A businesswoman is joining forces with her local MP to raise awareness in the Asian community of using pressure cookers safely.
Kavita Oberoi from Derby started her campaign to highlight the dangers of using a pressure cooker after she suffered disfiguring first-degree burns when one exploded in her face on September 25.
The 45-year-old, who established Oberoi Consulting and starred in The Secret Millionaire and The Apprentice, was preparing a meal for her family when she lifted the lid on her kitchen appliance and was covered in boiling dal.
Oberoi, who received an OBE for services to entrepreneurship and start-up businesses earlier this year, joined Pauline Latham MP to speak to worshipers at the Geeta Bhawan Temple last week.
She handed out leaflets on pressure cooker safety and cooling gels to use if anyone is burned using their pressure cooker or for any other reason.
On Friday (6) she plans to address over 300 people at a Diwali event.
“I’ve been very lucky that my burns have healed – I have very few marks left. I’m confident there’ll be no long-term scarring,” Oberoi told Eastern Eye.
“Pressure cookers are routinely used by many Asian households – they are part of the cooking culture.
“The cooker that injured me, which is originally from India, was one I had never used before.
“My mother, who regularly visits and loves cooking, brought it with her some time ago.
“I had planned what I was cooking the night before and had decided to use the pressure cooker to save time. I switched it on and turned it off when I left the house. On my return, it had cooled down.
“I switched it on again and I heard the familiar hissing and whistling and switched off the gas and moved it to the side.
“I started to release the pressure through the valve at the top. I then tried to open the lid.
“Without even thinking I just opened the lid and the next thing I can remember is a loud explosion and my face feeling very hot.
“I must have closed my eyes because they were not injured.”
She added that after the incident people have written to her to say that they have thrown theirs away.
“The women who had accidents with pressure cookers have told me they bought theirs from here. I don’t think it’s a matter of where they are from. I think they’re dangerous, fullstop. I’ve heard of three stories of accidents from branded cookers.
“If people are going to use one, they have to be extra safe and understand the dangers. I would rather people use slow cookers.”
Speaking after her visit to the temple last week Latham said: “It has been a great start to the campaign to raise awareness of safely using a pressure cooker.
“Kavita, has been through a lot but is thankfully making a recovery. It was only after she spoke about her injuries did more people come forward. “I hope to really make people think about the safety of their pressure cookers, especially older ones or those brought in from overseas.”