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An eulogy for the Queen of Spice

An eulogy for the Queen of Spice

Zubaida Apa was the face of cooking shows in Pakistan

Pakistan was deeply saddened on account of the death of one of its most famous chefs, Zubaida Tariq Ilyas, on Thursday, 4th January 2018.

Known to the nation as “Zubaida Apa”, she was famous for her cooking shows and of course, her life hacks and household tips (commonly known as her “totkay”).

Zuibada Apa was born on 4 April 1945 in Hyderabad Deccan, British India. Her family migrated to Pakistan in 1947, and settled in Karachi, where she lived with her five older sisters and four brothers.

The most notable of her siblings included Fatima Surayya Bajia, an Urdu novelist and playwright; Zehra Nigah, an Urdu poet; and her brother Anwar Maqsood, who is a popular poet, humorist, writer and entertainer. Zubaida’s nephew Bilal Maqsood (Anwar’s son),who is a vocalist and guitarist for the pop rock band Strings.

Apa got married to her first cousin, Tariq Maqsood in 1966, at the age of 21. The couple was blessed with a daughter named Shaha Tariq, and a son, Hussain Tariq.Surprisingly, Zubaida Apa once narrated that when she got married, she had no idea about cooking, which is why the first-ever meal she prepared at her in-laws’ house was ruined, as quoted by freelance journalist Saba Imtiaz in November 2017.

Apa worked on ARY Digital for one and a half years, and then she did about seven hundred shows with some renowned names in the morning show industry. Zubaida Apa then came on FM 107 with a show called Aik Mukammal Ghar which was first hosted by Azra Manzoor. In the meantime, she did 200 shows of another program called Kitchen Magic, and then she did another show on Geo TV by the title of Aaj Ke Bhao.

Working with Masala TV, Zubaida Apa featured in one of people’s most watched cooking shows, Handi. She had covered more than 1000 episodes for the show alongside the host, Abeel Javed.

Handi became popular for featuring Zubaida Apa’s aesthetic taste in saris and mouth-watering dishes; but most importantly, her words of wisdom on day-to-day matters.

Her words of consolation to reduce stress, tips to improve family ties, and natural remedies to enhance beauty helpedApa find a way into the heart of every Pakistani as a motherly figure who was loved and counted on.

Both, Apa and Abeel had a strong bond working together in the show, and when being interviewed in the morning show Good Morning Pakistan after Zubaida Apa’s death, Abeel and the host Nida Yasir burst into tears recalling Apa’s pleasant personality.

Zubaida Apa was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and as her health deteriorated during the last couple of months,she had to resort to having recorded shows instead of live ones. Apa passed away due to heart failure, and left millions of fans heart-broken, who will always remember Zubaida Apa wearing a saree and being the kind, sweet, gentle, and caring personality that she was.


About The Author

Alizah Gul Memon

An inquisitively nerdy student, interested in Physics, poetry, and photography.