Yasmin Khan is an award-winning author, campaigner and cook, who is passionate about sharing people’s stories through food.
A frequent flyer, whose passport is never too far away from her pocket, Yasmin read Law at Sheffield University and then gained an MSc in Social Policy from the London School of Economics. After studying, she spent a decade working as a human rights campaigner for NGOs and grassroots groups, running high-profile national and international campaigns with a special focus on conflict in the Middle East. She was the one of the co-founders and joint co-ordinators of the Jean Charles de Menezes family campaign and, alongside the Menezes family, ran that campaign for justice following his shooting by police officers at Stockwell station.
Born in London to a Pakistani father and an Iranian mother, Yasmin spent her childhood travelling back and forth to Iran, with long stretches of time spent on her grandparents’ rice farm on the shores of the Caspian Sea. In 2013, after suffering a debilitating burnout and having to step back from her human rights work, Yasmin switched careers and turned to food as a tool through which to share people’s stories. She ran a Kickstarter to write a book that would offer a window into Iran, the result of which is her best-selling debut book The Saffron Tales: Recipes From the Persian Kitchen (Bloomsbury, 2016). The book was chosen by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the BBC Food Programme as one of the best cookbooks of 2016 and also won an M.F.K Fisher Award for Excellence in Culinary Writing from Les Dames d’Escoffier.
Yasmin’s second book, Zaitoun: Recipes and Stories from the Palestinian Kitchen was published in July 2018 and immediately became a number 1 best-seller on Amazon. The book is a collection of recipes and stories gathered from her travels through Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and was heralded by the late, great, Anthony Bourdain as “A moving, hugely knowledgeable and utterly delicious book”.
Yasmin is a regular media commentator appearing on a variety of broadcast media including Channel 4 News, BBC News, Sky News, CNN and Al Jazeera as well as flagship programmes such as Newsnight and R4’s Today programme.
She has worked as a presenter on BBC R4’s Food Programme and the CNN/Roads and Kingdoms series “The Perfect Dish” with Anthony Bourdain and has made regular appearances on shows such as Ch4’s 10 O’clock Live, PBS’s Milk Street Kitchen and Ch4’s Sunday Brunch.
Yasmin’s writing has been published in the Guardian, the Observer, the Independent, the Telegraph, the New Statesman, Jamie Magazine, Sainsbury’s magazine, Saveur, Roads and Kingdoms, AFAR, Food52 and Stylist amongst others. She has also worked as a public speaker for 15 years, delivering hundreds of expert talks to diverse audiences across the globe.
When not immersing herself in the struggle for a better world, Yasmin likes to sing karaoke, take bhangra classes and practice headstands. She is a firm believer in undervalued power of kindness.