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Updated: October 25, 2013 21:11 IST

Snapshot of culture

Harshini Vakkalanka
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Ever evolving: Aditya Bal
Ever evolving: Aditya Bal

Model-turned chef and TV show host Aditya Bal says every dish has a history; it speaks about a country and its history

After the frenzy of fancy restaurant cooking with shows such as Masterchef Australia, food programming now seems to be offering cooking solutions to the masses. Aditya Bal, of Chakh-Le India (recently, Kaccha Rasta) fame is doing just that through his latest show Bachelor’s Kitchen.

The show promises to feature easy to cook recipes, put together by Bal, that save time. “Each episode has a theme, for instance, healthy cooking or cooking to impress. My recipes are inspired by books I have read, online recipes and home cooking, often using ingredients that are always around,” says Aditya over telephone.

“The show also offers ideas for people who want to cook but don’t have time. One simple idea, is to cook in larger batches that you can keep in the fridge, like marinades or salads. And one of our recipes is butter chicken biryani that can be made from leftover chicken and rice, or a spaghetti sandwich with vegetables.”

Aditya himself started off as a home cook, experimenting in his free time as a model. “I was between projects and I wanted to do something productive. Besides I needed to feed myself. So I thought why not cook, instead of ordering in all the time. I enjoyed it from the outset, I realized I could understand it instinctively. And after three months, I decided to become a chef and cook for a living.

And the show reflects Aditya’s evolution as a self-taught chef, beginning from home then moving to a restaurant and finally hosting a TV show. Despite having grown so much, he says, learning never stops. “One never stops having to go back to the basics. There are so many flavours, so many ways of cooking, so one has to keep it simple each time and stick to the fundamentals.”

There are plenty of opportunities for those passionate about food. “But being passionate about food and being passionate about cooking are two different things. Passion for food can be about eating and trying new flavours. But cooking is a basic skill of the hands. Those who want to take their interest up a notch could start a home kitchen service, open a café, work in a restaurant or a bakery. Those interested in food can look at travelling or blogging, food photography, even food styling.”

Food shows on television in India, are now basking in the growing interest in food.

“People are not able to understand how food is made, what it takes to put out an order. because people think food magically appears on their plates in restaurants. So they are now learning to understand and appreciate the art and profession of cooking.”

“Food programming is here to stay. Food is also a snapshot of culture, it’s the first thing one encounters. Every dish has a history, it speaks about the country, its history, its trade and its agriculture and it is amazing. It is what draws people to such a variety of food programming.”

And for those who to want to make cooking a part of their lives, Aditya show how. “Healthy cooking, is a fillet of fish pan fried with salt, pepper and olive oil and put together with some cheery tomatoes and a side salad. It takes just seven minutes to make. It is healthy, it looks good and is tasty.”

“One can buy large portions of fresh fish at the fishmonger’s, wrap it in cling film and put it away in the fridge to be used over a few weeks. It cuts down time in the kitchen because one doesn’t have to start from scratch and it will not seem like such a chore.”

Cooking and eating good food, according to him is a matter of being organized. “Then you’ll find that you can churn out great food regularly, with no sweat.”

Bachelor’s Kitchen airs on NDTV Good Times every Friday at 8 30 p.m.

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