A Taste of Passion With Jiggs and Zorawar Kalra
How do you pick your chefs?
“We don’t want to be too focused on having superstar chefs. We want to be like Germany. German football did not have Lionel Messi or Ronaldo or any big star right? But they had a team that won the World Cup. I want a team of stars…where everybody does their job and wins.”
What were the usual meals at home like?
“A lot of it used to be standard fare like dal, sabzi, chicken curry, chawal. It was a house of foodies and my dadi was a great cook. Her rista kofta is my favourite dish in the whole world. She would pound the meat for literally the whole day, and then make it the next morning for lunch.”
Did you go food tasting with your father?
“He took us all over the world. We went to all the best restaurants, ate at the best places within the country and outside. We had an annual vacation, which revolved completely around restaurants. I remember in class 10, which must have been in 1993, all of us went to Scotland and Wales and stayed at about eight to nine bed and breakfasts.”
What according to you is the power of good food?
“It can end wars. All the best discussions happen over food. Food is more than just sustenance, it can build communities.”
A taste that still lingers?
“Gourmet omelettes made by my dad. He would use the best cheeses, and all types of meats — which made them calorie bombs. He would make them only on Sundays.”
What according to you is a power ingredient?
“Love and salt!”
What is the biggest criticism you have faced?
“People said that I was living in my father’s shadow! No longer can anyone say that because these are concepts that I have created.”
What do you think is your greatest achievement?
“That, I would say, is the fact that we have made Indian food cool again.”
Metaphorically speaking, my interaction with the Kalras was like a good meal, the kind that gives you a sense of well-being. What lingers is the passion that two people share, spending their lives serving it, whether in a spoon or on a skewer. I’m going to let Jiggs have the last word, because when I ask him what success is, he whispers, “When I see my books full of ghee marks, and I know that someone is cooking out of those books!”
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