Want to tap core flavours of native India: Chef Sanjeev Kapoor

By Priyanka Sharma

New Delhi, Feb 13 (IANS) For 17 long years, he made people explore the culinary art through his iconic cookery show "Khana Khazana". And now chef Sanjeev Kapoor has come up with his own food channel and promises to bring core Indian flavours to the masses.

" 'Food Food' is something that I have been dreaming about for the last seven years. When I first talked about it to other people, they said it's a good idea but will it really work?" Sanjeev told IANS in an interview.

"People were quite sceptical about it, but I didn't give up. I kept on with it. I started talking to more and more people, initiated qualitative and quantitative research on my own and finally my dream is turning into a reality," he added.

The 24-hour food channel, in association with Astro All Asia Networks, boasts of a variety of shows like "Sanjeev Kapoor's Kitchen", "Firangi Tadka", "Sirf 30 Minute", "Chef Ka Muqabala", "Ready Steady Cook", "Southern Spice", "Filmi Dabba" and "Turban Tadka", among others.

And Sanjeev promises that the Indianness would remain intact in all the shows.

"The Indianness will remain intact. We would tap the magic and the core flavour of native India. We would be true to it and promote it. If it's dying somewhere, we would revive it...that is my mandate to my team also," he said.

Sanjeev says that he has tried to tap various traditional Indian cuisines from different parts of the country.

"We have taken a lot of recipes from south and north India. There is a show called 'Turban Tadka' where people will learn to cook traditional Punjabi recipes; another show called 'Southern Spice' will have delicacies of south India. In my show, I'll talk about Maharashtrian food, Goan food and even dishes of Haryana.

"I recently went to Uttarakhand and found that the ingredients used in the food there were so different. There are so many things that we are not even aware about and I would ensure that it comes forth and people get to know about them," he added.

When it comes to cooking international cuisines, people often get intimidated by the ingredients used in them. "Firangi Tadka" will show people how to cook them with Indian ingredients. Whereas, "Filmi Dabba" will see Bollywood celebrities sharing their favourite recipes with the masses.

Sanjeev's new channel also has many things to offer to health-conscious people.

"People have become health-conscious. Earlier, they used to cook in normal oil and now they ask for olive oil. I have seen that people are more concerned about health, and hygiene has also become very important for them," he said.

"They are concerned about the quality of ingredients used in food. Even when they go to restaurants, they look for authentic food. We hope to be instrumental in changing how India looks at food," he added.

Apart from Sanjeev Kapoor's channel that went on air Jan 24, Zee Network has launched a 24X7 food channel "Zee Khana Khazana"; Alva Brothers Entertainment too is planning to launch a bouquet of lifestyle channels, the first of which will be a dedicated food channel "FOOD First".

How does Sanjeev look at the competition?

"There's no competition. Food is something that binds everybody together. I think more and more people who are coming in this category would make sure that this category grows. We want to contribute and share, and not compete," he said.

"Whatever money I had, I put into this and I am really excited because 'Food Food' is something which is pathbreaking in Indian media," he added.

(Priyanka Sharma can be contacted at priyanka.s@ians.in)

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