Moshpits, double bass drums, and lightning fast riffs might have nothing to do with a bowl of spicy chicken curry, but metal veteran Sahil Makhija has successfully managed to marry the two. His online cooking show, Headbanger’s Kitchen, features metal acts, both Indian and international, digging into Makhija’s home-cooked delicacies. The format of the show is simple; first he takes the viewer through the making of the dish, which is followed by an interview with a band, and finally Makhija with his guests pig out on the food, with metal as the background score throughout.
For the third season, which begins on April 10, Makhija decided to get his fans to help him out. Looking to raise Rs 2,50,000 through an online crowdfunding website, Makhija collected close to Rs 40,000 more than he had asked for.
This is surprising when you take into account that most metal fans, and hence fans of his show, are college students who don’t have much disposable income. “We have a dedicated group of people who follow the show. I know there are metalheads who watch it for the interview with the band, but there are also those who watch it for the food. Some even get their mothers to watch it with them,” says Makhija, with a laugh.
The show’s popularity is surprising because the Indian music scene in this particular genre is unforgiving about anything that is perceived to be “un-metal”. But Makhija believes that cooking is integral to the music. “Cooking is not a big deal abroad. In fact, most metal fests have a barbeque culture where you eat, drink beer and listen to metal. When I started two years ago, there wouldn’t be a single picture of food on my Facebook timeline. Now, it is flooded with those,” he says.
Makhija’s love for cooking, however, precedes his passion for metal; one of his childhood dreams was to have a restaurant of his own. He would watch cookery shows as a pastime and thought it would be fun to shoot one of his own. This was about the time YouTube became big. So when Makhija started thinking of ideas of how to shoot the web show, he decided to merge his passion for food with his love for metal. “I used to share recipes and photographs of the dishes I cooked on Facebook. People loved that so I took it forward with the web show,” says Makhija.
The third season will have 12 episodes, with a few additional band interview videos. Other than inventive dishes, Makhija also has interesting names for them, inspired by the bands he features. So the Bhayanak Bacon Bomb, a devastating chunk of bacon with a side of mash potatoes, was named after the band Bhayanak Maut, or the spaghetti with meatballs he cooked for the band Zygnema, was named Spaghetti 59, after one of their songs. Expect many more such “brutal” names this season.