About

Philen Naidu Kirsty Vella
Photo Credits to my photography-guru friend, Sean Tucker Photography

Here’s a little bit of info about who we are, how we got here, and the principles we live by, which translates into our home, and the food we cook and serve. I apologize up front; neither Kirsty nor I live conventional lives, so writing about us is never short and simple.

Kirsty is a 100% Maltese island girl. She was born in Mellieha, a friendly and welcoming village in the picturesque north of Malta’s mother island.
My story (I am Philen) is a bit more complex; I am of Indian origin, and due to the effects of colonization in the late 1800’s, when my grandparents were relocated from India, I found myself born in South Africa.

Where Did I Learn to Cook?

My love for food began at an early age, due to Mum’s influence. At the age of 9 I discovered the passion that would drive me over the next 34 years, across 36+ countries, to bring me here. And that passion was discovered in eating Mum’s incomparably delicious home-cooked Indian food. And since the age of 9, I have followed Mum around the kitchen under her strict instruction of “Stand here and watch,” whenever I asked the question, “Mum, how do you cook this?” It took about 28 years of observation and ‘internship’ before I was finally allowed to cook in my mother’s kitchen, to cater for guests … a trial of endurance that nurtured qualities of Patience, Sincerity, and Attention-to-Detail in me, which I was lacking, and which were necessary, but which I was unaware of; the vital qualities that have crafted me into the person I am today when I stand in front of food.

Since that first day, I have continued at my own pace, in my devotion to authentic, home cooked Indian food and the traditional use of spices; committed to sharing what I learned from Mum, my Indian heritage, and from my motherland, India, where I lived between 2013 and 2016.

And Then Came Kirsty …

Kirsty’s presence in my life, since April 2016 when we met in Nepal, has left an indelible print on my food. I come from a meat-eating background, and my childhood favorites are about 90% lamb, chicken, fish and seafood, beef, and wild game dishes; in fact, Mum’s mutton curry, a dish highly regarded by the many who have been fortunate to taste it, is the first dish I ever wanted to cook, and is the spark that started it all. And my knowledge and skills in cooking, until Kirsty’s arrival in my life, was predominantly with lamb, chicken, fish and/or seafood as the Main, with a delicious vegetarian dish, only as a Side.

But with Kirsty being the most compassionate soul she is, who will not kill a mosquito, and is therefore vegan, I needed to make some changes. Because I quickly realized it would be pointless cooking anything if my soulmate couldn’t enjoy it. In fact, I needed her to love my food first, before anyone else, not only because that made sense romantically, but also because with the brain injuries sustained from a car accident in 2006, I had lost the ability to smell, and with that, about 85% of the ability to taste. So I have needed Kirsty to be my nose, more often than not, to help me as I have created recipes.

Long Story Short

As a result, I take everything I learned from Mum, sprinkle it with little gifts I picked up along my travels, and blend it with knowledge acquired during the years I lived in India. All this is set into an Indian heritage that flows through my blood, and which I cannot pinpoint or clearly define. Finally I make an intentional effort to align my food choices with the ancient traditions of Ayurveda … to create purely plant-based, natural and whole food recipes – with the intentional use of spices; to energize, heal, and uplift, while (hopefully) seducing, and fully satisfying the senses and leaving you with a Happy Tummy.

Kirsty and I have been together three years, and during this time, as we have adopted this way of eating and living into our daily lives, I have noticed a remarkable difference in the person I am – physically, emotionally, mentally. In fact, over the past three years, I have begun reversing an ‘incurable’ chronic disease I was diagnosed with after the car accident, around 2007. And for this reason, our home and our kitchen, is fully plant-based, and we do not compromise with our use of spices.

Philen and Kirsty (that’s us!) have been living in Gharb on Gozo island since March 2017.

Our Core Values in the Kitchen and in Life

Natural Living

We prefer natural and whole foods, with locally sourced fresh produce, where possible.


Compassion

We are Earth, and Earth is us. We practice sustainable habits, as far as we can manage. In our home and kitchen.


Community

We value community over individuality. We open our home to this end, and provide food to gather people together.


Tradition with Inspiration

Creativity is in our blood. It’s why we exist. And we also honor the timeless traditions of our ancestors. Our food is a marriage of the two.