A Taste of Passion With Jiggs and Zorawar Kalra | Verve Magazine - Part 2
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Wine & Dine
November 21, 2015

A Taste of Passion With Jiggs and Zorawar Kalra

Text by Wyanet Vaz

From food columns to home-made omelettes, gourmet vacations to molecular gastronomy, the father-son duo of Jiggs and Zorawar Kalra serve up a menu of sepia-toned memories

Despite his eternal love for food, especially tandoori flavours, Jiggs says that he would never put his hand inside a tandoor. However, he does flaunt his expertise when it comes to marination. All the delicacies he has created, he admits, have been perfected with their chefs. At this point, he tells me about a particular balchao naan that he has created. “The Goans would probably squirm, wondering what’s a ‘balchao’ naan?” When I tell him that I am Goan, and this has obviously left me flustered, a waiter is quickly summoned and a platter of delicious-looking prawn balchao kulchas are left at my disposal.  My taste buds did a backflip and I recommend that every balchao lover try out this potpourri of sorts.

Jiggs now gives our food banter a break and instead we go down the narrow alleys of his life as a writer. He tells me about his stint at The Illustrated Weekly of India and his then editor, Khushwant Singh. “He would come in and say, ‘Hey guys have you heard this one?’ and crack a sardar joke, and we would burst into laughter!”

And finally, I ask him how it all began. “It happened by error. Once we were asked in school what hobby we would like to take up. And I said ‘cooking food’. My father who was a soldier threw this one-liner at me, ‘Why do you want to become a bawarchi?’ Only when he saw my columns appearing regularly and when later his own friends told him about his son being a cooking star, he started saving every food-related story from the newspapers. He had done a 360 degree turn.”

Taking off from his inventive food columns, Jiggs has opened various restaurants across the country, like Punjab Grill, Made in Punjab, Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra, Farzi Café and the  newest venture Pa Pa Ya. But he says that this would never have been possible without the consistent efforts of his son Zorawar, who loves to eat! “He had the sensibility to experiment with molecular gastronomy in India.” As Jiggs signs off knowing that the baton has been passed on to efficient hands, I was left to meet Zorawar, the next in this food relay.

In a quick téte-â-téte with Zorawar Kalra…..

What was it like growing up with a father who is a foodie?
“One, growing up in a house like his, it was naturally all about food. Secondly, growing up in a Punjabi household is anyway all about food. So, at lunch we would discuss dinner, and at dinner we would discuss the next day’s breakfast.”

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