After a point in time, when you have explored TV shows on food and cooked a lot, you discover a different side to yourself,” says celebrity chef Ranveer Brar, who has 20 years of experience in the food industry.
With the thought of “expressing himself” in mind, Brar penned his first book, Come Into My Kitchen, which officially releases today (November 4).
“The book was a great way to express, what I believe, is my unique style of cooking. I was not worried about what people would think. I played around with flavours, had fun, made mistakes, and at the end of it, tried to bring the world together on a plate,” he says.
Brar’s book walks you through his early days — from watching food being cooked at langars (a community meal) to being forced to cook there. The farm-to-fork concept, which has gained popularity today, was the only way of eating at that time.
His book also transports one to the crowded lanes of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, where Ustad Munir Ahmed, the oldest kebab vendor in the city, was based. Brar left the comforts of his home to learn the craft of cooking from him, and since then, there was no looking back.
Brar touches upon an interesting concept called Ranveer’s Hierarchy of Taste, which is his take on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory. “For any dish to self-actualise and become perfect, there is a certain process that needs to be followed; a certain need that should be fulfilled when it comes to the five elements — the taste, texture, flavour, appearance and aroma of the dish,” he says. The idea was to break down cooking techniques and principles to make it easy for readers to understand.
Where to draw the line?
Brar points out that the fourth element, which is appearance, is as important as the taste of a dish. However, at a time when restaurants are serving drinks in hats and pizzas on long play records, we ask him if eateries are getting too experimental for comfort, and he says, “The thing about innovation is, where do you stop? There are movements across the world where people are asking restaurateurs to bring back the regular plate. So, yes, we are fed up of drinking out of shoes and eating out of hats,” he says. The chef is quick to add that it is the “responsibility of senior industry people to draw the line somewhere”.
East meets west
About six months ago, Brar opened his first eatery in Mumbai, English Vinglish. It is a patisserie in Juhu that adds a western touch to Indian desserts. Several other restaurants in the city also serve fusion food. However, Brar feels the fusion food that is served today is very different from what it was a few years ago.
“Earlier, chefs had limited exposure. However, today they are genuinely travelling and discovering different cuisines,” he says. In fact, Brar feels that ‘fusion’ is the wrong word to use for such food. “These dishes are mostly inspired [by a lot of different cuisines]. For example, if you cook salmon on the tandoor, the marination will have a regional touch. But that doesn’t make it a fusion dish,” he adds.
The chef is all set to put Indian cuisine on the world map with his new restaurant, Mayura by Chef Ranveer Brar, in Canada, and another eatery called TAG by Ranveer in Mumbai. However, Brar confidently states that his “best food creation is yet to come”.