Where did you grow up? What was your favorite street food as a kid?
I grew up in Mumbai. The city has some characteristic street-food culture which I am a big fan of. Since childhood, I have been eating spicy food. I used to occasionally indulge in desserts and sweets but it was the hot and spicy stuff that my taste-buds longed for.
One thing that I have always enjoyed eating from the streets is the samosa-pav. Mumbai thrives on its various fast-foods and there are an endless number of stalls, tapris and restaurants that serve piping hot and finger-licking good snacks, including samosa-pav. Even today, I don’t think twice before stopping on the way to grab a quick bite of samosa-pav, preferably with a fried green-chili and a hot cup of tea!
Did you always want to become a chef?
I have been in a very serious relationship with food for 21 years now! The initial phase of this relationship was all about eating and I did not dream of become a chef myself.
It was my dad who inspired me to look at cooking in a different light. He is a great cook and often hosted friends and family over to treat them with his delicacies. His passion for cooking rubbed on me and I started experimenting with ingredients on my own. I learned the art of cooking well by trying out various cuisines and new recipes as often as I could. Today when I am recognized as a chef, I feel over-whelmed; all thanks to my dad and others whose encouraging words helped me grow on the way
How often do you cook at home for your family?
Cooking is not just a hobby but something very close to my heart. It’s something that excites me all the time! If I am in a good mood, I like to cook and celebrate it with good food. And if I am in a bad mood, it’s only cooking that can make up for it.
I cook for my friends and family very often. Whenever I try something new, I make it in large quantities so I can get everyone to taste it. It means a lot to me that my food brings a smile to their face. Their feedback and compliments is what help me evolve my cooking style.
Which cuisines do you enjoy cooking the most?
It would be unfair to name one – I absolutely love cooking and trying different cuisines is something I enjoy. However, if I were to name one I would say continental and more so Italian.
A dear friend loved Italian food so much that it inspired me to take special interest in it and I soon found myself falling in love with Italian cooking.
What is the best compliment you have received for your cooking?
Best compliments are the ones from my friends. I try to ensure that I cook for my close friends at least once a week. It gives me a chance to experiment with something new for them to taste. It’s also a great reason to meet them and spend some quality time together and unwind.
I had once made grilled chicken for my friends and one of them said it was the best thing she had ever tasted! It meant a lot to me!
What are your other hobbies apart from cooking?
When I am not cooking, I am reading about food on the internet to learn and gain knowledge or I read a book. I am also a food critic and I maintain a food blog on www.hungrybawarchi.com. Food photography is another of my favorite hobbies (of course I eat all of the food right after clicking their picture!). I also tweet a lot of food-related stuff at @hungrybawarchi and post some mouth-watering updates on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thehungrybawarchi
Designing recipes and menus is part of my job and I love to spend ample amount of time on it!
Do you enjoy cooking for HolaChef? Why?
Cooking has always been therapeutic for me and hence I have always enjoyed it. Through Holachef, I have been able to reach out to a new set of foodies who I like to serve with my cooking. It helps me derive a lot of satisfaction!
Who inspires you with their cooking style?
It’s my dad who has been the biggest inspiration for my cooking. However, I have learnt a lot from my grandmother, mom and of course, Gordon Ramsay. His cooking shows, books and videos have fine-tuned my cooking and for that I am eternally grateful to him!
Who is your favorite chef at HolaChef?
I am a big fan of Chef Surendra, Chef Preety and Chef Ramani. Their food is excellent. I am in love with Paneer Makhanwala and Chicken Makhanwala by Chef Archana. I can lick a whole container of these dishes without worrying about the calories I would be putting on!