No party at Sanjeev Kapoor’s place is ever complete without the chef whipping up something. “People expect me to cook,” says the celebrated chef, with his trademark smile. That’s why he has a separate cooking station adjoining his living room, apart from his kitchen. “That is not a bar area,” remarks Kapoor, spotting me eyeing the long counter thoughtfully. “This is a functional kitchen, with a sink, running water and an induction hob.” He adds, “Under the counter is where I keep my different gadgets, including a Sanjeev Kapoor tandoor, stone grill, coffee maker, smoothie maker, blender, tabletop barbecue and various pots and pans.”
Kapoor favours using gadgets and utensils that allow one to cut down on the use of oil, and make healthy, tasty food. “For instance, we had a dinner party at home the other day, and none of the 12 snacks we served were fried,” he explains. “That I think is what people are looking forward to more and more.”
As befits one of India’s best known chefs, Kapoor uses only the best equipment. I spot a set of Richardson Sheffield knives on his countertop. “They are classic chef knives – they have a warranty of something like 25 years,” he explains.
After a dekko at the first cooking area, we move into Kapoor’s kitchen. This is an impressive space, with an island hob unit, oven, microwave oven, and the kind of storage space you would expect to find in a walk-in closet, except that this is full of food and a vast array of ingredients. “Nothing is bought, everything is made,” says Kapoor, as he opens drawers and cupboards for me to gaze at the bounty within. And from each overseas trip, he returns with a wealth of new ingredients and gadgets to experiment with, like the pepper mill featured below.
A self-confessed gadget freak, Kapoor is planning a kitchen makeover. “This kitchen is already around six years old,” he explains. “Now I want to upgrade some of the equipment – for instance, I want to get an oven with a steam option.” And although he’s never happier than when trying out new gadgets, he has a warning for the rest of us. “Many people buy things and then just put them in a safe place, or get appliances with hundreds of attachments that they never use,” says Kapoor. “Don’t do that – only buy stuff you will use regularly.”
Five gadgets to have and hold
Good quality non-stick cookware: Even in good homes I see people using cookware of doubtful quality, and that may cause them a great deal of harm. With bad quality cookware, you don’t realise that you are eating the coating, which is toxic. If you buy pans of bad quality, they may be harmful even when they are new, because you may not know when the coating is starting to peel off. Also, with good quality non-stick cookware (like the Ballarini square pan, pictured above), you can get away with using less oil.
Mini chopper: This is an absolute delight to have – it takes the pain out of chopping onions and tomatoes.
A good set of knives: People don’t invest in this but that is wrong, because knives are used every day. Also, people do not realise that blunt knives are often the cause of accidents.
A coffee machine: A good coffee machine can convert a non coffee drinker into a coffee drinker and is a great way to indulge yourself.
A microwave plus convection oven: This helps in cooking healthier food. Along with it, invest in a good set of bakeware. The new ranges of silicon products do not require any oil, can be used in convection ovens, the freezer and microwaves, and are also very easy to clean.