What/who inspired you to become a chef? Tell us your story!
It feels like I have been cooking almost all my life. Sharing the kitchen and the dinner table with family and friends, whether for a simple meal or a festive gathering, is what brought us all together. My older brother is a chef himself, and both of us were inspired by my uncle who has been cooking for a remarkable 60 years. My journey as a professional chef started in 1996 and since then, I have travelled around India, worked for various organizations in the culinary world and have headed the opening of 14 restaurants around the country.
Which celebrity chefs do you admire the most?
Chef Kader Khan and Chef Harpal Singh are the two celebrity chefs who I admire the most and have had the privilege of working with. One of the greatest rewards of working with my previous organization was that as a young chef, I worked very closely with these legends. They not only helped me gain specific knowledge about certain recipes and preparations, but also helped me develop a business-savvy mind.
Which are your favorite films? What entertains you?
It’s been 41 years and I am still a Sholay fan. I sometimes try watching interesting cooking shows on television, as and when time permits.
Do you like to travel?
I have travelled all over India for both work and pleasure. I have travelled extensively as a part of various research and development teams. My country inspires me and each new location that I have visited has helped me add a new skill or technique to my cooking repertoire. I have also ridden to all the famous khao gallis in India which include Mumbai, Kanpur and Hyderabad. That was when my two interests met: a good road trip and good food.
Do you read? Which are your most favorite books?
Cooking is my life and everything I do revolves around it. I read cooking magazines whenever I get the time. Lately, my reading time online is spent looking at street food recipes from various festivals around the world.
Which cuisines/dishes do you love to cook and why?
Bold textures, hearty ingredients and an impressive variety make North Indian cuisine my favourite. The various culinary treasures of Northern India which I have discovered and mastered over the years include Lucknowi, Awadhi and Punjabi.
A cooking tip/secret that you always follow – something that you learned by experience/from mom/from another chef?
Adding chillies to a sweet dish like a halwa, can impart a whole new flavour into the dish and showcase certain subtle aspects of the dish that might normally go unnoticed.
Do you have any food business? If yes, tell us about it.
No, I do not. Food is a very emotional business and right now, I have all my emotions invested with Holachef.