Chef Kunal Kapur is known as “food connoisseur”. He is all-in-one Indian celebrity chef, restaurateur, and media personality. In addition, he has helped people to get a taste of his cooking secrets through his cookbooks and a lot shows.
The Ministry of India recognized him for presenting Satvik cuisines to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Ms. Merkel, in Bangalore.
He has been honoured with Dr. S. Radhakrishnan National Media Network Award. The Indian Television Academy awarded him for the Best Jury/ Anchor on television for Junior Masterchef India and is the proud recipient of the prestigious ‘Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship 2012’ from the Government of New Zealand in the field of Food & Beverage. He was invited to judge the semi-finale of Masterchef America with Chef Gordon Ramsey. Vir Sanghvi quoted him as “The real star of Masterchef India”.
HospiBuz brings you an exclusive interview, straight from the words of Chef Kunal Kapur, to know more about him and how he evolved from his experiences, his journey and his views on current market trends.
What fascinated you and made you so passionate about the hospitality sector? Who do you consider your power- house or backbone?
Chef Kunal Kapur: My inspiration has always been watching the men in my family cook in the kitchen. They did cooking for fun and to enjoy family time and involved me in stirring the food in the kitchen. Food has always intrigued me and cooking is the art that brought out the most creative side of me.
Then again, my parents supported me all the way to become a chef, at the time when cooking & chefs were not glorified. They always believed & taught me to be honest at work and give your best at it.
Every experience or phase leaves a lot of memories and lessons. Please tell us about the most wonderful memory and a lesson that you learned while judging Master Chef Season 5?
Chef Kunal Kapur: MasterChef India is my second home. I have associated with it since its inception in India. This show is not just a show, it has revolutionized the food economy of India. Besides getting respect for home cooks & professional chefs, MasterChef India also brings out the best of cooking and cuisines in India and I am happy to play a part in that.
There have been many amazing moments but there is a recent one that has stuck with me. Last season the youngest home cook on the show was 19 years and the oldest was 69 years. This combination was electrifying and watching 2 people a generation apart cook was memorable.
My learning from the show is to be humble, respect all who cook for you and the best of Indian food is still locked away in Indian homes.
Sir, you have been recognized by the Ministry of India for presenting Satvik cuisines to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Ms. Merkel, in Bangalore, please share your experience of presenting Satvik cuisines to such a big dignitary.
Chef Kunal Kapur: It was an honor to cook for PM Modi ji and other dignitaries at the NASSCOM event. Satvik is not just about food it is a way of life and just like yoga we have pioneered it. Satvik diet is simple, vegetarian, organic and always made fresh.
Presenting the dignitaries Satvik vegetarian food was humbling. I was bit nervous weather people especially from Germany would like it or would they expect a meat course. But they all enjoyed it and Ms.
Merkel said finally there is something beyond butter chicken and naan that she is tasting.
It was an amazing experience and I am glad I got such an opportunity.
Please share your experience about the prestigious ‘Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship 2012’ that you received from the Government of New Zealand in the field of Food & Beverage. What difference did the fellowship bring in your professional life?
Chef Kunal Kapur: I received the ‘Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship 2012’ from the Government of New Zealand in the field of food and beverage. It came as a surprise to me.
It was a national award of New Zealand and I got to travel to the country as the Prime Minister’s special guest. The journey had many exciting moments like meeting a lot of international chefs, visiting their restaurants and tasting their food.
I also went to the farms and learnt how ice creams are made or lambs cultured. This fellowship has given me international recognition and grown me professionally. It was an honor to receive it.
Every time I look at the award it inspires me to be better in what I do.
You love travelling and host “Pickle Nation” that is about travel and food. What is “food” for you and how do you link travelling with food?
Chef Kunal Kapur: For me food is about experimenting with interesting flavors to create unique experiences. Travel is an experience and I treat it as an investment.
Travelling to me brings up unique ingredients coupled with interesting methods that becomes the catalyst for innovation when I come back to my kitchen.
You were invited to judge the semi-finale of Masterchef America with Chef Gordon Ramsey, how different was MasterChef America from Masterchef India and how different was the mindset of audience and participants of both the countries?
Chef Kunal Kapur: To my surprise we all are the same. It was the same nervousness from the home cooks, similar pressures and some amazing food.
It was kind of a surprise that the only difference was how we look & how we speak, rest all was about food.
How different is it to be a judge and a mentor in the reality show like MasterChef as compare to being a Chef – “King of the kitchen”?
Chef Kunal Kapur: Judging and mentoring a show is different as compared to being a chef, often people mix it up. Masterchef is a show with completely honesty with food being cooked on the show. Being a restaurant chef is a job that one must do with complete passion.
The way things work in the kitchen on the show necessarily does not happen all the time in a restaurant kitchen and vice versa. Both have their importance.
You are very active in writing blogs, where did you get the passion of blogging?
Chef Kunal Kapur: Each time I travel I collect experiences. What is the use of gaining these insightful experiences if I don’t share them with all.
You have uncountable followers and admirers please share your success mantra with them and small message for them?
Chef Kunal Kapur: Go ahead try and make mistakes. They will be your best teacher. Also, remember to be humble and put your head down and practice & learn as much as you can.
People may measure your success by the no. of followers you have but in your heart, you know the real measurement is your skill.
HospiBuz is working on its vision to be the most informative media house on hospitality where it aims to cover well accomplished and budding heroes of hospitality sector. As all-in-one Indian celebrity chef, restaurateur and media personality at such a young age, please suggest what journalism in hospitality sector is missing and what it should cover the most?
Chef KunalKapur: Chefs is a small but important part of the hospitality sector. Chefs & food production is finally getting recognition. But there are other important sectors of the hospitality that still need the exposure which constructive journalism can do.
Thank you so much for your prestigious time!!
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