Manju Malhi, an Indian-origin chef who works with a charity for senior citizens in the UK, has been named on the list of community champions invited to King Charles III’s coronation. She is one of the British Empire Medal (BEM) winners on the royal invitation list for the grand event set to take place on May 6 at Westminster Abbey in London.
The BEM is an honour given to those who have served in a non-combative role and expanded the Order to reward contributions to the Arts, Sciences, Charitable work and Public Service.
The Indian-origin BEM honouree will join 850 BEM recipients, other community champions and charity representatives from all over the UK at the coronation ceremony.
The UK-born chef and food writer grew up in north-west London. Her cooking speciality lies in Anglo-Indian cuisine. She frequently appears on television cookery shows, where she came up with what she terms a “Brit-Indi” style of food, a blend of Indian and Western influences.
Malhi has acted as the Resident Chef for the charity Open Age since 2016. The charity promotes an active lifestyle for senior citizens in London and aids those aged 50 or above to sustain their physical health. It also encourages them to develop new interests across different fields.
A statement released by Buckingham Palace notes:
"Manju turned Open Age’s kitchen into a cookery school and restaurant for members and staff and offered remote cookery classes during COVID-19...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 a community family.”
She spent some time in India as a child, where she explored various cuisines in the country of her heritage, which informed her knowledge of food.
As many as 400 wider community champions have also been nominated by the King, Queen and the UK government to attend and watch the special coronation service and procession from St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey.
These community champions represent a range of charitable organisations with a long history of support from the royal family. The list includes around 200 young people involved with the Prince’s Trust, the Prince’s Foundation, Barnardo’s, the National Literacy Trust and Ebony Horse Club.