Chef Sanjeev Kapoor Talks About Padma Shri, Curating Menu For Indian Railways

Celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor, who has recently been named for the Padma Shri for his contribution in the culinary section – India’s fourth highest civilian honour – says he is “honoured on being conferred with the Padma Shri Award and accepts it with full humility on behalf of the entire hospitality industry and chefs in particular.”

On being asked if the honour was a bit delayed considering his three-decade long journey in the hospitality industry, he told, “All things in life happen as they are destined. I’m thankful and happy.”

Apart from the Padma Shri, chef Kapoor has received several awards including the Best Executive Chef of India Award and the Mercury Gold Award in Geneva, Switzerland.

Well, there is no denying that chef Kapoor is one of the most acclaimed chefs around the world and has a massive fan following. He is undoubtedly the most celebrated faces of Indian cuisine and his recipes have been religiously followed by one and all, especially mothers, from his Khana Khazana days – the longest running show of its kind in Asia; it broadcasts in 120 countries.

Attribute it to the chef’s popularity or his easy to cook methods and delectable recipes, Kapoor even has his chain of restaurants and launched a channel in 2011.

In fact, he is even looking at coming up with his own line of spices, Bharat Ka Masala.

When asked about the idea and the need behind launching his own line of spices, Kapoor told that it was required to bring about a certain consistency to his recipes. He said, “The need of it and the market size were the two main reasons to come up with my own line of spices. People were demanding it and to bring in consistency to my recipes, it was desirable that something of this sort is available readily in the market.”

Talking about giving competition to the big, already established spice brands in the market, chef Kapoor said, “Whenever market is defined, it is always India and the rest of the world. Indian spices are already in demand globally as Indian food is popular everywhere. Thanks to the power of the internet and the fact that Indians are travelling more and more, not just to visit different places but also to work and settle there. So, I would say, market and demand is huge and there is scope for many players to co-exist. In any market, the competition is always there, but that is what keeps players on their toes and generates ideas to improve.”

It is his innovative ideas, farsightedness and of course his super delicious, easy-to-cook recipes that even had the Indian Railways ask for his expertise for the railway menu.

Recently, the Indian railways roped in the celebrated chef to curate menu for Tejas Express. And since Kapoor is a popular name in the Indian household, expectations from his are extremely high. On being asked about the project and his opinion on whether roping him to curate the menu for Tejas Express would restore people’s faith in the quality of food served in the trains, chef Kapoor told, “Millions of people travel everyday on Indian rail. They are served food on each and every train, and one cannot disagree with the fact that Indian Railways is one of the most efficient systems in the world. It is all about the scale and the changes that need to be done on a regular basis, which I’m looking at. And with this I’m sure the faith of the people will be enhanced.”

When he was asked about what all he plans to include in the menu, he said, “It’s a tough question to answer. Since the initial proposed Tejas trains would belong to Maharashtra, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh regions, therefore, my focus would be to include these cuisines at their best.” “This will be further categorised as per seasons and meal timings. Also, besides this, as I’ve always been doing with other projects of mine, the dishes that I plan to include in the menus will not only be tasty, but, I’ll also try and make them wholesome and nutritious at the same time,” he added.

First Published: March 7, 2017, 12:12 PM IST