Ranveer Brar is a happy man. He loves to laugh, talk and of course, eat. The celebrity chef, food stylist, TV host and co-judge of MasterChef India season 4 loves his time in the kitchen and in front of the camera equally.
Born in the food haven of Lucknow, Ranveer comes with an experience spanning over 15 years and has won several awards and recognition including the 'Wallpaper' magazine's Best New Restaurant in the World for his Boston-based restaurant, Banq
We caught up with the very amiable Ranveer Brar whose love for food and travel is addictive.
How will you define your style of cooking?
I like to call it “inspired culinary expression”, wherein I translate the moments and aspects that touched and inspired me onto a plate for a person to discover how I feel.
Cooking in the close confines of a restaurant kitchen and in front of a TV audience who is watching you around the world, you have done both. How different are the two experiences and which one excites you the most?
Cooking at a restaurant gives you instant gratification. Even the response is immediate. But, cooking in front of the camera helps your dish reach a million homes. Although there is a delay in response when you are cooking on TV, the feeling is amazing. I enjoy both for cooking excites me the most.
Hosting a TV food show means doing more than just cooking. How do you prepare yourself for the same?
Being yourself in front of the camera is the best way to prepare. After all, chefs are human beings and the kitchen teaches you life lessons.
What makes a good TV host?
A subtle quirkiness, love and knowledge of the subject and the ability to express yourself are the three things crucial to be a good TV host. A sense of humour gives the person a chance to connect with his/ her audience. The fact that people are well travelled today and know their food, it is important for a chef to understand the nuances of the cuisine.
For a chef, how important it is to expose oneself?
Food is an expression for a chef. So, there is a certain amount of pride involved when a chef creates something for the people he is surrounded with. Going out there and letting the world know about your creation establishes that pride. And the rewards that come along is extremely fulfilling.
Do you have any fond memories while shooting with Vikas Khanna and Sanjeev Kapoor for MasterChef India?
We had some amazing fun on the sets. They both eased me and it never felt I was working for the first time with them. There were several pranks played too. Once Vikas and Sanjeev blindfolded me and asked to identify a dish, which tasted horrible.
It seemed like bitter gourd and methi, so when they took off my blindfold, I was right. Only that it wasn’t a dish, but a puree of bitter gourd and methi seeds. This is how I was inducted into MasterChef!
Have you noticed that most of the celebrity chefs at the moment are Punjabis?
Well, I think it’s because we are loud and boisterous!
It is a great time for Indian food with new restaurants launching and celebrating street as well as regional foods of the country. Your thoughts.
The trend indicates that it’s time to go back to our roots. India’s diversity is probably the highest in the world. And food is something that is defined by the cultural ethos of a place and not political boundaries. So it’s fantastic to witness a sort of Indian food revolution taking the country by storm.
How important it is for a chef to travel?
Travel has the ability to transform a good chef into a great chef. If a chef wants to be successful then travel has to be one of his top priorities.
Tell us about one your favourite food experiences from your travels.
I was cooking in Jodhpur with a woman from the Bishnoi tribe. Shanti Devi was a widow, who was shunned by the society and would earn a living by cooking at a school. She prepared a dish called Ker Sangri, which is a traditional delicacy of Rajasthan cooked with beans and dried berries. I can vouch it was the best meal of my life!
With Masterchef and several food shows on TV, how is it likely to impact what and how we eat?
Television is a medium of influence and the way I see it, it is going to change the way we perceive food. Glorification of food is already a thing of the moment and it has earned its respect. So, the impact will see more eating spaces or restaurants, home cooks getting their due and kids coming out to cook.
Recipe for Mirch Baans Ki Kurkuri
Roomali roti - 3 - 4
Milk & refined flour batter - as required
Oil - for frying
Canned bamboo shoots - ½ cup
Onion - 1
Green bell pepper - 1
Red bell pepper - 2
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - ½ tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Chopped green chilli - 1 tsp
Chopped coriander - 2 tbsp
Spring onion stalk - as required
1. Chop canned bamboo shoots into julienned and chop onion into slices.
2. Chop green and red bell pepper into juliennes.
3. To prepare the filling; in a pan heat oil; add sliced onion, salt, chopped bamboo shoots, red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, chopped red and green bell pepper julienned and mix well.
4. Now add chopped green chilli and chopped coriander.
5. Remove the prepared filling on a plate and let it cool.
6. Cut off the roomali edges and cut them into triangle shape.
7. Apply egg and refined flour batter to the sheets, add the prepared filling and make a rolls.
8. Apply egg and refined flour batter on the rolls and deep fry them in hot oil. Also fry the spring roll sheets edges and remove them on a tissue paper.
9. Decorate plate with tomato ketchup and place the bamboo sticks. Cut the spring rolls and arrange them in the bamboo sticks.