About Siva

Passionate Cook...

Siva's passion for cooking started in her grandmother's kitchen in South India when she was 4 years old. By watching and helping her grandmother she learned many kitchen skills & secrets and started to practice them. Being transplanted in Canada in the early 70's she took over helping her mother by making daily meals and being close to the kitchen was her comfort zone as a young girl.

She attended York University and has a BA in Computer Science. After being the IT field for 12 years she perused the dream of being a chef by attending George Brown Culinary program and volunteered & worked with many top chefs in Canada including Chef Michael Stadtlander and Chef Jamie Kennedy. She was energized with her passion and apprenticed in Bodensee or Lake of Constance area (Lake surrounded by Germany, Switzerland and Austria) for two years. She worked at Flors, a restaurant with a one Michelin Star and a famous restaurant in the South Germany called Haus Gottfried that specialized in Seafood. Bodensee's gastronomy has major influences from France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Germany that surround the lake.

She travels to many parts of the world each year and her passion for food connects her with local ingredients & gastronomy. She also brings that knowledge back to Toronto to create her culinary creations and teaches her craft to her students. Siva's philosophy is to use fresh local ingredients and cooking with seasons in Canada. She also believes that cooking should come from the heart - when cooking with season's fresh quality ingredients and with a little bit of passion the results will be outstanding. She teaches 'cooking healthy' doesn't mean you have to compromise taste - and to feed all your senses. She is also a huge wine enthusiast.

Through her philosophy, knowledge and passion for cooking - healthy eating, daily fitness (walking) helps her balance life with type1 diabetes. She walked 600 km across France to Spain doing the Camino de Santiago walk and writes about food, travel, fitness, health and wine in her blog site. She is working on her first cook book.

Diabetes Work...

Siva was diagnosed with Type1 diabetes (November 14, 2005 - International World Diabetes Day) and have been using her culinary skills to develop Low GI, healthy meal planning for people with chronic diseases (diabetes, celiac, cardiovascular issues) or people who want to cook Epicurean Healthy cuisine and runs Chezsiva Cooking School since 2007.

She has been a volunteer for the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) since 2006 and is the Executive Chair & one of the founding members of the South Asian Diabetes Chapter of CDA in GTA. She organizes and presents information sessions on diabetes awareness, prevention and management for the South Asian community and Type1 diabetes communities. Siva was also one of the driving forces behind several diabetes expos for the South Asian community. She played a key role in helping CDA produce culturally relevant diabetes literature "Just the Basics". She teaches cooking classes at area grocery stores, community centres and trade shows. Siva has appeared on Rogers TV, City TV, OMNI and many community channels talking and teaching about healthy cooking (see Siva in Action and Media page). Siva is also a media spokes person for the South Asian Community in the issues of Type2 Diabetes.

In 2009 she was awarded Regional volunteer of the year by CDA and in 2011 Grassroots Diabetes Award by SAPNA (South Asian Professional Network for Health Awareness) group. Siva was a member of the Food and Nutrition Policy Advisory Committee of CDA and member of Patient Advisory Subcommittee for Women's College Hospital. She is now a member of National Advocacy Council of CDA, Ontario Advocacy Committee of CDA and Women's Culinary Network of Canada. She guest lectures at George Brown College on the Nutrition Programme and travels across Canada giving keynote presentations on Healthy Eating and doing live-cooking demos.

Grassroots projects closer to the heart...

Siva is also a freelance writer who wrote articles for the CBC when she returned to South India to help after the effects of the tsunami that destroyed her hometown's fishing industry in 2005 and 2010. She continues to support grass roots projects with local NGOs and providing uniform, school supplies for children, sewing machine for widows and water carts for unemployed fishermen in her hometown of Nagapattinam in South India.