It was a chance invite from ICICI Bank to attend a master class with Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and I put all my work aside to dive into some stirring, some frying and some baking with India’s best chef. I have followed him for years on television and collected all his recipe books and this was a surprise blessing that I would ever remain grateful for. As is his usual style, he came, he cooked, he conquered the hearts of all who had gathered in the banquet hall of Taj Vivanta, Bangalore. He appeared cool and relaxed oozing oodles of patience which seems to be the secret behind the taste on the plate.
Cooking is creativity he said, the lab for chemistry experiments where exotic delicacies are created with a little bit of imagination, an eye for detail and lots of patience. The next 4 hours was fusion cooking, mixing and matching the taste of the east and west with Indian flavours & spices, topped by occasional repartees from the Chef to match the mood. He started with fruit salad with scooped melon balls mixed with best of Indian sweets and flavours, followed by serving gooey dips and curries(pav bhaji) in martini glass, and showed us the art of quickly making crispy Vietnamese rolls and starters with leftover lentils (rajma) . Well this was not all, the best was yet to come in the form of Indian chillies baked in Soya Sauce, Mexican Pitta Bread with Indian curry filling(choley) and Italian Pizza made with corn flour and topped with rustic Indian leafy greens (sarson saag) and finally the evergreen slow cooked biryani.
He generously shared some valuable cooking, serving, baking tips and encouraged us to get ideas from a recipe but in practice follow our heart and allow our creative juices to flow. I tried to click and write initially and after some time just gave up on everything and soaked in the aroma of it all. Yes, it was way past lunch and my stomach was beginning to revolt but it is not everyday that you get to listen and interact with a Master Chef. Cheers to his evergreen smile which has not jaded with age, he patiently answered all our questions.
Have you ever wondered why your food does not taste the way it apparently should inspite of following every letter in the recipe? Well just check out if you added dollops of love(mohabbat) and stirred it patiently with lots of time(fursaat). Sometime back, I wrote a few lines as I experienced it since cooking is therapeutic, it is a form of meditation which gets me in touch with myself.