'Even stirring the dal is delightful to me'

'Even stirring the dal is delightful to me'

Culinary journey

Many can’t imagine what they would be when they grow up. Many a times it is the circumstances that shape people’s choices. Masterchef Shipra Khanna, started taking cooking seriously only after her daughter was born.

“I wanted to cook something different for her everyday,” Khanna tells Metrolife. “Only after winning Masterchef India did I take cooking as my career. I did cook now and then in my childhood and teenage years, but only after my daughter was born was I so excited about it,” she remarks.

Khanna was enrolled in Masterchef 2011 challenge by her mother. She didn’t think that she would get into a competitive field like that. But today, she feels only gratitude for the initiative her mother took on her part. She was able to meet expert chefs and was able to start her journey as a professional chef and now herself has created many platforms to emerge as newer and fresher of the lot. “I want to defeat the stereotype that only men are chefs,” she says.

“Cooking is for everyone. I think everyone wants to cook a dish which they want appreciation for; it is a normal desire,” she adds.

Born into a Punjabi household, she says, hospitality, serving and feeding guests and family came hereditably to her from her mother and grandmother. “None of them cook professionally but they all call themselves chefs,” she laughs it out. According to her, ‘cooking runs in her family’. Though everyone has their expertise, but Khanna says that she is into every part of cooking. Baking, tandoor, oven, be it anything, she likes the minutest and the most elaborate of dishes.  “Even stirring the dal is delightful to me,” she exclaims.

Today she is not only a chef, but also a restaurateur, author and anchor for TV shows. She takes workshops in various countries abroad. In her show, Masterchef Travel, she goes to different countries and teaches their connoisseurs native Indian recipes and learns their recipes. She has also been honoured with “Women Chef taking taste beyond borders” award by SAARC and SCWEC in Nepal, while she represented India. She says, “There is no doubt that foreigners love Indian cuisine. Especially the gourmet Indian cuisines are taking a large space in the world. At Indian restaurants in the  United States, one will see more foreigners than Indians.”

She recently published two books, The Spice Route, in which she explores different regions and cuisines, bringing some old favourites and some new discoveries together and Sinfully Yours, which is solely on desserts. Two more books by her are due this year.

Regarded as India’s youngest, most glamourous chef, Khanna’s visibility is large. On her YouTube channel, Shipra’s Kitchen, she bakes and cooks quick and easy recipes for any occasion. She uploads twice a week.

Her new endeavor is about teaching ‘professional cooking skills’ to aspiring chefs, which will air soon.

“Daily I receive emails from young boys and girls who tell me they want to become chefs. Many of them are limited because of family and finances. Through this I want to teach dedicated individuals the art of cooking. From how to hold a knife to the plating of a dish, the show will have lessons on every aspect of cooking,” says Khanna. 

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