Under the cooking light!

20 April, 2016

Seasoned chef Shipra Khanna speaks her heart out about her journey as a chef so far, her specialities, honours and more

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Entitled as one of the most youngest and glamorous chefs in the world, Shipra Khanna bagged the title of Master Chef India 2 and then there was no looking back. She is a Restaurateur, Chef, Consultant, Author and an Anchor for television shows. In a tête-à-tête, she shares more on the same. Excerpts from the interview…

How has winning Master Chef changed your life?
Master Chef gave me a platform where I could live and making my passion into my profession. It has also given me global recognition and lot of exposure to learn varied cuisines from chefs all over the world.

Tell us about your journey.
Life is full of highs and lows and so has mine been. After winning Master Chef, I realised that my journey has just started and to live the dream I had dreamt of, wasn’t as easy as it looked. But with God’s grace and my family and friends’ support, all went positively. But as I say this I know there are miles to walk before I sleep. Everyone faces tough times in life and if you can keep your head high and accept life and move on with a positive attitude, that’s what makes this journey beautiful!

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You made a career out of something that women are made to learn obligatorily. Did your family support you throughout?
Yes, my family has always been of big support to me.

What kind of cuisines you love?
Being in this profession, I’m naturally exposed to a lot of different cuisines and I love them all. It is very difficult to choose a single one, though Indian, I feel is by far the most diverse and dynamic which is very interesting and I love it for all the reasons.

You host a desserts show called Pure Sin. Do you have a sweet tooth?
Big one! I love sweets anytime of the day or night.

First dish that you prepared in your life?
I made a dish when I was nine years old with whatever vegetables I could find in the fridge. I haven’t named it yet.

One dish that you love to cook anytime.
Being a Punjabi definitely, I can cook Parathas anytime.

What is your signature dish?
I have lots of them in the list which includes, Garam Masala Carrot cake, Tandoori chicken Pate, Yam mousse and my version of Mille fuille.

One ingredient which is a must for you except, Salt and Sugar?
Except salt and sugar, Pepper is the next must ingredient.

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Do you think cooking as an art should be promoted more and not be considered as a mere house chore?
Yes, it’s an art form and today it is getting its long awaited worth from mothers cooking for her children in her home kitchen to the same mothers being independent, earning because of the same cooking and being appreciated at the same time. Yes, it should be promoted so that more and more people take up this art form which is both positive and progressive.

How has the food and hotel management industry changed over the years?
Hospitality industry has always been growing and has been evolving over the years in India and throughout the world. People have become more experimental when it comes to food and have started accepting new cuisines which also works as a positive reinforcement for industry as more people have started stepping out to eat a meal. An increase in the number of students opting for Hotel management and joining hospitality industry and taking Chef as a profession is amazing.

How can one popularise Indian food in other countries?
Indian food is already popular all over the world but we just need to maintain it with consistency in taste and presentation.

In your opinion, how popular is Indian cuisine in the world?
It is very popular and it is only growing when it comes to popularity which is really overwhelming!

Even though cooking is mostly associated with women, majority of the chefs in the world are men. What do you think is the reason behind it?
The reason is long work hours and pressure that one goes through in a professional kitchen which was considered a man’s job but as mentioned before things are changing and more and more girls are entering professional kitchen and proving themselves in every way which is great !

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