As clichéd as it might sound, but to her own confession Chef Shazia Khan says that she has a love affair with food. MasterChef runner up and celebrity Chef Shazia Khan demystified the art of nouvelle cuisine in Bengaluru. She demonstrated the benefits of using innovative kitchen tools for creating culinary masterpieces and highlighted the importance of fresh local produce and quality ingredients. The event hosted by TTK Prestige, conceptualised a fusion menu with Chef Shazia demonstrating easy yet delicious dishes like dukkah crusted paneer with creamy beetroot, the brinjal affair, grilled figs with almond crumble and vanilla mousse, chilly mutton sliders, Cuban chicken skewers and specially concocted grape juice puchka shots. She used a range of innovative gadgets like the Prestige Air-Fryer for air frying brinjals, Prestige Slow Juicer for cold pressing the grapes, the veggie cutter and many other useful tools. Here’s a quick tete-a-tete with Shazia.
When was your first tryst with cooking?
I was nine when I made a fresh fruit custard without any assistance and continued to make something or the other for friends and family. After that I finished college and got married and had babies. I would always be good at cooking so when my friends suggested I participate in MasterChef India 2, I lapped up the opportunity. I recently launched my cookbook called What’s On The Menu that was released by Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and actor Ramya.
How do you give Indian cuisine your own specialty twist?
I use all the usual home ingredients to create recipes that you would find at any good Michelin restaurants. The palate of Indians is becoming increasingly sophisticated. People are open to trying out different cuisines as they are now being exposed to high end restaurants mushrooming across the country, shows like MasterChef as well as widespread international travel. I love to finish my dishes beautifully. Cooking for me is a fun activity. Even at midnight if someone asks me to make something I will wake up and whip it up. I don’t cook every single day at home, but I do cook every second day for my kids as they love fancy dinners, so I go all out and pamper them. I love creating new dishes so I keep trying and testing new recipes. I keep experimenting in the kitchen. My kids love my Italian dishes at home, but for most of my demos I do modern Indian cooking. My younger son who is completing his 12th standard now plans to enroll into a culinary school abroad.
What according to you is modern Indian cooking?
I love playing with the flavours that we have grown up eating and seeing, but still presented differently by deconstructing it. I like to keep the nutrition factor intact and the Indian flavours the same, rather enhance them, by giving it a whole new approach in plating them.
You’re from a family that runs a group of educational institutions (DPS) in the city and your father-in-law K Rahman Khan is a member of parliament and a former Union Minister. Do you like to host formal dinners at home?
Yes, I love cooking and hosting. We have a lot of VIP dinners and I host a lot of eminent guests and personalities at home. I’m the kind of chef who is always fishing for compliments. Whenever they take a bite, they always shower me with praises for my cooking and that keeps me motivated and brings a smile on my face.
What are your future plans?
I’m coming up with a culinary school in Jayanagar in August this year. We will have masterclasses from chefs from around the world and I will personally be there to teach the culinary students.
– As told to Namita Gupta.