A television and digital star, one of India's best chefs as well as judge of India’s famous reality show MasterChef India. Ranveer Brar has it all. But where and how did he make a start to his career as a chef? What humble backgrounds inspired him, where did he learn everything he knows about the trade? The Telegraph Online Edugraph caught up with him to find out these and other insights from the world renowned chef. Read on to know more..
Q. What were your expectations before you first entered the field and how has the journey been till now? Did it match your expectations, or did it differ?
RB: Truth be told, I entered the Culinary world with no expectations, but just the Love for everything food. As a young boy, when I would explore the streets and Street food of Lucknow, I would be fascinated with the ease with which the vendors would whip up their fare. One such was Munir Ustad who would go on to become my mentor later. The journey has been great so far with its fair share of ups and downs, achievements and lessons. As I always say, Food is a Giver. Today too, I choose to look at food as a medium of expression, a canvas, where I, as an artist, attempt to create art through cooking.
Q. At what age did you decide to become a chef?
RB: I was about 15 when I knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Q. Tell us a little about the time when you received your first hands on training?
Munir Ustad was my first Guru and a very unconventional one at that. There were no instructions, no written recipes, no formal training. I just had to learn on the job and by observing him. It was truly a life-changing experience because it taught me to cook with instinct and not scripted measures.
Q. What are your tips on modifying dishes for different age groups and regions?
RB: I feel, it’s up to the individual, really. I say that because there are adults who prefer spicy food and youngsters who might want to go low on oil and spice! But generically, as long as people are eating what suits their DNA, i.e, food they grew up eating, that would suit their diet best. I always vouch for local and seasonal. When you eat what grows around you, you automatically contribute to a sustainable ecosystem, as well.
Q. How can a young professional maintain consistency in delivering customer satisfaction?
RB: A mantra I have followed in my restaurant career is that it’s crucial to understand the demographics of where you are based. To understand not just the customer preferences but also the eating sensibilities and resources of that area and use those to create your interpretation via food. At the end of the day, quality is super important. Above all, it’s important to help the patrons create a connection with food. That’ll set your food apart from perhaps the same fare available elsewhere. And that’s what they will keep coming back for.
Q. What are some of the culinary trends that you see emerging?
RB: The growing love for and cognisance of regional and hyper local foods and food practices is quite encouraging. As people share more stories via digital media and local food groups, this trend is only set to become stronger.
Q. How would you describe an ideal kitchen team? Can you give us three of the best team building practices?
RB: Ideally, it’s best to hire local talent, people who understand the cuisine and more importantly, the flavours of that locale, i.e, of the regional cuisine you are looking to serve. It is also important to share your vision with the team, which instils in them a sense of pride and ownership for the tasks they are assigned. Trust is also important and is a 2-way street. You have to trust your team and likewise be there for them as a mentor and guide.
Q. What are you looking forward to doing in your career?
RB: Have my hands full as always! In addition to my food videos and brand commitments, I am involved in another film venture (more to be disclosed later) and Masterchef India Season 7 that’s due to start streaming soon.
Q. Lastly, what are the three essential tips you think a young student should follow to excel in his/her career as a chef?
RB: Sticking to basics is what I deem most important. It’s also important to understand the industry they are getting into. It’s necessary to understand the pros and cons, opportunities and threats, and basically immerse oneself into the industry. Additionally, for the first 5 years, one has to really persevere. Perseverance and persistence are key to get you to where you want to be.
People across the globe usually celebrate most major occasions with delicious food and choose restaurants based on great taste, quality and hygiene. Eventually, these are the things that ultimately define the success of a chef. And if you are someone who loves food and cooking, then why not make more out of it by becoming a professional chef?