In a career spanning more than a decade, MasterChef India-fame chef Kunal Kapoor has won numerous culinary awards and has also been recognised as one of the best chefs in India by a national magazine.
An alumnus of Institute of Hotel Management (IHM), Sector 42, Kapoor is a pioneer in managing speciality restaurants with his passion and flair for cooking.
Remembering his IHM days as "three years' paid holiday", the chef relives, "those were the best years and that too sponsored by parents! I want to thank all my lecturers at IHM who made Kunal Kapoor what he is today."
Currently executive chef at Diya, restaurant at Leela Kempinski, Gurgaon, he has also worked as head chef at Made in India restaurant at Radisson Hotel in Noida.
About his teacher, chef Vinod Sidhu, whose bakery Vinnie's - the Artisan Bakers (in Sector 34) he inaugurated in Sector 34, Kapoor says, "It's overwhelming to inaugurate sir's bakery-cum-café, he is a maestro in baking and I have learnt the basics of bakery from him."
"I being the naughtiest of the batch, got a lot of scolding from him," smiles the chef who has an in-depth understanding of North-West Frontier, Punjabi, Awadhi, Dakshin, Italian and European cuisines and super specialisation in Indian curries and kebabs. Talking about Indian cuisine, he beams, "It is the most complex and the most difficult to cook. The reason behind this is that it demands a lot of ingredients unlike other cuisines. The best thing which has happened to India is that the world is open to its cuisines."
Kapoor along with actor Akshay Kumar and chef Ajay Chopra judged the season 1 of MasterChef India on Star Plus in 2010; he was also a judge for season 2 of the reality show.
Calling himself a hardcore Punjabi, Kapoor says, "Growing up in a Punjabi joint family in Delhi, it was normal seeing men in the kitchen on Sundays," Kapoor traces the passion.
However, Kapoor says that it's a misconception that men are better cooks than women. "All the big names in the culinary world are that of men; unfortunately women, who are the best food makers, do not get the prominence. Most of the Indian families still do not encourage girls to become professional cooks."
While he will be judging season 3 of MasterChef, Kapoor also plans to open his own restaurant in Kuwait.