Celebrity chef Kiran Jethwa shares with Boski Gupta his experiences in the kitchen, outdoor cooking, love for experiments and more…
Kiran Jethwa is unlike most of us. While we would readily give an arm to stay away from the kitchen for life, Jethwa’s life revolves around kitchen. This Indian-origin celebrity chef knows all the hacks and tricks one needs to be on top of the game. Despite an owner of Seven Seafood & Grill chain, the chef likes to share his knowledge and love for food on small screen. He’s back with a new show on beverages and spirits on Fox Life. While on the show, Jethwa will travel and uncover unknown, unexplored beverages across India right from Kolkata to Goa; Sikkim to Varanasi; Nagaland to Nasik and more. Excerpts from an interview…
Your new show is all about drinks. Which is your favourite beverage?
My favourite alcohol beverage is a good independent craft beer made from independent breweries and micro-breweries. I love wine. It’s one of my greatest passions; I have incredible collection in my restaurant and across the world… White, red, sweet you name it depending on the occasion, depending on the food.
Is there an alcoholic beverage which can make any cocktail great?
Yeah, I think it has to be Vodka because it’s very neutrally flavoured alcohol which allows it to be used in many ways, sweet and savoury it smells strong enough, it does the job to get the buzz going.
What you think India as a country as wine drinkers?
We did not persuade on wine in India, we could see it’s definitely young and burgeoning industry and that is direct indication Indian people are really trying to understand the taste but still there’s a long way to go. Wine is one of the fantastic products on the planet. Cocktails is becoming favourite in drinking cultures in almost all metros. India is moving up for drinks.
What you think about the surge in the channels on food and travels?
There is surge but it’s not going away. Food and drinks are the greatest pleasures of life. We love to see about it, we love to immerse ourselves in it. People like to see what’s out there in the world, different things happening. I am very happy with the surge and demand for it. Our job is to make sure it’s represented properly.
Tell us your earliest food memory…
My earliest food memory is probably making a golden steam sponged pudding at home when I was around six-year-old. I love food from the young age. I remember a cooker, which lived with me forever.
What inspired you to become a chef? Did your parents found it odd when they came to know that you cook for your living?
My inspiration of becoming a chef is quite simple, it’s my love for food and my professional kitchen. I love the environment; you know the energy, creative opportunities so it all came together. It didn’t surprise my parents. They knew all along that I loved food. I loved been around the kitchen and that was all I talked. It was just natural progression.
What is your favourite cuisine in food?
I love Indian. I like Mexican and Thai too. This is one of the greatest wonder on our planet, we have such diverse and incredible food; it’s the greatest pleasure in the world. It’s impossible for me to say my favourite food but if you ask in category I would say sea food.
How close are you to Indian food?
I am very close to Indian food; it’s part of my culture, my heritage and I take a lot of influence from Indian food in my cooking and my style. I love to discover, eat, taste and try and experiment with that.
What do you think about the Indian cuisine? How is it different from others?
Indian cuisine is one of the greatest cuisines on the planet without question. What is amazing about it is that you can take so many ingredients and so many spices and yet it will be perfectly balanced dishes. If you put too much into a dish it can make it complicated. But some Indian dishes manage to put ingredients with perfect balance with incredible flavour. And hence it has a menu different from other cuisines.
Which country according to you is heaven for a foodie?
God! If I have to pick three, again I will choose India, without question, Mexico and Italy. But there are so many more. It’s really difficult to pick three. (chuckles)
You have a seafood restaurant, what are you planning for your next business?
I have enough business ventures going on right now so nothing planned, just refining and perfecting is now my mission.
How difficult or easy is for a chef to run his own restaurant?
It’s one of the toughest jobs I have ever experienced. It’s very demanding it’s also fun but it’s a tough industry. For a chef to run own restaurant you need to learn how to cook and also how to run a business. Most of the chefs just love to cook, the business side they don’t love it so much, thankfully I enjoy both sides so it’s okay for me.
How do you stay fit in spite being in a kitchen all time?
Well, it’s very simple. You maybe in the kitchen all day long eating and tasting but you also need to get out of the kitchen to exercise. Eat but also workout. I workout crazy till I burn all my excess calories. While I love to cook, I also enjoy working out. You need to understand what is going in your body and then make sure what amount of calories should be burnt. My mother used to say that we should have everything in moderation, so eat and enjoy but also exercise. And all will be fine. Dieting is okay in the short term but it’s not good as part of the lifestyle. We are human and we get tempted, but at the same time we should know where to stop.