Celebrity chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Asma Khan served up the traditional Rozi Roti and Paneer Korma, seasoned with valuable tips, at a one-of-a-kind session organised by the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM) and the Indo-British Scholars’ Association (IBSA), in collaboration with the Young Leader’s Forum (YLF), on January 21, 2022.
Bridging Cultures through Cuisine: A Masterclass with Chef Asma Khan was a hybrid session that saw more than 400 students from across IIHM schools and IBSA members participate. Chef Khan cooked up a storm at the IIHM Global Campus kitchen in Salt Lake, Kolkata, while the students logged in from their homes.
“Today’s masterclass was very useful for the students. They got a different perspective on Indian food. Indian food is cooked all over the world differently. Chef Asma Khan’s way of cooking is different and that interested the students. They can now experiment with the different cooking styles of Indian cuisine. These events are the best way for students to learn. They see the chefs cooking and imparting knowledge live. You get to meet people from the industry running successful businesses, hotels, restaurants, not just in India but all over the world,” said Suborno Bose, chairman and chief executive officer, IIHM and Indismart Group Worldwide, who was present on the campus along with Nick Low, the British deputy high commissioner.
Apart from cooking, the one-hour session saw chef Khan talk about reviving traditional recipes and flavours while giving away tricks of the trade.
In Chef Asma Khan’s own words:
On challenges faced while establishing herself as a restaurateur
I liked the confidence I had while thinking of opening a restaurant because back in 2015 you hardly saw anyone like me… someone who did not have culinary training, who wasn’t a professional chef. But I think once I overcame my insecurities. I fought my battles. Once I decided I wanted it, it was tough but I managed it.
On balancing recipes and gut feeling
I was taught without written recipes and I recreated them in different environments. I think the difference is you cook from the heart. When I am cooking from within, I’m not looking at the timing, I’m cooking with my senses, the aromas that come are in my memory and soul. I smell the aromas and I know the textures and the taste. This is why in every environment I can recreate it.
On emerging trends in culinary arts
There is a big movement towards modern and progressive cuisine. For me, fusion food is confusion food. (laughs) It is very important to keep rooted in what cuisine you are cooking. I know a lot of people who keep experimenting. I think it’s great to be creative. I will not do that because I’m not cooking for headlines.
On sustainable changes in the future of culinary arts
Our culture has a very strong element of being sustainable and not wasting. You will never find a more careful and frugal cook than a housewife. I think we have always been sustainable and cooked very carefully. We had the idea that food was based on festivals, harvests and seasons. From my personal experience, in my restaurant everything that I cook is British. The only things we get in Europe are the aubergine and herbs.