Indian-origin chef among community champions on King Charles Coronation invite list

LONDON: An Indian-origin chef, who works with a senior citizens charity in the UK, is among the British Empire Medal (BEM) winners on the royal invitation list for King Charles and Queen Camilla’s Coronation ceremony in London next month, Buckingham Palace announced on Saturday.
Manju Malhi was awarded a BEM for services to the community in London during the Covid-19 response and will join 850 BEM recipients as well as other community champions and charity representatives from across the UK at the ceremony to be held in Westminster Abbey on May 6.
Malhi is a professional chef who, since 2016, has acted as the Resident Chef for the charity Open Age, which champions an active life for older people in London, helping those aged 50 or older to sustain their physical and mental fitness, maintain an active lifestyle and develop new interests.
“Manju turned Open Age’s kitchen into a cookery school and restaurant for members and staff, and offered remote cookery classes during COVID-19,” the palace statement notes.
“Manju also leads Open Age’s community Big Local Family Cooking Club. The sessions are fun, interactive and an opportunity for local residents from all backgrounds to come together, make a meal and eat together as community family,” it adds.
The British-born chef and food writer grew up in north-west London and specialises in Anglo-Indian cuisine.
She spent several years of her childhood in India, where she explored and experienced the vast and varied cuisines of the country of her heritage.
Malhi, who also appears on television cookery shows, has come up with what she describes as a “Brit-Indi” style of food, which mixes Indian and western influences.
The chef was awarded her BEM by the late Queen Elizabeth II, an honour conferred on those behind a sustained commitment in support of a local charitable or voluntary activity, or innovative work that has delivered a real impact in the community.
The BEM particularly recognises the achievement or contribution of service to the community in a local area. The palace says that many of the 450 BEM recipients attending the Coronation Service were instrumental in providing services and support to their local communities during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Meanwhile, around 400 wider community champions have also been nominated by the King, Queen and the UK government.
They represent a range of charitable organisations with a long history of support from the royal family, including 200 young people involved with the Prince’s Trust, the Prince’s Foundation, Barnardo’s, the National Literacy Trust and Ebony Horse Club.
They will be among the chosen few to have the opportunity to watch the special Coronation service and procession from St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey.
The church at the Abbey in London is known as “the Church on Parliament Square” and is a 12th-century place of worship. The palace said that it is understood that this is the first time St Margaret’s, Westminster Abbey, has been used to host young people at a coronation.
Others among the gathering will be representing organisations such as the Scout Association, Girlguiding UK, St John Ambulance and the National Citizen Service, nominated by the British government for providing stewarding, route lining and first aid services on Coronation Day across London.
It is also a nod to Queen Elizabeth II, who was the former Royal Patron of the Scout Association, Girlguiding UK and Barnardo’s.
The Coronation is being organised at a grand scale and will be marked by a series of grand events over a celebratory long weekend in the UK between May 6 and 8, including much pomp and pageantry and street parties.
Buckingham Palace expects tens of thousands of people to visit the UK capital to experience the “unique and historic occasion”, with millions more watching from home, across the UK and around the globe.

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