The Hunger Games….

Yudhika at Montsi Primary School....Lesotho with the World Food Programme

Yudhika at Montsi Primary School….Lesotho with the World Food Programme

This is an uncomfortable blog to write….it takes me back to a rather sad and unpleasant time in my life….fortunately, I have had many ‘happy endings’ which makes writing this much easier!

I have experienced hunger a few times….my family were not wealthy and putting a meal on the tables at times was just not possible. Growing up in an Indian community meant that everything was ‘hush-hush’ – I did not speak about it…actually nobody spoke about it! It was a game we played…pretending that everything was fine!

A packed school lunch was a luxury – my dad tried, I suppose but it just wasn’t enough. I cried sometimes…just feeling so overwhelmed by such poverty, helplessness and embarrassment. Don’t get me wrong, there were good times too but every now and then, our lives were punctuated with hunger! I did not starve, but I sure know what it feels like to be hungry.

Why Not Montsi Primary School...

Why Not I….at Montsi Primary School…

There were lots of people who looked down upon us….judging and being harsh with words. But there were people who also shared their meals with us. I will always be grateful…there were just a few and I can count them on my fingers. I often think about those kids that I went to school with who just shared their sandwiches without asking too many questions…I am still in touch with them…old school friends like Prinola Gurie (Australia) and Sharon Srikisoon Chetty (Houston, Texas) – thank you two for being such awesome friends! During those difficult times, I dreamt the biggest dreams…and was grew determined and head strong…I grew a voice to match my determination!

I met Claudia Altorio from the World Food Programme in 2012 and while chatting, I just suddenly shared my story with her….my childhood tales from days I long to sometimes forget. I joined the World Food Programme because being hungry leaves memories of desperation that I will never forget! My second recipe book, Curry Me Home, Again has raised R30000 for WFP and I will continue raising funds through my projects! There has been much to celebrate over the years….a successful food brand, two recipe books, TV shows, the AMC brand ambassadorship, the Goldman Sachs Scholarship, Winning first prize at the Gordon Institute of Business Science Business Plan Competition….writing a column for the Post Newspaper…and now being featured weekly on SABC 2’s Mela! At every winning moment, I pause, and look back to see the girl I used to be….because without her, there would be no drive and determination!

Yudhika with the WFP team in Lesotho

Yudhika with the WFP team in Lesotho

World Food Day is coming up on the 16 October and I would like to say, ‘Hunger is the world’s most solvable problem!’ Every little bit counts, so please do spare a thought for those less fortunate! An unfortunate start can sometimes take you on the most beautiful journey and it is on this journey that I learnt the greatest lessons!

I would like to thank everyone….everyone that travelled on my journey and been a part of it! And to those that didn’t, thank you for making me even more determined to succeed. A huge heartfelt thanks to the companies that I work for and represent…AMC Cookware, KtichenAid and Spar!

So while I celebrate life and feast on my blog, I ask you to be a part of my journey….click ‘Follow’ on my blog…and leave a comment if you have read this….I will be donating R1 for every follower (even existing followers) to the World Food Programme! This is not my original idea….Two days ago, I was desperately craving a KFC Zinger burger! I rushed off to the KFC drive through and the lady at the ‘drive through’ asked me, “Would you like to ‘ADD HOPE'”? I said yes…and thought…surely I can find a way to ADD HOPE too! And this is my way…and I am hoping that you ADD HOPE too!



  1. Hi Yudhika so proud of you. I always add R2 hope at KFC. If you ever need help I with going out to schools etc I am available and dont mind getting my hands dirty.

  2. This blog echoes the thoughts and reflections of a Beautiful Soul, this transcends to your food and its certainly felt at Holi Cow. I would love to be part of the World Feeding Programme , let me know how I could get involved.

  3. A great gesture, I feel for the kids especially whom rummage through bins for food. I was active in feeding the kids at school until tge government implemented the feeding scheme, I was actively involved in preparation of these meals together with a lot of other women. I have since moved out of the area and I assist a few families in our area on a daily basis.

  4. U r truly an inspiration, people can be very nasty especially when one is poor but through all that tears and pain, u have triumphed, hats off to u and now that u r a public figure, a world renowned chef, u r thinking of the less fortunate, well done. I also pity the less fortunate and try to help with hampers as often as I can. U have an awesome, caring heart.

  5. I love reading your blogs and have tried a few recipes, this has to been the most inspiration piece to date. Keep adding hope with a bit of your sparkle

  6. Wow, amazing story Yudhika… Its so inspiring to see how you’ve turned your life around in spite of your circumstances. You are a true icon. And your humility even now when you have established yourself is absolutely remarkable. Keep doing great things. You are leading by example in a huge way.

  7. you will always remain dear to my heart and I have never been more proud to be associated with who you have become today. You are an inspiration to thousands out there that give up so easily…Always stay happy

  8. This post brought tears to my eyes. Growing up in a family with 3 siblings and parents who really worked so hard to put food on the table was always a challenge. Yet through it all we survived. I think my childhood has taught me to be grateful for everything I have and to remember that “the hands that serve are holier than the lips that pray”. Blessings and good wishes to you Yudhika

  9. Yudhika,this made me cry,hubby is looking at me and speechless as I read this to him.You are truly an inspiration and yes some of us had hard lives but it makes us become the sweet caring people we are.I had a similar upbringing with only dad working and I do lots of charity work even if its making food and handing to ppl at the robots.God has blessed your life and you remain humble in a world where ppl forget where they came from.Well done hun.Keep your head up and be proud,today you are a celebrity and living the life one could dream of.On Tv etc.You are amazing.I still have tears in my eyes as I read something I could relate to.God is good.Well done on making this world a better place.

  10. Oh and you will be even more blessed for all you do,sorry about the big story I wrote above.thanks for your awesome recipes.

  11. Reblogged this on yudhikayumyum and commented:

    I wrote this blog a while ago…it still makes me want to pinch myself for two reasons. One being that I have grown enough as a person to share my experience and the second, I can’t believe that it actually happened and how my life has changed.

    Some may read this and look down upon me…that is just fine by me. I am what I am and what I am today is largely because of where I come from. I share it not to shock, but to inspire somebody out there who perhaps is going through a similar experience.

    It’s World Hunger Day….reach out if you can because every little bit counts and you can make a difference!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  12. being in the Middle East, I still follow all your recipes and love reading your blog. Makes me so homesick sometimes but always in a good way. I try all your recipes so thank you and thanks for sharing your story with your followers

    1. Hello Leanne, I am really glad to hear from you and delighted that the blog reminds you of home! Stories are what we are made off and sharing them makes us a little more human:)

  13. What an amaising and inspiring women, keep up the good work. Hope people can follow your example.

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