About Shayma Saadat

Hello, my name is Shayma. I am an internationally published food writer, food photographer and stylist, cook, cookery teacher, public speaker and storyteller.

Welcome to Spice Spoon, where I share family recipes with you from the countries of my heritage – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, which I refer to as Silk Route cuisine.

Born in Lahore, Pakistan, I am a Pakistani-Afghan with Persian lineage who grew up all over the world. I came to Toronto, Canada, via Rome, Italy, where I now live with my husband and son. It is here that my journey began with Spice Spoon, rooted in the cooking traditions of the women in my family.

From humble beginnings, my blog grew and was selected by The Independent, UK, as one of the world’s 50 Best Food Websites. Spice Spoon has evolved and is now the embodiment of my multi-ethnic heritage and international upbringing. Through my international cookery workshops, supperclubs, articles, speaking engagements and stories, I hope I am able to inspire you to cook food from an often misunderstood part of the globe.

I believe that in cookery, there should be no borders. My mission is simple – demystifying Silk Route cuisine and inspiring you to make the food I grew up eating. I’d be honoured if you chose Spice Spoon as your gateway to Silk Route cuisine.

I do all the food photography for my site (unless otherwise specified). If you have any specific questions about me and the Spice Spoon, head on over to my Q&A page.

If you would like to commission me for work, collaborate, book me for speaking engagements or inquire about my sponsorship rates, please get in touch through my Contact page. I love hearing from you.


This short film is a visual story about me and my cookery philosophy. It would be lovely to hear your reactions about the film. Thank you so much for watching it.



  1. GUILTY PLEASURE I love potato chips/crisps and can eat bagfuls of them.
  2. MEMORABLE MEAL In Paris, with my husband, at Chez l’Ami Jean.
  3. INTERNATIONAL LIVING Out of all the countries I have lived in, I have spent the most time in Washington, DC, USA and Rome, Italy.
  4. SIMPLE OR MICHELIN STARRED Give me a bowl of spaghetti with fresh, Sicilian tomatoes, grassy olive oil and freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, and I am in heaven.
  5. COMFORT FOOD My mother’s opus magnus – an aromatic rice dish with caramelised onions and five spices. It is delicious when enjoyed with a dollop of thick yoghurt and chicken curry.
  6. CANNOT ABIDE Desiccated coconut, mayonnaise, mango lassi or the sight of sauerkraut.
  7. INDULGENCE Barolo is lush.
  8. HOME ALONE-MEAL A fried egg with freshly grated parmesan and a slice of toast.
  9. I OFTEN DREAM OF Parathas with spicy prawn masala from BBQ Tonight in Karachi. Straccetti at Volpetti in Testaccio, Rome.  Steak tartare at Bistro Paul Bert in Paris. Khao suey from Sabai Sabai, in Toronto.
  10. HOME COOK My husband makes the best farmer’s omelettes with whatever is in our fridge. Recently, he made one with roasted garlic, Gruyère, shiitakes and cherry tomatoes.
  11. UNFORGETTABLE MOMENT My father was posted to Yerevan, Armenia and I spent one beautiful summer visiting him. The most amazing moment for us was when we saw La Scala perform. Later that night, we had the honour of dining with Riccardo Muti.