Magic in basics

Rekha Jain wants to give back to the community by conducting free cooking classes for kids. She also dreams of helming her own food channel on TV.
Magic in basics

CHENNAI:  Rekha Jain was all of nine years old when she started learning cooking. She watched her mother in the kitchen, creating magic with basic ingredients and untold recipes, and stirring dreams in Rekha’s impressionable mind.

Born and raised in New Delhi, Rekha moved to Chennai after her marriage in 1996. Being a homemaker was not exactly her plan. She wanted to pursue her girlhood dreams of cooking and feeding. Soon after her marriage, she enrolled herself at the Shahi Darbar Academy in Mumbai for a three-month course in cooking. The course not only gave her an in-depth understanding of basics in tastes, flavours, and ingredients, but also equipped her to cook huge Rajasthani thali meals. “It was a magnificent experience, which I can never forget. I will cherish it for my entire life, as I learnt everything from here. This is my cooking school, and my temple,” says Rekha.

As if the universe was responding to Rekha’s innate desire, soon after the course, she received offers from Tamil and Hindi channels such as Zee TV, Zee Tamil, ETV Raj, and Sun TV where she conducted seven to eight programmes in October 1996. Rekha’s success brought her an immense sense of fulfilment and motivated her to pursue her goal more fervently.

“Our Indian food has so many tastes and flavours that one can never stop exploring it,” she shares while telling us that she also loves Italian cuisine. Rekha runs a cooking class where she teaches basics of cooking and baking. Every batch has 20-25 girls in the age group 17-25. The class, conducted at her place, is for five days a week for three hours, and costs `5,000 per head.

“Everyone has sweet and sour experiences, and so do I,” she says. In 2015, Rekha participated in Masterchef India, but unfortunately had to quit after stage 1 as she would have to cook non-vegetarian food. She chose to stick by her principles.

“The presentation, hygiene, body language, and the garnishing is what attracts people,” she says. Some of her favourite recipes are Bengali sweets, thalis, and veg kebabs. Rekha also loves to cook different types of rice, parathas, and starters such as manchurian and chilly potato.

Rekha believes in giving back to the community. She gives free cooking classes to children and women, and those who are keen to cook but cannot afford classes.

Her recent attempt at making lip smacking bread rolls was a hit among Rekha’s family and friends. “Irrespective of experience, mistakes do happen. You need not stop. You just have to keep learning,” she advises. Rekha’s list of achievements also includes her recent victory at the Mrs India competition in February 2018, where she was declared as the first runner-up. Following this success, she received offers from several masala brands to be their ambassador. But Rekha’s dream is to start her own TV channel on food.

You can follow Rekha on Facebook, Instagram and her web page:

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The New Indian Express