New Delhi, Aug 18: From drying charcoal to hand-grinding spices, chef Ranveer Brar, the host of Zee Khana Khazana's "Snack Attack", did all that as a beginner and feels it is high time the hard work and creativity involved in cooking gets recognition and appreciation.
"I think it is about time that the creativity, passion and the labour involved in cooking is recognised. Media has played its part in glamorising chef," Brar told IANS.
The profession might be seen as a glamorous one by many, but that's not true most of the time, especially when you are a fresher.
"There were regular industry challenges like tough menial jobs. Drying charcoal, hand-grinding spices, and washing pots were some of the jobs that I had to do," he said while remembering the obstacles he had to face when he started off.
Brar, who has worked with hotels like the Taj group, The Oberoi, The Claridges and many more, had a hard time convincing his parents.
"I told them at the age of 16 that I didn't want to study. I was interested in cooking. This was met with a lot of resistance for two reasons - one, because I would have been the first in the family who wouldn't have graduated and two, because I would be the first 'bawarchi' (cook) in the family," said Brar whose parents later understood that cooking was his calling.
If he did a diploma course at the Institute of Hotel Management in Lucknow, he learned valuable lessons by working with street vendors in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
"I learnt on the streets of Lucknow with a kebab vendor by the name of Munir Ahmed. The street food there inspired me to be a chef," said the chef who prepared his first dish when he was 12 years old.
He may be a perfectionist now, but Brar threw quite a few dishes in the bin when they didn't turn out the way he expected them to be.
Talking about the experiments he did, Brar said: "There are dishes that involve a heavy interplay of flavours. A lot of times I imagined flavours marrying well, but they turn out to be a disastrous combination.
"I had a lot of such dishes that didn't work out like when I combined Asian and French flavours in Boston for my restaurant Banq. Scallops with moong risotto was one, Darjeeling tea crusted swordfish was another," he said.
He is currently working with The Novotel in Mumbai as a Senior Executive Chef. Asked him about the tips to make a restaurant run successfully, he said that a clear financial projection, business acumen, great location and the best food are required.
Customers are equally important. Social media and food review websites have to be closely monitored too, he added.