Zebunnesa: A culinary artist’s journey
Zebunnessa Begum's passion for cooking was sparked at a very early age, which enabled her to flourish in this sector very quickly. The family support was with her but it was she who had to work hard to get her established in this world. She was introduced to culinary world from her teenager age and as the time passed, the passion for cooking got palpable. As she got it particularly to her likings, she prepared her, taking various courses on cooking.
She holds Level-1 certificate in food preparation & cooking, City & Guilds of London Institute, Biman Flight Catering Centre (BFCC), Bangladesh-2016. She has level-2 Food Safety in Catering City & Guilds of London Institute, Biman Flights Catering Centre (BFCC), Bangladesh-2016. Moreover she has completed a course on special cookery & bakery course from National Hotel & Tourism Training Institute (NHTTI) in 2013.
She provides training on different cooking item like microwave cooking, chinese, moglai, ice-cream, sweets dish, pickle, Indian food, Thai and so on. Currently, she is contracted as recipe writer in a national renowned Bangla newspaper Prothom Alo Naksha. She is also an anchor of School Program "Blackboard ar Baire" in Chanel-9.
She is experienced on TV cooking programme too as she had already worked with many private TV channels in Bangladesh like -- ATN Bangla, SATV, Chanel- I, Chanel -9, BTV etc.
Born in Mollarpar, North Agrabad in Chittagong, Zebunnesa was fond of dancing and singing and even took training on singing, dance and recitation at Zila Silpokala Academy, Chittagong.
Her family strictly forbade her to stop those cultural activities after she got adult. Finding no other alternative to defy her family order she dropped the idea to be singer or dancer.
But while she was getting trained on dancing and singing, she was honing her skill on cooking too since her family was cooking-oriented. Zebunnesa was ambitious to show the skill she harnessed on cooking and actually was trying to find a way. Then there was a time when she got the news of a competition 'Prothom Alo Acher' in the Prothom Alo newspaper. And she applied it curiously as she had already got the skill right. There she won first prize to her delight.
"I felt confident after that competition," Zebunnesa said. "There was belief inside me that I could go long way in this sector. So I became unstoppable to fulfill my desire."
Then she started trying to do something creative and attended an International competition.
"Gradually I started getting my foot in this arena. This was dream come true and I started getting addicted on cooking too much. Then I started writing on recipe in Prothom Alo regularly after which there was no stopping in my endeavour," she informed.
Zebunnesa has also some awards to doll up her shelf like Pran Prothom Alo Pickle Competition 2009 (1st prize), Pran Prothom Alo Pickle Competition -2010 (2nd prize), Monitor Malaysian Palm Oil Chef of the year Competition 2010 (top ten) and Diploma Mishti Lorai Competition 2012 (top ten).
Her horizon was expanded when she was offered from a TV channel for a cooking show and she started doing it. But her family and father-in-law was against the idea that she would do TV show. Upon their insistence, she stopped doing TV show but continued her writing with Prothom Alo.
"I am the first one to start kids cooking show on TV," she said. "It was really a very interesting show. I have some interesting experience with this programme. The kids tasted the food what we cooked. They seemed to be very happy to judge the quality of the food, which was interesting to me."
She also gave her judgment on cooking competition like ACI Anando Alo National Vorta Competition 2017 and Pran Pickle Competition 2018.
"I got it interesting to anchor in TV prgrammes and also feel happy to pass my judgment on cooking. There were many judges who gave different opinions. But cooking is an art and everybody is aware that the art is implemented right way," she said.
She also has some plans on cooking.
"In future I want to create a programme on only cooking, highlighting the celebrities of the cooking arena. I also want to write a cooking book which can be helpful for new cookers who have no idea on cooking. I will try to ensure that this book can act as a right chef," she revealed.