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British Indian Chef Romy Gill receives a medal from the Queen of England

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Romy Gill

Romy Gill

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Romy Gill, owner of the popular UK restaurant Romy’s Kitchen, has been honored with the Order of the British Empire for being the first Indian chef in the UK to both own her own restaurant and run the kitchen.

The award is given to those with “a significant achievement or outstanding service to the community,” and sees her join the likes of Jamie Oliver, Paul Heathcote, and Clare Smyth. This year she shares the honor with rockstar Rod Stewart, astronaut Tim Peake, and Downton Abbey’s Penelope Wilton.

She received a letter from the Queen weeks before she opened it, thinking it was just another bill, having no idea that inside the envelope was the news she’d be knighted by the Queen of England.

“For a woman [chef] to get the award!” she said. “I don’t think for a minute I ever thought that this was going to happen to me.”

Romy’s Kitchen serves modernized West Bengali dishes to the people of Thornbury, and every day, people file in and order the crowd-pleasing chicken makhani until it sells out. Gill spends countless hours each day preparing the dish, and several more hours over the fryer preparing pieces of fish for amritsari gurnard, a spicy fried fish that comes with fermented beets and pickled onions.

Gill’s mission? She just wants to cook food that makes you feel good — and it may not be the same way her mother cooked for her, but who’s to tell her that her matar paneer isn’t real?

“How my mom would cook a dish versus how another person’s mom would cook something is completely different,” she said.

Gill's Chile-Paneer Roll

Gill’s Chile-Paneer Roll

Growing up, Gill capitalized on any chance she could find to eat at a friends house. Born to Punjabi parents in Bengal, the food in her house growing up was very much centric to the traditions of Northern India.

“Any excuse I had, I’d go to my friends place to eat, and then go home and eat, too,” she said.

She flocked to England 22 years ago with the dreams of opening her own restaurant, and was faced with a harsh reality: The scene was predominately run by men, and the Indian food wasn’t that great. With her own motivation, and a little help from her friends and family, she set out to change the precedent.

Though she possessed no formal training, Gill began seeking out local chefs asking if she could cook in their kitchen for free. She approached cooking schools in the area and asked if she could come teach students how to prepare Indian food. Gill eventually opened a catering company, in 2013, the doors of her restaurant opened.

Gill's amritsari gurnard.

Gill’s amritsari gurnard.

“I think I’d still be at home, without a restaurant, if I never stopped asking,” Gill said. “You have to be passionate about something and really believe in it to make it happen, especially when you’re self-taught.”

“If I’ve given a little bit of hope to other women who have been wanting to do what I did from scratch,” she says, “I think my work is done.”

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Harvard to host 17th annual India Conference this February

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Diya TV) — For the 17th year in a row, the graduate students at Harvard University will host an India Conference. It will take place during the weekend of February 15-16, 2020. Two days of exciting discussions through panels, mixers and networking will fill the halls of the Harvard Business School and Kennedy School of Government.

The theme for this year’s conference is Foresight 20/20 – a look at what to expect from India in 2020 and beyond. As one of the largest student led conferences in the USA, the Harvard India conference attracts the biggest headliners from every field – from politics, business, entertainment & the arts. And this year is no different.

India Conference
India Conference at Harvard

With more than 100 speakers and 1000 attendees, the conference promises to have something for everyone. This year’s biggest draw from the entertainment genre is veteran Bollywood actor and self proclaimed ambassador to India, Anupam Kher. Kher has a long standing list of accolades within the film industry. In addition to his acting roles, he has been a producer, director and teacher at his own acting school. Most recently he played the role of Dr. Vijay Kapur on NBC’s primetime drama ‘New Amsterdam‘.

Some other notable speakers this year include founder of the India Today Group, Aroon Purie, Indian Olympic athelete Dutee Chand, comedian and actor, Vir Das, partner at Softbanks’ Vision Fund Lydia Jett & politician and India’s ruling party (BJP)’s sherpa to the G20, Suresh Prabhu.

The harsh winter in Harvard doesn’t seem slow down or dull these brilliant minds in any way. The India Conference at Harvard continues to retain its standing as the conference of choice for deliberating issues ranging from technology, media, politics and eduction to creating solutions for India’s path towards global leadership. The event features brainstorming sessions and sincere discussions on the very real and large scale problems that are uniquely Indian.

Diya TV is a media sponsor to the event and will be on-site covering conference. To receive a 20% discount use code RDAY20 here and to know more about the conference or speakers, head to the IndiaConference.com

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Indian Ambassador, Shringla speaks to U.S. Congress about Kashmir

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AMB. Shringla speaks to congress about Kashmir | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Harsh Shringla met with members of Congress at a private roundtable briefing, hosted by Southern California Congressman Brad Sherman. Sherman, who has been a supporter of India, took to Twitter recently to share his concerns about Kashmir and said serious questions about Kashmir were asked at the briefing.

President Trump is being urged to fix the H1-B visa process and do away with country-specific limits, with the latest effort for reform being spearheaded by 60 U.S. business school deans and CEO’s.

In an earthquake, seconds matter. So on the anniversary of the deadly 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that rocked Northern California, state officials announced the launch of America’s first statewide earthquake early warning system.

Tabla Maestro Zakir Hussain will be coming to Boston next month to perform at the Berklee India Exchange, where he will also be conferred with an honorary doctorate by the esteemed music school. A Zakir Hussain Scholarship at Berklee is also being established.

And we have incredible video of three kids from India rescuing their dog from a snake that’s equal parts courageous and nuts.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Federal Court rules Trump must turn over tax returns | Diya TV News

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Trump Tax Returns

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — A federal judge ruled President Trump must turn over eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns to Manhattan prosecutors, striking down the President’s argument that a sitting president cannot be criminally investigated. The ruling was quickly appealed and this case could end up in the Supreme Court to answer the constitutional question of whether presidents can be charged with a crime.

Meanwhile, the President celebrated a victory by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, as a federal appellate court upheld most of the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality. It also ruled the FCC cannot preempt state net neutrality laws, meaning the rules of the road in states like California remain in place.

The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee announced their Asia-Pacific and Non-Proliferation Subcommittee will be holding a hearing asking State Department officials and human rights activists to chime in on Human Rights in Kashmir, the Tamils of Sri Lanka, Muslims in Assam and the human rights situation in Pakistan, which includes the Sindh Province.

Lockheed Martin announced they will build F-16 wings exclusively in India, helping in integrating Indian industry into the $165 billion fighter aircraft market.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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