Raushan (second from left) with chef Kunal Kapur and other contestants on the sets of Amul Junior Masterchef Swaad ke Ustaad. Telegraph picture
Is 11-year-old Raushan your swaad ke ustaad on Junior Masterchef?
If Class V grader from PN Memorial Plus Two High School in Dhanbad is cooking up a storm on national television at the junior version of the global cookery reality show franchise Masterchef, his yummy journey has unusual ingredients.
Raushan started cooking at home four years ago when his father Shankar Sao, a small-time tailor, started leaving home at 5am, wife Alpana in tow as his working partner.
Raushan and his two siblings, Mausam, now 15 and Piyush, now 9, were left to their own devices.
Mausam, being the eldest, started cooking, with Raushan as her helper. Then, they discovered Raushan cooked way better than his sister. His brother and sister at home lapped up whatever he dished out.
“I never thought in my wildest dreams that our leaving the house early would pave the way for my son becoming a TV celebrity as a junior chef,” grinned Sao, wonder-struck.
When Amul Junior Masterchef Swaad Ke Ustaad was announced, Raushan auditioned in Calcutta. Among the 70,000 children across the country to do so, Raushan finally made it in the top 36.
Currently being aired on Saturday and Sunday from 9pm, the one-hour show debuted on August 17 with a stupendous viewership.
It is the first brush with glamour for the Saos, who stay at Mukunda, 10km from district headquarters.
“We migrated from ancestral place in Barhi under Chauparan area, Hazaribagh, some 10 years back. Then, we set up a tailoring shop at Kusmatand here in Dhanbad. It’s the only tailoring shop in the area and we’re really rushed before festivals,” the father said.
That’s why his wife Alpana had to tag along.
“As I can’t afford to keep employees, my wife has to help me,” Sao said.
He admitted that if his wife stayed at home, she would have cooked for the children. Raushan would have never had the chance to discover his creative ladle.
“Mausam learnt cooking from her mother. Raushan surpassed her. Plus, my daughter who’s in Class IX now, is excellent in studies and very serious about it as well, which Raushan isn’t. So they swapped roles at home. Mausam studied while Raushan cooked, though she insisted on helping him,” said the father.
Gradually, the parents realised their son was a born cook.
“I love his kheer, Alpana raves over his pulao. Mausam and Piyush relish his paratha and parval ki sabzi,” said Sao about the junior chef’s finger-licking delights.
Right now, mother Alpana is in Mumbai with Raushan for the shoot. Sao, Mausam and Piyush watch Junior Masterchef episodes avidly and speak to the duo over phone every evening.
“Raushan watched every episode of Amul Masterchef (for adults). Imagine our delight when he was selected for the show’s junior version after the audition in Calcutta earlier this year,” said Sao.
If Mausam and Piyush took the place of show judges Vikas Khanna, Kunal Kapur and Surjan Singh Jolly, Raushan would be a winner hands down. The brother-sister duo are his biggest fans. “I love whatever he cooks,” Mausam said.
“My brother is the best cook in the world,” chimed in Piyush.