A tonic for the tongue

A tonic for the tongue

telly review

A tonic for the tongue

There is something about food shows that makes them irresistible. Although you want to watch something interesting while flipping channels, when you come across a food show, you will definitely spend a few minutes there and dream of how nice it would have been if you could lay your hands on the food!

The newest kid on the television channels today — Food Food — also seems to adhere to this philosophy. Conceived and brought to life by Sanjeev Kapoor, Food Food has recently come up with two innovative shows — Hi Tea and Out of the World — which seem to be going quite well with the viewers. While in the former, chef Ajay Chopra mans the kitchen, the latter has Sanjeev Kapoor talking about global cuisine.

Chef Ajay feels we hardly experiment with our food, though we don’t think twice before experimenting with our attire. Speaking about the show, he says, “With this new show Hi Tea, I will introduce many side dishes that go along with tea, which people can enjoy. We will also take them to various countries and show the large varieties of tea we have in the world.”

Ajay started experimenting with food at a young age. “We are three brothers and my mother was a working woman, so we would eat cold food. That’s the reason I decided to enter the kitchen at the age of nine. At the same time, I would observe a lot, as I was inquisitive about how food was being made. I was specially fascinated by how onions were being chopped in a restaurant. I love detailing and strongly believe that practice makes a man perfect.”

That explains the experimental food bit in Hi Tea, but why tea? Why not some other drink? The chef says, “I have a strong connection with tea too. My first cup of tea every day is from my wife. Then throughout the day, I have a lot of green tea. I like and enjoy many flavours of tea.”

While conceiving the show, he also thought of the Indian custom of meeting over chai and catching up with friends. “Through this show, I hope to make a lot of friends. Food has been my life, my career, my mentor and my inspiration. It is an integral part of my being.” So, what is his favourite food? “I love my mom’s rajma-chawal and my wife’s yakhni pulao. And when it comes to my cooking, I love my signature dish kalaungi kebab, which I introduced in the first season on Master Chef.”

Striking the right chord with the audience in such shows is important because you are not offering customers the real food, it is just your comfort level with them and the images that make or break the show.

So, what makes a good cook? Chef Ajay thinks for a few seconds before responding, “The passion for food is the most important factor. If you have that within you, you can cook anything. I feel people are slowly getting bored of regular reality shows. This kind of cookery show has given a new path to many who want to do something on these lines.”

Ajay believes if Sanjeev Kapoor had not explored food in India, this kind of show would have never happened. When asked why professionally we don’t see many female chefs in India, Ajay, who has 17 years of experience behind him, says, “This is a debatable topic. Women can go to war and do everything else, so why not become celebrity chefs? Internationally, we do see a lot of female chefs, but in India, I guess, the professional world of chefs is demanding. That might be the reason.”

Ajay considers chefs like Sanjeev Kapoor, Jamie Oliver and Gautam Mehrishi his mentors.