    * 2004: International Cookbook From Curries to Kebabs
    * 2002: International Cookbook Madhur Jaffrey's Step-by-Step Cooking
    * 2000: International Cookbook Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian
    * 1994: Cookbook of the Year Madhur Jaffrey’s A Taste of the Far East
    * 1994: International Cookbook Madhur Jaffrey’s A Taste of the Far East
    Guild of Food Writers Award
    * 2004: Cookery Book of the Year The Curry Bible
    * 1999: Cookery Book of the Year Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian
    International Association of Culinary Professionals Bert Greene Award
    * 2003 Best Food Journalism in a Magazine Passage to Pakistan, Saveur
    New York Women in Film & Television Muse Award
    * 2000: Outstanding Vision and Achievement
    Governor's New York State Division of Women Award for Excellence 1999
    Food Arts magazine Silver Spoon Award 1998
    Taraknath Das Foundation Award 1993

She was instrumental in bringing together filmmakers James Ivory and Ismail Merchant, and acted in several of their films, such as Shakespeare Wallah (1965), for which she won the Silver Bear for Best Actress award at the 15th Berlin International Film Festival. She has appeared in dramas on radio, stage and television.

In 2004, she was named an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in recognition of her services to cultural relations between the United Kingdom, India and the United States, through her achievements in film, television and cookery. In 2022, she was awarded the Padma Bhushan from the Government of India, which is the third highest civilian award.

Her childhood memoir of India during the final years of the British Raj, Climbing the Mango Trees, was published in 2006.

« Back to Glossary Index