HYDERABAD: Chef Kunal Kapur, referred to as the ‘curry and kebab guy’ by food critics, remembers eating at a yellow dining table, with members of his big joint family round him, sharing food, and stories of the day. Meal times were for the family, minus TV, and that’s how it should be, insists Kapur.
A household name after Master Chef India, Kapur has several culinary awards, a travel show (The Foodie, comes to America), a book - A Chef in Every Home - and a restaurant in Dubai called Patiala by Kunal Kapur to his credit.
His emphasis on the importance of cooking and dining together continues with season 2 of the TV show My Yellow Table, which went on air recently. On the show, Kapur sets a menu for the episode, invites a guest inside his kitchen, talks to them about their food memories, seeks their help in chopping, mixing or fetching ingredients, and finally shares that meal on a yellow table.
This time around, his guests are celebrities. Kapur talks to us about the show, his new foodmission, an upcoming book, etc.
Which celeb guest did you have the most fun cookingwith?
Singer Kavita Seth (of Iktara fame) nearly took over the kitchen. I asked her, “Do you get time to cook?” Shetold me, “I love cooking. In fact,my family members have to force me out of the kitchen.” Then there was choreographer Sandeep Soparkar, who taught me the waltz. It was funny; two men dancing with hands around each other. I also enjoyed cooking with actress Amyra Dastur, who’s doing a film with Jackie Chan and is training in kung fu. I asked her to show me a move. She immediately took off her heels and did a long kick in the air.
What’s on the menu this season?
It’s predominantly Indian, like last season, in addition to some Asian and European dishes.But there are three variations to the Indian menu – I am doing classics, modern Indian food aswell as lesser known ones, such as the chakotra salad from Himachal Pradesh.
Have you learnt anything from other celebrity chefs?
In food shows, sometimes you try to take shortcuts. But that doesn’t work. If you are honest and cooking the way a dish is supposed to be, rather than cooking for camera, your food will shine through. This is something I have picked from many chefs. I also appreciate Gordon Ramsay. He is a person who says black is black and white is white, and doesn’t mince his words. That’s why hiswork and restaurants are a huge success. And Sanjeev Kapoor; even though he’s achieved so much, he is humble.
A food trend you see taking off this year.
There will be a lot of focus on healthy food. And people will depend on apps that will let them decide what to eat,where to eat,what suits their body type, and how many calories they are consuming.
I amworking onmy second book – Men Can’t Cook. It’s about how men always say they can’t cook, and get away with it. If they can go to the moon, why they can’t boil an egg?
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FOOD FILES THREE FAVOURITE INGREDIENTS:
Chocolate, garlic, and butter. They can turn an average dish around.
Karele ki sabzi aur roti. I can eat it every second day.
Chocolate, and ice cream. Basically anything sweet.
All of Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay’s shows. I like to check out whatever they are doing.
Ratatouille. I can’t get over it. The movie is all about the tagline - Anybody can cook. It’s about the struggle of a little chef who thinks he is not good enough, and how he overcomes his shortcomings.
I haven’t planned anything yet, but may be a culinary trip to France. Last year, I went to Switzerland and Australia.
I would like to see healthier versions of Indian food in restaurants. Dal makhani and butter chicken are all badnaam (infamous) food, because they are unhealthy.