Restaurateur Zorawar Kalra: 'I must admit that being Jiggs Kalra’s son was a little overwhelming start'

Zorawar Kalra has a brand for every age group and every taste. Here’s chatting with him about that

Shruti PanditUpdated: Sunday, August 28, 2022, 11:41 AM IST
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Zorawar Kalra has come a long way from being culinary legend Jiggs Kalra’s son. He has restaurant and cloud kitchen brands doing well in nine countries... And he is craving for more.

“I must admit that being Jiggs Kalra’s son was a little overwhelming start,” says Zorawar. “But it was his legacy that I was determined to take forward while discovering new roads.”

Masala Library, Zorawar’s first venture, was based on culinary expertise of Jiggs Kalra blended his own innovative techniques. Considered to be the father of molecular gastronomy in India, Zorawar went on to use his skill sets to launch a series of brands in India and abroad. While he was keen on experimenting with varied cuisines, he wanted to promote Indian cuisine as well.

“I wanted to promote Indian cuisine that will appeal to the youngsters… and that was the beginning of Farzi Café,” Zorawar says. “While doing that, I didn’t want the seniors to go away…”

Zorawar launched Pa Pa Ya, Bo-Thai, Swan… and his ride continued till Covid brought restaurant business to a screeching halt. What for many was a nightmare, was turned into an opportunity by

Zorawar. He launched Butter Delivery, a delivery service and cloud kitchen that focused on just a few items like Butter Chicken, Tandoori Chicken, Butter Dal, Butter Paneer, etc. This service was introduced in cities across the country. “I wanted to ensure that everyone gets their Butter Chicken wherever they are… stranded or at home. Also, another thing that I focused on was that the taste of the Butter Chicken was the same everywhere…”

He followed that with Louis Burger and Slyce Pizza. “Idea was to give people their favourites while they waited it out at home. We also added some interesting options in the burgers and pizzas to make their mouths water.”

Zorawar might be feeding burgers, pizzas and Butter Chicken to the foodies of the world, but he himself is a very conscious eater who avoids carbs and sticks to a healthy diet.

How come he has never ventured into introducing a healthy food menu in a restaurant or cloud kitchen? “We do have healthier options like Vegan or Jain in our restaurants. And… we are working on a healthy option brand as well. However, it’s a difficult proposition. One has to

ensure that while we use all the best, healthy ingredients… the food is appealing to the eye and the palate. It’s important that the food is tasty and interesting… and that’s the difficult part… to create healthy food that’s tasty. But we are working on it.”

Recently, Zorawar relaunched his YOUnion, a classy pub, in Mumbai. The place opened with a few décor changes and a whammy shots menu that offers more than 200 shots. What’s the philosophy

behind the name? “It’s a youth-oriented brand and it’s all about YOU… a place where you would love to hang out, have drinks, enjoy good food and chill alone or with friends… it’s your place…”

Zorawar is forever in a launch mode. His future plans include a Biryani by Jiggs Kalra — a restaurant that plays homage to his father and biryanis created by him, authentic Nalli

Nihari offering and many more… He has conquered nine countries, he wants to conquer more.

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