Ranveer Brar discusses his ideas on food while he was present at a city mall for a gastronomical affair organised in association with French cookware brand Le Creuset.
Which was the first dish that you learned to cook?
Meetha chawal or sweet rice was my first dish. We used to cook sweet rice in Langar.
Who has been your inspiration throughout your journey?
Well, there have been different people at different times. When you are growing up, your inspiration is always your grandmother. Then when you reach the community level, it is the street side cook. There was a kebab vendor called Maneer Ahmed, who I worked with for 8 months on the streets of Lucknow.
Which dish takes you back to childhood?
Khichdi. It always reminds me of my childhood as my mother made this dish quite often while I was growing up.
Which is your favourite cuisine?
Italian, it is a favourite, for both, cooking and eating. I also love Lucknowi.
Was it challenging for you to pursue a career in cooking?
Initially, yes. It was challenging as it was not the most glamorous profession to choose back then. Firstly, people did not understand it and even when they did, they did not know how to handle that knowledge. 1993 mein kisko pata tha chef kya hota hai... It took time for people to start accepting this as a profession. Back in the time, even Sanjeev Kapoor was not that well known. But eventually, my family supported me.
What is your take on fusion food?
There was a time and stage for fusion food. I don’t think any good chef cooks fusion food anymore. What we do is inspired cuisine. Fusion food was matching up of flavours, without any inspiration. What you get these days is inspired cuisine, fusion as a word is just stuck. A lot of chefs are travelling these days for inspiration. If I go to Peru and get inspired and want to cook something from Peru here in India with our native ingredients, can I not do it? That is how one creates inspired cuisine...
How important is dressing/decoration to you when it comes to food?
Well, food is like a pyramid. There is taste at the bottom, then flavour, texture, aroma and appearance. Being right at the top, appearance is only a small part of the pyramid but it is very important to complete the pyramid. It is just five per cent of the food but at the same time, the most important five per cent.
What are your thoughts on Indian reality shows on food?
I think TV is a great medium to start discussions on food. Khane ki baat ho rahi hai, kisi bhi form mein ho rahi hai to achha hai. Food is a sphere; we have food media, bloggers, food brands and chefs. Everybody is a part of that sphere and they need to grow together. You cannot have only one part growing, so the whole ecosystem needs to grow together. Whatever is happening on television is great, it is keeping food in conversation. At the end of the day, it is about consumption. We live in a world where if something does not make business sense, it cannot survive. It will only make business sense when the content gets consumed. Content represents sentiment.
Which is that one ingredient that you cannot do away with?
Every time you come into my kitchen you will find something green, spinach or some other leafy vegetable. Green is core to my cooking.