Celebrity chef Saransh Goila’s first tryst with the apron came at the age of 12, when he made jalebis for his family members. Inspired by his mother’s cooking styles, the 28-year-old was always passionate about the culinary field. Little did he know that, that the simple dishes he cooked at home with his mom would pave way for full-fledged dinners and functions.
For someone who rose to fame with his TV show ‘Roti, Raasta aur India’ on Food Food Channel, the chef travelled 20,000kms of India by road over a span of 100 days. And well, travelling the length and breadth of his home country to explore the Indian cuisine surely called for recording the experience not only visually but also in words. In Chandigarh to launch his debut book, ‘India On My Platter’, HT spoke to the talented youngster about his travel stories in the region particularly and what he describes as ‘more than just a recipe book’.
A book about his travel stories, recipes, food tales and adventures around the country, Saransh shared that it changed his outlook as a chef. While his tour started from his hometown Delhi, up north to Leh, Ladakh, Manali, to Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, it moved west to Rajasthan, followed by Mumbai (where he currently resides), Lucknow, Goa and down south to Karnataka, Kerela, Hyderabad and finally the North-East- Assam, Sikkim and others.
While he feels Hyderabad and Lucknow are celebrated food destinations in the country, he explains Anandpur Sahib as a ‘life-changing’ experience. “I was absolutely amazed by the quantity of the food that is prepared on a daily basis here. About 20,000 meals are prepared every day and I think 8 of me could fit into one kadhai in which they cook the dishes,” he laughed. “Making 200kgs of dal every day and ensuring that it tastes as delicious each time is not an easy task and even though I tried my hand at it, I failed as one requires a skill to do so. I actually asked the skinny man who was assigned this duty and he said ‘this is God’s house and hence nothing can go wrong’. How can anyone debate that,” adds Saransh.
As if that were not enough, his college-time best friend who happens to be a Chandigarh resident made Saransh’s stay in the city quite memorable. “My friend would get the most sumptuous Chicken pickle to college and we all would wait to finish it off. His dad makes really nice pickles- be it karela, chicken or any other so we visited their house in Manimajra during the trip and learnt how to cook three or four varieties of pickle,” he said. The experience of having mutton from the same plate with three other men in Kashmir as part of a tradition during Eid, was no less for the food preparer. Be it spending time with a family in Kullu or having the ‘tastiest milk’ in Karnal or encouraging aspiring culinary experts at Gurdaspur’s IHM Institute to believe in their passion, it’s been a dream come true for the cook who also wanted to travel and document the diversity of Indian food.
“I think it’s the best time for aspiring chefs to turn their dreams into reality as many more specialised courses, culinary colleges are being introduced and salaries have become much-much better today,” said Saransh, who is an IHM Aurangabad pass out himself. The chef can’t help but also share his experience with Harpreet Singh’s family in Amritsar’s Attari village which is known for rice cultivation. “It was inspiring to see how a young BA pass would walk to college, return, help his father with paddy cultivation and not complain. His mother cooked amazing food for my entire crew. The hospitality makes this realm all the more enjoyable,” shared the food enthusiast.
PAANCH KA TADKA
Saransh Goila’s favourite North-Indian delicacies:
1) Butter chicken
3) Rajma chawal
4) Paranthas ( aloo/pyaas)
5) Lassi and jaljeera