“Chefs with a massive following also carry the responsibility of making people aware of nutrition, guiding them to look through marketing tactics employed by certain brands to push a particular ingredient. Also, they need to caution against traps of nutrition fads — no food is bad when you realise that its primary duty is to provide nutrition. Certain foods may not be suitable for some people — and that is not the same thing. For example, butter is important, if you do not exercise at all, who is to blame?” Chef Kunal Kapur tells IANS.
Kapur, who was recently in Chandigarh to inaugurate ‘Koffeehouz’ in the city’s Sector 7, and has been in the business for more than two decades now smiles that still, every day is new for him.
“Food and cooking never fail to fascinate me. There is so much to discover, at every moment. Food is like art. You cannot get bored of a good painting in your house or an excellent poem, right? I may not be able to paint, but my different shades come through when I cook. It’s how I express my being,” he adds.
Someone, who trains underprivileged and unemployed youth in cooking and helps raise funds to make their own sustained food business, this Delhi-born chef took a liking to cooking and pursued it to become one of the most well-known chefs.
Rated as ‘The Best Indian Chef’ in New Delhi by a national magazine and titled as ‘The Next Big Guy in Kebabs and Curries in India’, Kapur feels it always helps to know a cuisine to understand flavours. Precisely why he can still be seen in local markets whenever he visits a new city.
“It is always interesting to look at food through the prism of those who consume and the region. And research and documentation are therefore extremely important for me — to know the possibilities, and how to go beyond them.”
Lamenting that in a huge and diverse country like India, food has not been documented, he says, “Look at the way the French have documented their food. I remember, in college, we were on a perpetual search for ‘that one book’ on Indian food. This meant that we had to buy many, get them photocopied, and distribute them among friends.”
And this is where he feels that the many food bloggers who have sprung up after the social media boom are doing a fantastic job.
“They are spread across the country and bring alive the best of food from the most hidden corners in their city. How else would we know that a tiny particular shop in a labyrinth offers excellent ‘vada-pav’?”
Stressing that we are at a point when we need more information about regional food, Kapur, who is currently working on two books, including one on local foods, says writing for him is important.
“And not just books, but also documenting things on my social media handles. That allows me an easy reference and I am I know that the research put out there will not get lost.”
Speaking during the launch, Sahil Baweja, Founder and CEO of Leapster Restaurants Pvt. Ltd said, “We already have six Roadies Koffeehouz outlets in Chandigarh and Punjab region. We have four more stores signed for Punjab. Another five in Gujarat are under construction and five more have been signed.”