Chef Kunal Kapur Talks Life Beyond The Kitchen & Lockdown Routine In An Exclusive Interview

The lockdown has brought abundant epiphanies and opportunities for all of us, alike. Regardless of who you are. This sentiment was reaffirmed as we got a chance to chat with our very own My Yellow Table chef – Kunal Kapur. Here is his exclusive interview with GOODTiMES talking about his personal life, reminiscing old memories, and giving us some quick cooking hacks!

GT: The lockdown has taught us many lessons, what is your biggest takeaway from this period?

KK: The lockdown is something which I have never experienced before. It has taught me that nothing is stable & forever. You have to keep your hope alive, adapt and move on. You, also, have to keep your loved ones closer to you all the time.

GT: How do you keep yourself entertained during house arrest? Have you picked up a new hobby?

KK: Well working on my next book to some self-shot cooking videos take up quite a bit of my time. I enjoy reading, light workout & definitely some “me time”. They are the perks of this lockdown.

GT: Do you enjoy cooking at home for family? What is their favourite dish?

KK: I have been staying alone after my separation so I cook a lot for me. Of course, I love cooking for my parents as & when I can.

GT: Most memorable moment as a culinary student?

KK: There are so many, but the first time I won an award in the 2nd year of college for vegetable carving, that was very special.

GT: Any cooking accidents that turned into incredible new dishes?

KK: Yes (laughs), happens all the time! I had spilled spinach puree once on a plate which my senior chef thought was excellent plating. So, the learning here is that all accidents & mistakes teach us something.

GT: Who was the first inspiration for you to cook?

KK: All the men in my big Punjabi family as I was growing up.

GT: In these times when people can’t go out, what are the 5 essential food items a person should have at their place to cook some easy meals?

KK: Flour, Sugar, Fat (butter or oil), Herbs, Veggies.

GT: Tips to people who are cooking for the first time in this quarantine, suggest some easy recipes they can try?

KK: Here is the recipe of easy-to-make Hash Browns

Ingredients:

3 cups grated potatoes

Pinch of salt

1 tbsp. chopped green chillies

1 tbsp. chopped ginger

1 tbsp. coarsely ground coriander seeds

1 tbsp. cumin

1 tbsp. chilli flakes

1 tbsp. chopped coriander

1 tbsp. oil

1 tbsp. melted butter

Few herbs sprig

Method:

In a bowl, add grated raw potatoes, salt, chopped green chillies, chopped ginger, coarsely ground coriander seeds, cumin, chilli flakes, chopped coriander and mix it. Squeeze out water from the mixture. Heat a tawa, add oil and spread this mixture. Pour oil on sides and melted butter over it. Flip the sides and cook it completely.  Garnish with herbs sprigs and serve hot.

 

GT: How has COVID 19 impacted the restaurants and the food businesses?

KK: The world order for food business has changed. Small, affordable, low cost restaurants are the future for at least the next year. Also cooking at home & delivering is the new normal that people will embrace. Food & restaurants will pick up in time, they always have.

GT: Sustainability is the future. Any kitchen habits that we should all start following?

KK: Growing your own produce, even if it is little, goes a long way to push sustainability and also helps in lowering our carbon footprint. Start with simple herbs in a pot to growing few veggies. Also, people living in housing societies should grow trees & plants that bear edible fruits & veggies, like, lemon trees.

GT: 3 kitchen tools that you swear by?

KK: A good chef’s knife, mixer grinder and an oven.

GT: Any indigenous ingredient that you chanced upon in your travels that blew your mind?

KK: Pathar Ke Phool is used as a spice but in fact it belongs to the “Lichen family”. Potli Masala, to Nihari Masala to Galauti Masala to bottle masala has this spice, here in Uttarakhand I saw it growing wild on rock and tree barks.

GT: Ghar ka khaana or restaurant food, what is you go-to option?

KK: Both! I enjoy ghar ka simple khana but cannot stay away from restaurant food. I cannot choose one I need both.

GT: 3 cuisines or dishes that everyone must try at least once in their lives?

KK: Gujarati cuisine, Kashmiri cuisine, and Tandoori food!

GT: What is the first thing you want to do once the lockdown is lifted?

KK: Travel to the hills & then to the beach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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