While growing up, 90s kids would distinctly remember their moms being hooked on the cooking show Khana Khazana. Chef Sanjeev Kapoor with his inimitable ‘moustache’ look became a household name and opened up a new world for housewives, who wanted to cook exquisite food for their family. After the women in the house, Sanjeev is now targeting the young bloods in the hotel industry with his new show Veeba Cook-Off. To be aired on his channel Food Food, the reality series will feature a set of young and talented to-be-chefs picked, after an intense talent search, from across culinary schools. Sanjeev got into an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com to share more about his series and the food business.
The idea was to do a large format reality show and the bigger need was to also connect with the B2B (business to business) market. Also, with time viewers’ aspiration have changed. When I started people only wanted to see ways of easy cooking and now it’s also about presentations. This show will have contestants from catering school eyeing to make a mark in the professional world and every week, there would be a winner, who would get the chance to be absorbed by the industry soon.
Threat from the social media cooking pages
It has only made things better and has brought about democracy in the food industry. But there’s a difference between seeing and using, when you really want to try these recipes, you want to be assured and only go for the reliable option. You can flirt with many but marry one, but shaadi ka business will never see a decline. We are not at all threatened and are only happier that people are consuming the genre
What we would be trying to showcase is only real cooking, drama to aise hi hojata hai (drama happens anyway). The problem with most of today’s reality shows is that it’s made only for drama but there’s so much of reality and also emotions that are difficult to get captured. Our effort would be to encapsulate that and move the viewers in a genuine way. I think real stories work much better and you don’t need to always show sob stories to evoke emotions.
We would be looking for contestants who are a package of talent and come with the hunger to excel. There’s lot of things that we look into- thought process, execution, taste, cleanliness and even time taken by them to stir up a dish.
Honesty in profession
The most important factor, still remains, is how honest you are to your profession. I remember once I was shooting and it was the last day of the schedule and we were cooking a fish. It was rotten and I could smell the foul odour. I told the team that we can’t shoot with it and should get a new fish. Since it was past 9:30 pm in the night, my director told me that ‘Sir, no one will know about it as it looks good, TV pe smell pata nahi chalti (you don’t smell through TV). I told him that I can’t cheat my audience, and I am not an actor, who does things for TV. We finally shot the next day, pushing the entire schedule.
Changes in the industry
I don’t see any drastic changes but only that more people are watching cookery shows and videos, and yes, more people are doing it also. The need and wish to learn recipe is the same, and I think it will remain so.
The show will launch on January 26, and air every Friday, 2:30 pm and 8 pm.