If not a chef, I would have been a liability, says Manu Chandra | brunch$feature | Hindustan Times
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If not a chef, I would have been a liability, says Manu Chandra

Celebrity chef Manu Chandra admits that like most chefs he too is guilty of screaming and shouting in the kitchen

brunch Updated: Jul 10, 2017 11:22 IST
Veenu Singh
For Manu Chandra the best and worst thing about being a celebrity chef is that you are never really a celebrity!
For Manu Chandra the best and worst thing about being a celebrity chef is that you are never really a celebrity!(Nithin Sagi)
About Manu
  • Date of birth: October 1
  • Sun sign: Libra
  • Place of birth: Delhi
  • Hometown: Delhi
  • School/college:
  • The Mother’s International School, New Delhi/ St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and The Culinary Institute of America, New York
  • First break: As a chef in Café Turtle in Khan Market, New Delhi
  • High point of your life: Getting into St. Stephen’s College, since it used to be next to impossible at that time. Also, the joy it brought to the seniors in my family. 
  • Low point of your life: I think I hit that each time someone complains about their experience at one of my restaurants. It leads to an endless stream of depressive thoughts! 
  • Currently I am... Typing these replies on my smartphone between meetings and food trials, sipping on Chamomile tea (Gwen Stefani style). 

If not a chef, you would have been...?

A liability. 

Whatʼs the one thing you love about Indian food? 

It has soul, stories and emotions.

What would we find in your fridge right now? 

Tonic, cheese and chocolate. 

Have your cooking skills helped you woo women?

Unfortunately not. 

One recipe every man must know...?

Scrambled eggs. It’s known to save disastrous situations.  

Two things you can do better than cooking...?

Teaching people to cook and making them rethink their very reason for existing. 

Whatʼs the worst and the best thing about being a celebrity chef?

That you’re never really a celebrity!

Most chefs are known to be screaming and shouting in the kitchen. What are you like?

I’m like most chefs.

When did you first realise your love for cooking and what did you cook?

When I was about 10-11 years old, I think. It made Maggie noodles. 

Your favourite film based on food...?

The Big Night (1996).

If you were an ice cream, what flavour would you be and why?

Tahitian vanilla, because it’s hard to get! 

A dish you can never cook...?

Biryani, because some things are best left to others.

How often do you have your cake and eat it too (literally)?

Quite often. I think I’m a kleptomaniac in my own single-occupancy home with respect to pastry. 

A cookbook you swear by...?

Samaithu Paar, as I’m one-fourth Tam-Bram. 

The most versatile vegetable is…?

The potato, of course. Who goes ‘oooohhh’ after eating kale chips after all?!

What’s the most mouth-watering dish you have created for someone...?

We ran an experimental table where we served water mixed with a hint of malic acid. It makes people salivate! 

What had you cooked on your first date?

I think it was a chutney sandwich with bhujiya. It exists and is most excellent. 

Your greatest extravagance?

Art, I’m not materially aspirational.

Your strategy in a crisis?

Take ownership.

One thing about you that isn’t generally known?

That I’m not South Indian :)

The best dish someone created for you

At the expense of sounding clichéd, that would be when someone cooks with love.

How do you de-stress?

By binge watching TV shows, sipping on gin and tonic, and eating the most versatile vegetable in fried form.

My favourites
  • Food: Omelette pav 
  • Home-cooked meal: Mutton curry and rice 
  • Comfort food: Everything chow mein 
  • Cuisine: Korean currently  
  • Restaurant: Ristorante Groto De Corgnan in Valpolicella, Italy

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From HT Brunch, July 9, 2017

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