Masterchef in every kitchen : The Tribune India

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Masterchef in every kitchen

In a primary school, students as young as 8-10 years old are frantically getting things ready for the evaluation of their creativity on plates. It happens to be one of their co-curricular activities and they are asked to make healthy sandwiches on the occasion of Republic Day.

Masterchef in every kitchen

Sanjeev Kapoor



Vibha Sharma

 

In a primary school, students as young as 8-10 years old are frantically getting things ready for the evaluation of their creativity on plates. It happens to be one of their co-curricular activities and they are asked to make healthy sandwiches on the occasion of Republic Day. The idea is to showcase patriotic fervour through flavours. They seem to be confidently using ingredients like — oregano and celery and terms like plating and presentation. One wonders, where were these terms a couple of decades back? But then the exposure to food was largely restricted to one’s mother’s kitchen only, which is definitely not the case anymore. Dining out was rare. Moreover, restaurants and dhabas catered to the Indian-food-accustomed palates only. Innovation and food were not supposed to be working together; rather ‘tried-and-tested recipes’ were passed down from one generation to another.

Over the last two decades, food industry has experienced nothing less than a revolution with travel, books, media, and ease of accessibility — all playing significant roles in bringing about this change. Food and cookery channels/shows have established a niche place for themselves. These enjoy a huge fan following and patronisation of big segment of viewers which cut across almost all age groups. Sanjeev Kapoor is a household name who pioneered cookery shows on national television. His show Khaana Khazaana made many women hook on to the afternoon TV viewing for learning new recipes. Many followed suite soon after that and these chefs/cooking enthusiasts made easy entry in our lives. How can one forget Tarla Dalal, a food writer, cookbook author and host of cooking shows!

Prime-time cooking

We have come far from those times already. Shows like Rocky and Mayur’s Highway on My Plate, Saransh Goila’s Roti Rasta aur India and Vinod Dua’s Zaika India Ka have unique charm to them as they take the viewers to a particular region and bring a slice of regional flavours from there. The adventure, travel and food — all three work as a great medley for an interesting entertainment package. Channels like FoodFood and NDTV Good Times have plenty of cookery shows where various established chefs share their recipes and culinary secrets with viewers. Who doesn’t know Chef Harpal Singh’s famous rhyme that he coaxes his viewers to sing along “Namak shamak, namak shamak, daal dete hain…,” Amrita Raichand creating her magic in every lunch box that she prepares for the young picky eaters, or Chef Shantanu Gupte giving healthy twists to one’s favourite preparations?

Simultaneously, the advent of Masterchef Australia happened, which took the cooking and the cookery shows to a completely different level. Seeing the interest of viewers in the off-shore show, could Indian version be far behind. Our own home-grown avatar — Masterchef India got conceptualised soon enough. Adding Bollywood star power only helps when it comes to TRPs, so celebrities like Akshay Kumar were roped in to complete the perfect picture. The end result was a full package, bundling — thrill of competition, exotic locations, rewards and celebrities — all in one.

And of course, the nation’s latest heartthrob Chef Vikas Khanna creating interesting twists to Indian recipes on Twist of Taste on Fox Traveller.

Daily soaps and saas-bahu serials, time to move on, make way for cooking shows as they slowly churn out more masterchefs in every household.

Empowering food aficionados

Technology does not discriminate and everyone gets equal opportunity to make the best use of it. New doors to new vistas have been thrown open to all who are interested and want to enjoy the ride on the cooking bandwagon. Just check the ever-increasing number of food bloggers and recipes that are being floated on YouTube every single day, to see the change. Archana’s Kitchen, Sin-a-Mon, Recipes for the Everyday Woman, Sailu’s Kitchen, Bong Mom’s Cookbook, Monsoon Spice, Aayi’s Recipes, Padhus Kitchen, Simply Tadka are some of the very well-known and well-followed food blogs. Nisha Madhulika, Manjula, Bhavna’s Kitchen and Show Me the Curry are some names that keep the food aficionados glued to YouTube for more, new, different and better.

Food channels/shows/blogs/videos have empowered everyone who is interested in cooking, to become a potential masterchef and there aren’t any hurdles to dampen one’s spirits. Whether it is availability of exotic ingredients, knowledge of techniques or learning step by step procedures — everything is within the reach to turn a simple meal into an alluring spread on one’s own dining table.

In search of new meaning

Looks like food no longer shares space with basic physiological needs of life, as was originally interpreted by Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs. It has gradually climbed up the ladder and is jostling to make its position somewhere at the peak of the pyramid along with self-esteem and self-actualisation. Food is indeed becoming a means to unleash one’s creativity, passion, art interpretation and much more.

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