Exclusive: Celebrity chef Kunal Kapur reveals his favourite dish, opens up on key trends in the culinary space! | Web Series News

New Delhi: With a successful execution of Bakers’ Studio Season 1, Alpenliebe, Juzt Jelly, India’s largest jelly brand from the house Perfetti Van Melle India is back with Bakers’ Studio Season 2 in association with Zee Entertainment and will be going live from 27th November 2022. The show aims to discover outstanding new baking talent in India, rewarding the winners with the title of Alpenliebe Juzt Jelly’s Chef Ambassadors for the following year. 

The all-new season of the Alpenliebe Juzt Jelly Baker’s Studio will be hosted by celebrated chefs Amrita Raichand and Kunal Kapur. This year, the hunt for India’s biggest Family Baker is set to be more exciting, as the show will feature popular artists from ZEE’s renowned shows participating and cheering up the contestants.

In an exclusive conversation with Zee News Online, chef Kunal Kapur opened up on his journey and challenges.

Ques: Tell us a little bit about your culinary journey so far.

Ans: For many of us, our greatest influence and inspiration to cook has been our mothers. While I was growing up, I used to spend a considerable amount of time with my mother who dedicated most of her time to the kitchen. Plus, I hail from a Punjabi family where our kitchens were always bustling with both men and women in our family creating a range of meals. Also, they used to encourage both boys and girls to learn the art of cooking.

So, I was predisposed to cooking but I never gave it a serious thought because back in the day, cooking wasn’t considered a dedicated profession. As I grew up, my parents insisted me to take up commerce as a major but somehow, I knew that cooking was my actual calling. And therefore, I look up hotel management course to understand the nuances of hospitality, hotel management and most importantly kitchen better. I wouldn’t say that I was the brightest student in my batch, but I definitely knew my way around the kitchen better than many.

And rest, as they say, is history! 

Ques: What is your favourite cuisine that you can’t get enough of?

Ans: I don’t like to put boundaries around food. Food is supposed to be relished irrespective of the cuisine. But if you were to pin me down, I’d have to say ‘ghar ka khana’. Nothing beats the simplicity of home-cooked meals. Like I absolutely love my father’s homemade mutton curry, my mother is a vegetarian and I love her vegetarian preparations, and my uncle cooks the best chicken and paneer dishes. Over the years, I have also started enjoying cooking the vegetables which normally get overlooked and are frowned upon in our families, like bottle gourd or brinjal. 

Ques: What are the key trends in the culinary space right now?

Ans: I was asked this question nearly five years back too and my response will be no different from what I had said before. Regional food has come to the fore and how. One look at our social media feeds and you’ll see a variety of regional cooking channels and chefs finally getting their due. And why not? India is so diverse and there’s a range of dishes to choose from. So, there’s definitely a sense of renewed pride for the homeland and consumers are also seeking diversity in regional cuisine concepts that offer rich nutrients and flavours. Whether it is Bihar’s daal ki dulhan, Sheer Khurma or Indore’s poha. What these regional restaurants are selling is the nostalgia attached to the dishes, which is here to stay. 

Ques: What is the next big thing you are working on?

Ans: Currently, I am super excited about my first restaurant ‘Pincode’ which is scheduled to open in Dubai in the last week of December. It is a labor of love, and I cannot wait to bring this project to life.  

Ques: You will be donning the judges hat for Baker’s Studio Season 2. How do you plan to approach the show?

Ans: Many of us turned to pursuing our hobbies including baking during the pandemic. During this time, in the average household, the understanding of baking and confectionery products really went up. So, when this opportunity came my way, I was really keen to see the diversity of baking talents in the country and how innovative bakers have become in the recent past. With Zee X Alpenliebe Juzt Jelly Baker’s Studio, the contestants have a new challenge to make interesting renditions using Alpenliebe Juzt Jelly. The product has helped the contestants innovate because it is available in different flavors and shapes. The entire challenge in the show is to use the jelly in a creative way, and the versatility of the product allows one to bake with it or use it as icing or filling. 

In terms of my approach, I am really looking forward to the technique, skills, and final product because baking is all about precision and presentation. So good luck to all contestants, I am really looking forward to the show! 

Ques: Indian households have always enjoyed their meals with friends and families. Do you think food really brings families together? Given the varied taste buds across generations, how do you ensure the balance?

Ans: If we look down memory lane, most of our cherished memories surely had two things in common, one, our loved ones and second food that added soul to every fond memory of ours! In fact, some of my fondest memories growing up was our family dinners. I have seen families bond over meals and I’m sure will be an experience that finds resonance amongst many. The message of “Family mein masti chali” by Alpenliebe Juzt Jelly is a very relevant on considering that any family bonding activity is incomplete without food, especially in our country. 

Ques: Who is your role model in the industry?

Ans: Gordon Ramsay and Sanjeev Kapoor because their understanding of food is incredible. I have also started to appreciate small-town influencers and bloggers who promote ‘ghar ka khana’ and ‘gali ka khana’. As a chef, I have learned a lot from them. The way they prepare their dishes or give a twist to their recipes is mesmerising.

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