By Ruchira Hoon
Saransh Goila was merely 12-years-old when he figured that he loved to cook. “I would see my grandfather in the kitchen all the time and was completely intrigued at what all he could do,” says this 28-year-old celebrity chef. “That’s when I started experimenting in the kitchen. I’d make rotis, breads and parathas of all kinds and delight my family.”
But his most vivid memory is that of his grandfather’s Khade Masale wala Dum Aloo. From the mountains, Nainital to be specific, Saransh’s grandfather loved making Pahadi food. “It was almost like a monthly ritual. He’d go to the market, pick out ingredients and then cook. Watching him made me want to cook.”
Soon, in his extended family, he became the “boy who cooks” and wherever he went people would keep a few ingredients out for him to cook for them. “By then I was already watching Sanjeev Kapoor’s shows, culminating recipes I like and was more or less set on being a TV food show host,” he adds.
Torn between wanting to be an actor or a chef, he went on to do a degree in Culinary Arts from Institute of Hotel Management in Aurangabad and worked with the Indian restaurant Jamawar at The Leela in Bangalore. But he quit a year later to do a 6-month acting course with Barry John in Mumbai.
Several food styling assignments with Prahlad Kakkar later, Saransh decided to move back to Delhi to open a theme-based catering company called Say Chef but he wrapped that up a year later in order to do a course in Food Journalism in 2011. “Two things happened at that point. One, my visa was rejected and two, I had auditioned for Sanjeev Kapoor’s reality show Maha Challenge on Food Food,” he says. “I participated in the show, won and bagged the food travel show – Roti, Rasta and India.”
By then people had started identifying with the journey Saransh had undertaken and he started receiving critical acclaim. And he penned his first book – India on a Platter, which has taken him across the globe.
Currently he’s working on a home delivery venture in Mumbai which will serve his signature dishes. “I felt this model would be way better than launching my own restaurant. People across the city will get to eat what I cook and if it does well, I will bring it to NCR.”
So what are the five mantras that every foodie should live by?
- Always have eggs in your fridge. They come in handy at every situation. Ever so versatile you can toss the eggs with veggies, use them to bind, coat, bake. Basically they are brilliant.
- Eat seasonal. Go to the market and see what’s there and cook accordingly. Especially in the winters when the produce is plentiful and delicious.
- Invest in an Oven Toaster Grill. It’s way better than any other gadget and you can make a lot of things in it.
- Bake instead of deep fry. Baste the product with a bit of fat though – oil, ghee or butter and it’ll retain the flavor yet be lower in fat.