International Women’s Day Speaker knows how to overcome odds

March 1, 2012

The International  Women’s Day Lecture

The Making of a Spice Goddess: Education, Identity, and  Female Empowerment with Bal Arneson, The Food Network’s spice Goddess

Thursday, March 8, 7:30 p.m.

Brescia  Auditorium, Admission by Donation, Free Parking

London, ON –Two-time national bestselling author with a hit Food Network  cooking show, Bal Arneson is an author, educator and passionate  advocate for women’s self-determination.

“Having Bal here for our International Women’s Day event is  a perfect fit for all that is Brescia.   She is a bold and daring female leader who has overcome great obstacles to live  life on her own terms. With Bal’s commitment to and belief in education as a  vehicle for success and independence, she is an excellent woman for Brescia to host for our  celebration of International Women’s Day,” says Kim Milani Young, director of  The Circle Women’s Centre sponsor of the lecture.

Originally from a  small village in the Punjab, India,  Bal learned how to cook from her elders over coals in a small clay pit at the  age of seven. Coming to Vancouver  at the age of 18 after an arranged marriage, Bal was taught to cook, clean, and  learn the necessary skills to become an obedient wife. However, after having  her daughter almost immediately after marriage, she realized it was not the  life she wanted for her or her child. Bal left the home of her former husband, speaking  no English, without money, education, or family support, in pursuit of her  dreams. Enrolling in an ESL program, Bal began her education that continued to  a master’s degree in education, teaching special needs children. With a passion  for cooking, she catered and taught cooking classes to pay the bills while she  studied to become a teacher. Bal’s food began to gain popularity quickly; her  unique Indian spices had people wondering if she had a cookbook that she could  share.

While teaching full-time and caring for her family, she  released her first cookbook, Everyday  Indian, in the summer of 2009, which became a national bestseller. After  the success of her first book, she gained publicity and was eventually offered  a show on Food Network. Her second cookbook, Bal’s Quick and Healthy Indian, which came out in the spring of 2011, won the award for the best Asian Cuisine Cookbook in  Canada and will now go on to compete in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in  Paris. Bal will miss attending this prestigious event in person so she can speak  at Brescia for  International Women’s Day. A book signing will follow the event. Both  books will be available for purchase at the event.

Working and looking after her family keeps her hands full, Bal  says, but she manages to enjoy every moment of it. She realizes that her dream  of being a role model for her daughter and many other women has come true. “I  like to share my journey because I think even if one woman’s life can change by  hearing my story my mission is accomplished.”

To find out more about Bal and some of her quick, easy  Indian recipes, you can visit Bal’s web site,

To find out more about the International Women’s Day event  at Brescia,  please visit


For more information please contact Colleen Aguilar, Communications, Marketing & External Relations Officer, at 519.432.8353, ext. 28280 or

Brescia  University College, Canada’s premier women’s university college, is affiliated  with The University   of Western Ontario. The  1,100 women registered as either full- or part-time students at Brescia study a wide  variety of subjects in Arts, Social Sciences, and Foods & Nutrition in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred, and invigorating  environment. Degrees are granted by Western. The Catholic   College welcomes students  from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more information, please visit