“I’m a trained chef now,” she exults as we walk around her beautiful, sea-facing apartment in south Mumbai. Celebrity cookery show host Amrita Raichand has more than one reason to celebrate. Back from Singapore, having completed a culinary course from At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy, Amrita is now packing in the punch in the new season of her famous tiffin trail on Mummy ka Magic, on Food Food channel.
“I have received an overwhelming response for the show,” she says and adds, “That too, without any formal training in cooking to back me initially. Now I am shooting for the new season of my show, having completely overhauled my culinary skills.”
Speaking about her beginnings in the kitchen, Amrita says, “Cooking comes naturally to me, having watched my mother rustle up brilliant meals in the kitchen, fit for a feast.” With her svelte, slim frame it is tough to believe that the mother-of-one loves to tuck in food with great relish. “I am crazy about food, I simply live to eat,” she confesses with her signature smile.
Over the years, Amrita has fused her love for the camera with appearances in commercials for Whirlpool, Ponds, tele serials like Mahi Way and Timebomb, offbeat films including Baat Bann Gayi, theatre in Three Women. “The show Mummy ka Magic was offered to me by my dear friend and mentor, chef Sanjeev Kapoor. I was hesitant initially, but he was convinced that I would make a smashing success of it, and luckily, I have,” she says.
Inspiration floats around aplenty, with a treasure trove of heirloom recipes that her mother-in-law (hailing from the royal family of Jodhpur) brings along like dhuan mutton and laal maas. “Both my mother and mother-in-law are fabulous cooks. The mustard prawn curry that we serve at home is legendary,” she says. “Even my childhood memories are of my own birthday parties at home when my mom would cook everything: from baking a lavish cake complete with icing and an edible dollhouse, castle and horses to chole bhature, chaat, savouries etc,” says the passionate cook.
“Cooking for kids is my forte. I have introduced brilliant recipes for tiffins on my show, involving chocolate, that is an instant hit with kids. My son Agastya is crazy about paranthas. I bring in healthy variations through beetroot, paneer, aloo stuffings, packed with butter in his tiffin. Nothing fancy, he is a simple kid, though he has a special spot for homemade doughnuts with chocolate sauce that I make,” says Amrita.
What about her own comfort food? “Undeniably, that is dal, chawal with fried beans and aloo choka on the side. I grew up on this. When I was eight, my mother returned home one day to find this superbly prepared by me, hot on the table. She threw a fit, about how unsafe it was for me to use the stove, then bragged in the entire colony later about the yummy food I had prepared.” So the brilliant culinary genes run deep.
She plays the perfect mum and now the glamorous chef to the T, judging cookery contests and crowning budding junior chefs at contests galore. “Our mothers, I think, are the real women. They did everything on their own, from scratch: lavish dinners to fun-filled birthday party treats. I wish I am able to dole those out and much more,” she says, signing off.