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'Modiji was kind; tried everything that was served to him'

November 23, 2016 17:50 IST

sanjeev kapoorCelebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor gets candid with Rediff readers.

IMAGE: Chef Sanjeev Kapoor interacts with Rediff readers during an online chat on November 23. All Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

On November 23, one of India's most popular celebrity chefs, Sanjeev Kapoor, visited the Rediff.com office in Mumbai.

Dressed in a crisp blue shirt and black denims, Kapoor made a dashing entry.

He spent an hour interacting with our readers through an online chat.

From cooking for Narendra Modi to his love for Indian music and cuisine, Chef Kapoor shared experiences from his interesting culinary journey that has now spanned two decades.

For those who missed the chat, here's the unedited transcript:


Deepalikumari: Why are chefs articular about kitchen knives? 

Chef Sanjeev: Chefs are possessive about their knives because we can trust them always.


Rajnish Chhabra: I am a foodie and love to eat and desire to cook as well. Being 47, can I venture into the field of cooking and where to get trained for it.

Chef Sanjeev: It is never too late to start to cook. You can join Symbiosis School of Culinary Arts.


guddy: Sanjeev, could you tell us three recipes of your mother that you love the most?

Chef Sanjeev: Punjabi kadhi, baigan ka barta and jeera aloo


kunika: How did cooking happen to you?

Chef Sanjeev: It is still happening.


hitansh: Kapoor sir, which of your books would you recommend to know Indian cooking better?

Chef Sanjeev: Khazana of Indian recipes


Sandeep Loyalka: Any plans of opening one of your restaurant brands in South Mumbai?

Chef Sanjeev: God willing soon. Dadar is next.


sona: Why do you think Indian food has become such a universally popular cuisine?

Chef Sanjeev: Because it is the best food in the world


kaushal: What do you think have been the main reasons for the long-term success of Khana Khazana? 

Chef Sanjeev: People who watch it.


Riyaz Sheikh: Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of the cooking world?

Chef Sanjeev: I love music. I have my own band.


Chinmay Thakur: When you go to a restaurant, what is something that you always order?

Chef Sanjeev: Food! 


Tayyab Ghaffar: Sir how to cut tomatoes without squeezing the juice?

Chef Sanjeev: Buy Wonderchef knives


Mayank Mehta: Do you also make mistakes in the kitchen? Can you pls share some instances and how you handled it?

Chef Sanjeev: Yes! By smiling


Sandeep Rajapure: The coolest gadget in your kitchen 

Chef Sanjeev: Refrigerator :)


deepikadeewani: How do you create a personal identity on dishes for a cuisine as wide and diverse as Indian food?

Chef Sanjeev: Believe in yourself and do it with confidence. It works.


hitansh: Kapoorji who is your guru in food making?

Chef Sanjeev: My parents


neetasinha: Chef, I want to meet you once. Is that possible?

Chef Sanjeev: Yes it is possible. Now is a good time !!


Ashish Gupta: Sir what was it like cooking for Modi?

Chef Sanjeev: Fantastic experience. He loves his food.


Sudesh Mishra: How do you test the quality of your ingredients?

Chef Sanjeev: Believe in your senses. see, smell, touch, taste if possible.


Zoran Saher: Who among Bollywood celebrities is the Best Chef?

Chef Sanjeev: I wish I knew.


zubeda-pawaskar: Sir, I loved the ambience at Yellow Chilli in Mumbai. How do you train the staff and ensure the quality control?

Chef Sanjeev: regular training programmes and rigorous quality checks including mystery audits.


Anirudh Karthik: There are lots of content on the web that draws relationship between some foods and sex drive. Do you subscribe to this school of thought? If not, your comments

Chef Sanjeev: Yes there are aphrodisiac foods.


Dheeraj Sharma: Hi Sanjeev Sir, you are appointed as consultant for navodaya Vidhalayas. what ideas you gave for that?

Chef Sanjeev: It is an ongoing assignment and we are continuously working to improve the food offering in these schools.


Sudesh Mishra: If you were told that your food cost was high, what five things would you look at first?

Chef Sanjeev: Apply 80-20 rule. Things that you consume the most, focus on them.


avik sanyal: How was your experience in Jhalak Dikhla Ja?

Chef Sanjeev: I was conned into it. But I loved it.


Rashmi Lokar: Sir can you tell us more about your CNN show. How was the experience shooting with the locals?

Chef Sanjeev: Fantastic experience. Do catch it on CNN. It is called Fusion Journey. Airs at 6 pm on Saturday, November 26.


Sudesh Mishra: What is your favourite cuisine? How many different types of cuisine are you capable of producing?

Chef Sanjeev: My favourite cuisine is home cuisine.


Vinu Murthy: When eating out in other restaurants, chefs say they avoid pasta and chicken. Why?

Chef Sanjeev: I have not met such chefs.


Raju Bhatt: How is food related to love?

Chef Sanjeev: Food and love are inseparable. Food with love tastes divine.


Shaadik Choudhary: Sir does your wife love your cooking? She must be so lucky. Which of your recipes does she love the most?

Chef Sanjeev: Yes she does love my cooking. I guess that is why we are still happily married.


Megha Nambiar: How does one decide the right amount of spices -- salt and pepper? Is there a trick. I always keep adjusting.

Chef Sanjeev: Adjustment is good. Do what works for you.


ganesh-nadar: Do you like to use organic vegetables?

Chef Sanjeev: Yes I love to use organic vegetables all the time. Availability should get better.


Imran Farooqui: What are your views about the new masterchef Kapoors?

Chef Sanjeev: MasterChef will always remain very close to my heart. All the contestants and judges are like my family. Best wishes to Vikas, Kunal and Zorawar. They are doing a fab job.


rittika negi: I watch all your shows. Can you tell me which show is closest to your heart?

Chef Sanjeev: Out of the world series on FoodFood and Culinary Journeys on CNN


sathish kumar: can we do noodles in punjabi style

Chef Sanjeev: Of course you can do anything Punjabi style. Carry a box of cooked noodles on delhi Punjab Highway and eat it in a dhaba.


Arvind Irani: How to make healthy pizza?

Chef Sanjeev: Avoid ordering and make it yourself.


yogita: Yogita Hello Sir, I am huge fan of you, Cooking is my hobby, my que. is i want to become a successful cook what the basic things i may follow?

Chef Sanjeev: Professional cooking needs professional training. Till then watch FoodFood. Passion, hard work, common sense, knowledge and appreciation of good things in life.


Vimlesh Purohit: Give us five recipes for a romantic evening in the kitchen... :-)

Chef Sanjeev: You got to be kidding me. Avoid romance in the kitchen.


shahin: Sir, can we substitute olive oil with sunflower oil in Indian cuisine?

Chef Sanjeev: Yes you can.


Vivek Gupta: Sir, We miss you in the ongoing Master Chef season. Please come once...atleast in finale...

Chef Sanjeev: I understand that. My best wishes to all the contestants and judges of MasterChef. I also miss being part of MasterChef, but my ongoing commitments for FoodFood are my first priority. All the best to Season 5. i will always be a part of MasterChef.


dinesh: What does your mother think about your cooking?

Chef Sanjeev: Please ask her and tell me.


Surendran: Chef...If you were to pick your favourite spice...which one would it be??

Chef Sanjeev: Salt. A grain of salt is the most powerful spice.


Bharat Rakshak: Tradition in the restaurant industry: Cooks report to duty unless they are practically hospitalised. Half of those we surveyed said they come to work sick, and they stay there through injuries, too. Many chefs have cut themselves on the job, gone to get stitches and returned to work to finish out the night.

Chef Sanjeev: Really???


Rohit Panicker: Is it possible to cook Healthy food which is also tasty?

Chef Sanjeev: Yes it is. Read Khazana of healthy tasty recipes by Sanjeev Kapoor.


ashish joshi: Hi chef. This is Ashish BHM graduate from IHM Kolkata. I have worked with MCD, Subway for 7 years. Now i have opened my restaurant Fredy foods which is trademark. My dream is to make it a chain brand. Please provide inputs

Chef Sanjeev: All the best. Maybe join a management course as well.


Surendran: Chef...How can I cook for you???

Chef Sanjeev: Cook with a smile. I like that.


Adnan Chogle: Sir pls suggest some good vegetarian restaurants in Chennai.

Chef Sanjeev: Most of the restaurants that I know are non-vegetarian. I like idlis from Murugan Idli.


Zeel Kappor: Please name the three restaurants you love in India and three you love in the world.

Chef Sanjeev: Restaurants I love Noma, Roca in Spain and Eleven Madison


Surendran: Chef...are you taking interns under you??? I wish my Son could get a few years under your guidance

Chef Sanjeev: Do contact our restaurant division.


Sudesh Mishra: Tell me about pairing wine and food.

Chef Sanjeev: There are a few rules like pairing white wine with white meats and red wine with red meats. But I believe food and wine is very personal in nature. Hence do what you like.


Abhijit Redgaonkar: Hi Sanjeev, I am big fan of your cooking, I am pure vegetarian and when ever we go in restaurants we tend to end up ordering Punjabi dishes can you suggest some more cuisines which can be tried and tested for veg people.

Chef Sanjeev: Maharashtrian vegetarian food is very good. So is Rajasthani and Gujarati. And of course from South of India.


Manik Gupta: Sanjeevji, main aapke cooking ka fan hoon. I want to know who is your favourite chef.

Chef Sanjeev: Having favourites in life is boring.


Shobhit Kumar: Sir i am from Lucknow, UP and we watch almost all your shows and we would like to see you Live in Lucknow. Please visit Lucknow so that we can see you cook delicious food live and get some great cooking tips!

Chef Sanjeev: Sure I will.. Maybe after the elections.


Gajanan Bose: Sir what do you think of Modiji? Is he good for Indian food industry? What do you think of Swachh Bharat cess and service tax? Is it good or bad?

Chef Sanjeev: I believe all taxes put to good use are necessary.


Santhakumar A: Hi Sanjeev, is it possible to become a cooking expert in a week's time? What's your successful mantra?

Chef Sanjeev: Yes it is very easy to become a cooking expert in 624 weeks. :)


Manash Das: Hi, I would request you to explore and bring up khasi, boro, mishing, assamese, tiwa and various other ethnic cuisines of the north east.

Chef Sanjeev: Sure great idea. I have extensively travelled in these areas and would love to share the food from the North East sooner than later.


Sudesh Mishra: Describe your knowledge of food safety.

Chef Sanjeev: I am continuously engaged in knowing more about food safety and I collaborate with FSSAI


Gajanan Bose: An astounding 90 per cent of chefs said it's fair to penalize bad waiters with a smaller tip. Do u agree?

Chef Sanjeev: Be kind with everyone. irrespective of their imperfections.

Sanjeev Kapoor

IMAGE: Chef Sanjeev Kapoor 

Shobhit Kumar: Sir I have bought many of your Wonderchef products like Wonderchef Click Dosa Tawa, Wonderchef 400 Watt Nutri-Blend and i must say they re too good!

Chef Sanjeev: Thank you Shobhit.


Surendran: Hi Sanjeev...am 48 and you are my guru since i started cooking with Khana Khazana.. My son is doing his IHM Mumbai 5th sem...is the industry still as good as maybe 3 yrs back???

Chef Sanjeev: Don't worry about the industry. Ask your son to do his best. And make the industry better with his work.


kunal sanghavi: Hello Sir, where in India can we learn molecular gastronomy? Kindly advice

Chef Sanjeev: You can join Symbiosis School of Culinary Arts.


Vaydha Bamse: Sir, How do you remember all the recepies of world food

Chef Sanjeev: It is not difficult if you know the basics of cooking.


Baskar: Sir which shows are you currently working on?

Chef Sanjeev: Cook Smart on FoodFood. Do watch Culinary Journeys at 6 pm on Sat November 26 on CNN.


Hazal: Do you think a vegetarian is open to interpretation?

Chef Sanjeev: I think anyone and anything should be open to experiment. That is how life works.


Shankar Kathurde: Do you watch masterchef India? What do you think of our young talent?

Chef Sanjeev: I do not watch TV. I do not get time to watch.


max: What advice would you like to share with young people who want to take hotel management as a career?

Chef Sanjeev: Culinary management is probably a better bet than hotel management.


rupali walinjkar: Sir, I miss your khana khazana show, can u again come on televsion with new recipes, as it is incomplete without your beautiful smile..

Chef Sanjeev: Do watch FoodFood channel for my new shows.


adil: Sir Modiji ke liye aapne jo khana banaya, unka reaction kaisa tha?

Chef Sanjeev: Modiji was very kind and tried each and every thing that was served to him. He also appreciated a lot.


kriti sethi: How often do you sharpen your knives?

Chef Sanjeev: As and when they are blunt.


thomas davis: Sanjeev Sir, can we use Glycerol/Edible glycerine to make Rich Plum cake so that it stays moist in cold weather. Also Is it advisable to use citric acid crysal to give some tanginess to the cake? Thomas

Chef Sanjeev: In baking it is best to follow good source for recipes. To keep cakes moist there are many ingredients that retain moisture. For a rich plum cake try adding prunes. Prunes are very good humectants.


Teju Salian: Some say chicken doesn't take as long to cook as people think. The smaller you chop chicken, the quicker it takes to cook, so it can easily be used to make 10- to 15-minute meals.

Chef Sanjeev: Broiler chicken is very easy to cook. Smaller pieces cook faster.


Amit Iglesias: Sir what is your experience of cooking for celebrities. What is the best compliment you have received?

Chef Sanjeev: To me anyone that I cook for is a celebrity for me.


manoj bhardwaj: ANY PROGRAMME OF YOUR VISITING ASSAM IN RECENT DAYS?

Chef Sanjeev: No immediate plan.


Harish K: Who was your inspiration to take up cooking?

Chef Sanjeev: My father.


Gagan Bansal: Hi Sanjeev Sir, I like your way of anchoring on FoodFood. Its very peculiar. its humble and fabulous!

Chef Sanjeev: Thanks


manoj: Which Maharashtrian dish do you like and why?

Chef Sanjeev: Thali peeth. Because it is tasty and healthy.


Ananti: Sir how can we invite you to come to our office? We would love to cook for you...:)

Chef Sanjeev: People just say it but are scared to invite me.


thomas davis: Is it advisable to use citric acid crystals to give some tanginess to the cake?Thomas

Chef Sanjeev: Why would you want tanginess in a cake unless it is lemon or orange cake. A roll of citric acid in baking is more to activate baking soda.


rama chandra: Is this weight reduction foods a reality or myth

Chef Sanjeev: I don't believe in dieting. I believe in DIE EATING.


Surendran: Thanks Chef...Will advise my son accordingly...just a quick question...IS just an IHM good enough or should he also take up a course in Culinary arts as an addendum???? He wants to be a chef very badly

Chef Sanjeev: A dedicated course in culinary arts would definitely help.


Deepak Saxena: Chef if Sanjeev kapoor had not been a Chef what else he would have chosen as career?

Chef Sanjeev: Probably an architect.


Sudesh Mishra: Where and how were you trained?

Chef Sanjeev: I think I am still getting trained.


rahul: Which chef would you love to work with? or start a restaurant with?

Chef Sanjeev: Our chefs


Hiya: When you did hotel management, how did your parents react?

Chef Sanjeev: My parents believed in me and were happy.


zenobia panvelwala: According to you which is the most easiest dish and the most toughest dish and why?

Chef Sanjeev: Any dish that you know how to cook is easy and rest is difficult.


sneha shetty: How to know if meat is fresh?

Chef Sanjeev: Ask the meat :) Believe in your senses


rahim: Who is your favourite international chef?

Chef Sanjeev: Rene Redzepi


naveen kumar: Sir, do you prepare something for our solders. In your viewpoint, what should government do to bring harmony with neighbouring countries. Life of valuable solders are so so important for us. Cook something which will change the perception of enemy. every day death of solders is a great grief to us.

Chef Sanjeev: I wish there was an easy answer.


pradeep parmar: Which of your favorites books in cooking

Chef Sanjeev: Modernist Cuisine by Nathan Myrhold


sreehari nair: Is oven roasting vegetables a great alternative to grilling and boiling your vegetables, because it draws out natural sugars and sweetness, reduces moisture and enhances flavors?

Chef Sanjeev: Ovenroasting is good for both vegetables and meats.


rupali walinjkar: Sir, what is the best way to keep the colours of vegetables the same while cooking

Chef Sanjeev: You have to understand science of cooking. Watch FoodFood or Sanjeev Kapoor Khazana in YouTube channel. to get tips and tricks.


Chef Sanjeev: Thank you all for the lovely chat. Do follow me on Facebook and Twitter and YouTube channel SanjeevKapoor Khazana. Had a great time. Thank you Rediff. And do watch Culinary Journeys on CNN, Saturday 26th Nov, 6pm IST