Recipes for success

Recipes for success

Celebrity chefs

As a chef, which according to many is still a male-dominated profession, some female chefs have tried to make a mark in the profession.

Some female chefs including names like Manisha Bhasin, Neha Lakhani, Pankaj Bhadouria and Anahita N Dhondy have not only inspired many girls to take up the profession but have also carved a niche for themselves in the Indian culinary scene.

Currently working as a senior executive chef at ITC Maurya, chef Manisha Bhasin has spent almost 30 years in the profession, serving fine quality food to patrons. Neha Lakhani, on the other hand, has established herself as an expert in the pastry kitchen. Having completed her training under chef Bhasin at ITC, Lakhani is currently pastry chef at Le Cordon Bleu, Canada and is also the head chef and founder of Patisserie Royale.

Pankaj Bhadouria, the winner of Masterchef India, Season 1, is someone we are all inspired by. After leaving her 16 years job of a school teacher, Bhadouria has hosted many food shows on TV and now runs her culinary academy in Lucknow.

Dhondy, 23, is the youngest of the lot. Currently as the head chef of Soda Bottle Opener Wala, she has taken the restaurant to a level where its fourth chain is soon to open in Noida.

On the sidelines of International Women’s Day (March 8), these chefs came together to share how they feel to be a part of this profession and their recipes for success.
Excerpts:

On their experiences every time they are asked ‘how do you feel to be a women chef?’

Pankaj: There is no bias for women or men chefs. We are here because we love doing what we do.

Neha: Whenever someone asks me this question, I personally feel sad for that person because probably he or she doesn’t know what they are doing with their lives.

Anahita: I think we are more elegant and better in doing a lot of things at one time.

On managing their personal and professional life:

Pankaj: With time, both my kids and I have got used to my travelling. So whatever time I’m home, I switch off my phone and keep my laptop aside and spend quality time with my family.

Manisha: If you want to succeed in your profession, you have to put in your 100 per cent.

Neha: No one in my family belongs to the hospitality background. So convincing them to support me is something that I still work hard on.

Anahita: At my age (23), I try giving my work as much as I can. Also, family’s support during holidays and offs when I could not be home, really helped me go forward.

On defining moments in their career:

Pankaj: Winning Masterchef India.

Manisha:When I was a trainee at ITC and people had bet for Rs 100 on me that I would not spend more than a year at the hotel.

Neha: When I started teaching baking at G D Goenka school.

Anahita: When I realised that didn’t want to restrict myself to pastry kitchen (even though I always wanted to be in it).

On their recipes for success:

Pankaj: 99 per cent hard work, one per cent luck.

Manisha: Hard work, passion and enjoyment.

Neha: It is not the compliments but the failures that make you successful.

Anahita: A lot of commitment, passion and enthusiasm for your work.

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