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Tete-a-Tete with MasterChef Pankaj Bhadouria

On September 7, 2011, 13:27

By Almas Mirza


Pankaj’s aspirational journey from an ordinary school teacher to the country’s top Zaykebaaz serves as an inspiration to many women. Pankaj has proven that she is the quintessential risk taker who dared to dream big, went all out for it and hit the jackpot. So now here she is with her upcoming show Chef Pankaj Ka Zayka, her very own cookery show! A trendsetter with her unique style of teaching and experimenting in the kitchen, a connoisseur of great food whose reviews matter to all the gastronomical junkies out there, the MasterChef, herself gets candid in an interview with india.com. Excerpts from the interview.


How has life changed post MasterChef?


Life has changed drastically after MasterChef. From a teacher to a chef, it’s a big change. I am travelling a lot, shooting at various places, even outdoors. And it feels good to see that people are really looking up to my cooking.


Apart from the victory, which is one memorable moment on MasterChef that surprised you and gave you memories to cherish?


Apart from the victory, there was this one moment that was emotionally charged when our families were invited to the sets. We were totally oblivious about it and it came as a big surprise to see my family standing right in front of me after a long time.


There are already a host of cookery shows on television, a couple of cookery channels for the viewers. How would your upcoming show, Chef Pankaj Ka Zayka, promise to be different from the rest?


The show, Chef Pankaj Ka Zayka, is not another run of the mill. It’s not just about a chef teaching a few recipes and leaving. Of course, food is the hero of the show, but it is an entertaining one. By entertainment, it doesn’t imply games and such things. But it will be an interactive show having celebrity guests visiting.


You were invited to the Cambridge University to demonstrate your skills. What has been your experience throughout the visit?


I felt very prestigious to be invited to the Cambridge University. One thing that I observed there was that people had a very wrong perception about Indian food. They thought Indian cooking isn’t possible without curries. So my whole idea of cooking there was to change the perception of people of UK about Indian food. I chose traditional Indian recipes and showed them that Indian cooking is not just about curries. Among the many recipes I cooked there, the one which was loved most by the audience was Chicken no-butter Masala. There was no compromise on the taste, but the recipe was certainly fat-free which is why it received overwhelming response.


We’ve seen you preparing mouth-watering delicacies on MasterChef. If you were to name one recipe that’s your personal favourite, which one would that be?


(Laughs) It sounds similar to asking a mother to choose among her children. Well I am a foodie. I like to cook and I like to eat. I like everything I prepare and is loved by my husband and my kids. But if I were to name one recipe, it surely has to be Tunde ke Kebabs from Lucknow.

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