Being the odd one

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Being the odd one

Twenty-three years old Khoku Patra, who has been cooking for six families in Delhi, admired chef Sanjeev Kapoor but never thought she would be able to meet him. But now, not only she meets him almost everyday but also gets to treat the chef with her dishes.

Meet one of the contestants at MasterChef: Kitchen Ke Superstar – Season 3 on Star Plus where Sanjeev Kapoor is among the three judges along with Kunal Kapoor and Vikas Khanna. Originally from West Bengal and staying in the City for the last 10 years with her husband and two-year-old son, Khoku was encouraged to participate in the show by the people for whom she has been cooking.

“Everybody used to tell me that ‘you cook so fast and good. Why don’t you take part in this show?’ People for whom I worked guided me towards it,” she shares with Metrolife.

At first audition for the show, she cooked fish, while in the next round the judges relished khandvi made by her in 20 minutes. Her forte is Indian food from all states besides Chinese that she learnt with time. “I can make both – vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes but I am better with vegetarian food because the people I cooked for were vegetarian. But for audition I cooked Chinger Machher Kaliya, which was liked by all judges,” she says.

The show has always been about national and international delicacies and lot of experimentation with taste and presentation. With contestants, some of who are experts at professional cooking of exotic dishes, how does Khoku plan to compete? “This time the focus of the show is on Indian food. That way I have an edge. Moreover, what is important that I am getting to learn so much – new dishes.

Recently, we made tandoori kulchas and food of dhaba style.”

Khoku met her husband in train and after an affair of one year they got married. She
was 19 at that time. She likes Sanjeev Kapoor because she used to watch him on TV and learnt a lot from him. Both of them are her inspiration that pushes her give her best.

“At the auditions there were such long queues. I wanted to go back but my husband encouraged that I must go ahead. I don’t know how long I will survive in the show but I am hopeful. I am not educated but still am participating in this show. This means a lot to me. I had never thought of it in my wildest dreams,” laughs Khoku.

How does she gel with contestants from a completely different background? “All of them are from big homes and are very ‘high-fi’ but they never discriminate with me. Never I am treated as a maid or a cook. That is an another encouragement for me,” she says.

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