The chef with the firey eyes from Bruges innovates with her catchy recipes and organizes private dinner workshops (Kookindi), bringing us closer to the rich and spicy Hindi culture. Her stylistic choices: modern, young and exotic, yet always mature and elegant.
Meet Diya Janssens, owner and founder of Kookindi, freelance nurse, CD&V candidate for the 2018 city elections in Bruges (21 place) and a member of the triathlon club in Bruges “Lostriamigos”, in an exclusive interview for my lifestyle project "Women of Style". Fashion-conscious businesswomen.
Styling, concept, photography: Marianna Lagakou - Van Zandweghe
Clothes: La Greca Blog and private collection
Jewelry and bags: La Greca Blog
How passionate are you about your job?
Actually, Kookindi merely started as a hobby and a passion for cooking, as well as a way to preserve and respect my identity. My roots are in India. So, yes, it is a job but I obviously put my heart and soul in it.
Your best career moment?
My best career moment is actually quite recent. On May 27th 2018 we launched my project “Bombé burger”, which I have invented myself. The burger is a bomb of tastes and gives a small hint on my roots. Well, so does the name itself. A burger that is not 100% Hindi, but has a Hindi touch plus it is healthy. We have worked together with local shop/restaurant owners. The burger was made from an airy curry mustard bread by Stefaan Vandaele, biological bread maker, the burger was 100% Holstein beef by Pieter Lonneville from Tête Presée, the seasonal vegetables came from Jens Mouton from Boer Bas. There was also a vegan version of the burger and that was an oyster and mushroom burger by Bart Vanderveken from Kopje Zwam.
What’s most challenging for you as a woman in your line of work?
The future is challenging but I do not want to rush things. I wish to let Kookindi grow as a company gradually. There is always room for improvement. If it goes well, I also wish to begin sponsoring good causes.
How important are style and fashion in your daily life? Tell us about your outfits at work and beyond.
I find style and fashion extremely important. Dress according to the moment! Do not overdress or underdress, which is not always an easy assignment.
So daily at work I wear jeans and a white shirt. Practical, fresh and easy-going.
For my cooking workshops though, I wear my Hindi outfit for a more intense experience for my guests. It is elaborate and very feminine.
At a party I like to wear a dress and high heels.
(Here I have to add that Diya is the kind of girl who is not afraid to stand out, but always with choices she knows she can support. Her look for Le Diner at the Casino in Knokke this May will remain unforgettable: sheath silver beaded gown with matched silver/gray eye shadow and platformed high heels. Vintage married with contemporary, however successfully avoiding the extreme lady Gaga effect.)
Summer 2018: Ice cream pastels (baby pink, lilac etc), exotic florals (patterns with flowers) or powerful brights (coral red, electric blue, yellow...)?
I mostly like blue, white, beige and gold. These colors I am faithful to. I don't really wear red, so it was a bold choice for this photoshoot, but I trusted you, Marianna, so I went for it!
(And girl, didn't that work out! You look stunning in this happy 2018 red shade. If you readers agree with me and want to motivate Diya to add a bit of red in her wardrobe, feel free to leave your comment below...)
Your favorite accessory?
Oh, my Indian earrings in gold with special natural stones.
(You are right, earrings suit you! I certainly suggest long drop or chandelier earrings for your swan neck, your oval face and playful, loose, dark hair.)
Your secret ingredient in life?
Always stay positive and true to others. Karma has no deadline!
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