London: Glasgow-based Indian curry king Raj Bajwe cooked delicacies for hundreds of celebrities including Michael Jackson and Amitabh Bachchan, and has now completed a book that sets out his experiences with the bold and the beautiful from across the world.
Bajwe, 46, particularly remembers Jackson, who
relished his `saag paneer` and `aloo gobi`, during the
latter`s visit to Glasgow in the mid-1970s with the Jackson 5.
"Michael Jackson was a soft spoken man. We became good
friends. We met seven times and twice I cooked `saag paneer`
and `aloo gobi` for him. He later invited me to his private
parties in the Neverland ranch," Amritsar-origin Bajwe told
Bajwe`s book, to be published later this year, is
titled `Tikka Picture: Eat It` and includes pictures with over
200 celebrities including Jackson, Sean Connery, George
Clooney, Mel Gibson and Indian film actors such as Bachchan,
Madhuri Dixit, Kajol and Sunil Shetty.
"Jackson was 90 per cent vegetarian, and sometimes had
chicken. He always liked extra hot spicy food. When he tasted
my `alu gobi` he remarked it was cooked to perfection, that he
could taste the flavour of cauliflower," Bajwe said.
Bajwe, who was the master chef for 11 years, now owns
one of the most well known Indian restaurants in Glasgow,
called Cafe India. His book, he said, will reveal culinary
secrets of celebrities that feature in the Wall of Fame in his
In 2004, Jackson paid 2000 pounds to fly Bajwe and two
staff to London to cook his favourite `saag paneer` and `aloo
gobi`. Bajwe was due to fly to the USA to cook for him shortly
before his death last year.
Bajwe, who is travelling to India next month to marry,
said, "He hated being called Jacko. Anyone who used the term
was asked to leave the room."
Raj`s all-time favourite guest is Tom Jones, who scoffed four starters, three curries and a sweet in a two-and-a-half hour feast.
But his biggest disappointment came when the Spice
Girls failed to show for a booking.
"Their manager, Simon Fuller, had promised to bring them, but he was sacked a few days previously," said Bajwe.