"The actor who can cook"
Madhur Jaffrey was born as Madhur Bahadur in Delhi, in 1933. She was educated at Miranda House of the University of Delhi. After college, she worked for AIR(All India Radio). Later she joined the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, from where she graduated with honors in 1957. She then met and married Indian actor Saeed Jaffrey and moved to New York City. She and Saeed divorced in 1965. They have three daughters, Meera, Zia and Sakina Jaffrey. In 1969, she married Sanford Allen, a violinist with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
Madhur Jaffrey is said to have been responsible for introducing James Ivory and Ismail Merchant. She appeared in a number of their earlier films: Shakespeare Wallah (1965) (a role for which she won Berlin Film Festival's Best Actress award), The Guru (1969), Autobiography of a Princess(1976), Heat and Dust (1983), directed by Ivory, and The Perfect Murder (1988). She starred as the title character in their film Cotton Mary (1999) and co-directed it with Merchant.
She was introduced to bollywood through the Hindi film Saagar where she played the role of Rishi Kapoor's grandmother. In 1999, she appeared with daughter Sakina Jaffrey in the film Chutney Popcorn.
Madhur Jaffrey is the noted author of cookbooks of Indian, Asian, and world vegetarian cuisines, many of which have become bestsellers and several of which have won James Beard Foundation awards. She has presented several cookery series on television, including Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cookery in 1982, Madhur Jaffrey's Far Eastern Cookery in 1989 and Madhur Jaffrey's Flavours of India in 1995. She lives in Manhattan and has a home in upstate New York. Due to the success of her cookbooks and TV, Jaffrey also developed a line of mass-marketed cooking sauces.
Ironically, she did not cook at all as a child growing up in Delhi. She had almost never been in the kitchen and almost failed cooking at school. It was only after she went to London at the age of 19 to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art that she learned how to cook, using recipes of familiar dishes that were provided in correspondence from her mother.