Masterchef Shipra Khanna talks about how Indian cuisine has become a global phenomenon. By Team Viva
It wasn’t long back when actor Shah Rukh Khan got candid about his long-lived association with food and its variations. On master chef Shipra Khanna’s chat show, Startruck, which premiered on a music channel — 9xm, SRK talked about how his mother and father, hailing from Hyderabad and Peshawar respectively, were both great cooks. He even boasted with pride, “Nobody could cook biryani like my mother.”
Food is something that binds people and things together, or so believes Shipra. For her, “Bollywood and food turned out to be a fantastic combination.”
While conceptualising such a show based on food and celebrities in equal measure, she felt that even if the stars have done a million interviews and chat shows, people hardly know about their personal food preferences, the kind of food that they like to cook and taste, and past experiences with food. “Hence, the show aims to explore this.”
She recalls her interview with the Bollywood legend, “SRK talked about how he loves Italian food and wants to learn and cook it for his family. He talked about how his mother used to cook his favourite biryani. The actors generally do not talk about all these things in any interviews. So, the entire concept was built on this, which turned out to be really different.”
She believes that the actors in such an atmosphere share their little secrets which anyone hardly knows. “Even I haven’t seen such a show where a Bollywood celebrity has been interviewed about food and it is being cooked by the chef there itself,” she says.
The chef and show host, Shipra, in the show, steps inside her foodtruck to prepare delicacies for the show guest, and serves them with utmost attention to details while embarking upon a food journey through conversations. The chef believes that it is “one-of-its-kind” since nothing like it has ever been formatted “nationally or internationally.”
Talking about other food aspects, she discusses whether the gender of a chef affects the kind of dish that s/he prepares. “Women’s cooking is definitely better. To them, food comes naturally. Even if a male chef is cooking something, he will always tell you that this was his grandmother’s recipe or his mom’s. It is even then a woman’s recipe after all. Men can’t cook, they can only occupy wherever they think women are taking over,” she laughs.
The chef, who “loves to work with fresh local ingredients,” says that global food trends are really picking up in India. “Since I won Masterchef, from that time to now, it has become amazing. We have cuisines from all over the world. We have a global audience that welcomes all new things. The Indian food outside the country has picked up so well. Indian cuisine in itself has become a global phenomenon. People are crazy about it,” she says.
Talking about how cooking food is an art form, she says, “It’s first conceptualised, then you think how the plate should look like and how it should taste. Food should always look pretty to the eyes first, just like a painting, and then it should also appeal to the tastebuds. Food is close to everybody’s heart. Everyone makes it in their own manner. The recipe could be the same but the taste would always be different. It is now more than the traditional authentic cuisine that we used to cook earlier.”
The chef says that if she is at a foreign place, she would prefer picking up ingredients that are “locally grown rather than taking my own or things that I want.” She explains her food approach, “That is the thing that makes food really different. Fusion comes naturally then, which is what being a chef is all about — being natural. It’s not just about a picture-perfect plate but also about how the dish was created and presented.”
Saturday, 05 January 2019 | Team Viva–
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