The Good Cookhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/the-good-cook/

The Good Cook

Through his new TV show,chef Sanjeev Kapoor is bringing Indian women and their kitchen skills to the fore

His father,who never shied from any household chore,eagerly helped out with housework and took as much pride in the kitchen as his mother left a lasting impression on chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s mind and shaped his personality and thinking. “It was an eyeopener watching my father work around the house — openly,not on the quiet. This sense of equality was liberating,” says the celebrated chef,who now uses his culinary expertise to empower the “much neglected and under appreciated” Indian woman. Now on the centrestage as

anchor and judge of Sony’s latest cooking reality show,Sanjeev Kapoor ke Kitchen Khiladi,Kapoor uses the platform to encourage Indian families,most importantly,the Indian housewife,in this cook-off with professional chefs.

“Often people ask me why we don’t have more women chefs in this country? We have,but unfortunately they don’t stick around for long because,no matter what profession a woman takes up,she is expected to manage the home,the kids and the family as well. Her career,which demands long hours,time and investment to reach the top,takes a backseat. So,women opt for financially equal but physically less demanding jobs,” says Kapoor. “Men,especially in this country,are not expected

to do any of this. They are seldom given the responsibility of home management,” he adds.

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The chef has been working towards changing this attitude,and adds that he has been “fighting for” women who cook.

“I know the value of food,of cooking,of looking after a home,of the homemaker who does it without any expectation,and I am also aware and saddened by the silent exploitation of women in our country. So,I use my skills to bring them to the fore,to celebrate them,to give them a platform to present their knowledge and talent,” he says.

It’s people in general that Kapoor gets inspired from,and draws insight and energy. “There are three religions in this country — Bollywood,cricket and food. While the first two have got enough space,it’s food I wish to showcase,” says Kapoor,explaining the reason for starting his 24-hour food channel,Food Food.

With Kitchen Khiladi,he is delivering home-style cooking,and creating the ‘I-can-do-this-too’ aspiration among the contestants. “About two-and-a-half years back,I had stated that food is going to be the next big thing in entertainment programming,and today it is,” says the chef,who recently launched another book,How to Cook Smart. “I’ve always believed that food is not niche. It is a specialty yet it is for the masses. It’s a beautiful art if you know the science

behind it.”

The show will air weekdays on Sony TV at 8 pm. Packaged like a culinary battle,it will pit families from all over the country against professional chefs such as Harpal Singh Sokhi,Ajay Chopra,Vikas Seth,Saransh Goila and Rahul Kulkarni for the title of Swaad Ke Sartaj.