A Celebrity Informal Learner

Figure 3.5 Madhur Jaffrey
Figure 3.5 Madhur Jaffrey

Madhur Jaffrey is a good example of someone who has successfully combined learning experiences. Madhur is a best-selling cookbook writer and television presenter. She has been awarded a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) for her contributions to drama, culture, and cuisine, but as a child, she never learned to cook.

Madhur traveled to London at age 19 to study drama. As a student, she desperately missed home-cooked food and wrote letters to her mother back in India, asking her how to cook different dishes.

Madhur’s formal learning was focused on her drama course. However, at the same time, she was informally learning how to cook. As things turned out, Madhur’s rather unusual style of informal learning was far more important in her life than the formal learning in her drama course. Madhur has been liberated by her learning. This could be a real contrast with many women whose learning about cooking can be viewed as formal. Can you see how some aspects of Madhur’s learning can be seen as individual, others as social? Some of her learning seems to have been accidental—a result of needing to cook for herself in a new country.

3.2.6 Theories of Informal Learning More about Formal and Informal Learning