Share your success story with us?
For me, there is no success story to be told at the moment. To gain all the success, I simply followed my passion. I have been into this profession for 30 years now, in the beginning it was difficult but as the time passed everything got better. People do say that I work really hard but I don’t think I really do.
When did you know you wanted to be a chef? How did your passion turned into profession?
Back in 1982 when I was 12 years old, I told my father that I wanted to be a chef. At that time they couldn’t even imagine what profession it was and they didn’t encourage my passion. After completing my Intermediate with Pre Medical, I secretly took admission in Hotel Management School. One day my father and I were going somewhere and I told him to drop me at the school, when he inquired I told him that I got enrolled in Hotel Management. This is how I started my passion but had quite a stiff resistance from my family and friends for a while.
Do you enjoy what you do?
I totally love it.
What is the most essential item in your kitchen?
A good Knife! If you love cooking, you will love cooking gadgets too. You cannot cook like a pro if you don’t have good utensils and gadgets.
Do you critique on other people’s food?
I never critique at all, I am a very easy going person and I eat everything without complaining. Whoever cooks food especially women at home, they put their heart out in it. It’s pretty tough job for them as they do it 365 days, hence I prefer appreciating them.
Does anyone in your family critique on your food?
I have a foodie family and they are the biggest critique of my food. Every time I am cooking for them, I am scared because they don’t spare me at all. If they don’t like anything, they will say it right away and I always agree to them because I know they know food.
How do you choose supplies for your kitchen?
Ingredients are the most important thing to create a perfect dish. They need to be fresh and you need to have know-how of buying them especially meat and seafood.
Do you travel more often to collect exotic ingredients from across the globe?
Whenever I go abroad, the only shopping I do is ingredient shopping. I carry minimal luggage so that I can stuff my 30KG bag with exotic ingredients. I dump them all in the freezer. Most of the time I don’t use most of the ingredients but it adds to my experience.
Your regular comfort meal?
Home cooked simple food, not very exotic. But when it comes to fancy food, I always prefer Japanese.
What is the most challenging ingredient to work with?
Which cuisine you enjoy the most to cook?
Your personal favourite restaurant?
I hardly dine out 6-7 times a year, and that too just because of my children.
Tell us about your best creation so far?
I create a dish but improvise it the next time. These days I have been cooking a lot of Barbecue food and my Behari Kebab have been improved pretty well.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
Where do you see yourself in next five years, what are your future plans?
Since I started learning cooking, the only thing I wanted to do was to teach. I don’t know much but whatever I know, I want to transfer it to others as well so that things can go on. I am working on a project where we will empower women. We are planning to open up an institute for those women, who are at home and due to family restrictions they can’t step out of it. They can easily learn how to cook food and sell it in the market. Women sitting at home will be empowered enough that they won’t be needing help from their male counterparts.
What do you think about the food industry of Pakistan?
We need to grow a lot and come up with the innovation in Pakistani food. Our food starts from biryani and ends at quorma, which is a dilemma. Even if we are cooking standard food we need to improvise to create something different. Our cooking has gone down-hill and we are too scared to experiment with food. We need to come up with some different food and change the way of cooking.
Any important tip for the readers?
When you are in the kitchen always remember that it acts as a therapeutic work, you feel relaxed. Even though cooking itself is a task to do after hectic routine, but women should be encouraged and appreciated for their efforts. I would like to advice husbands, brothers and sons to help their wives, mothers and sisters in the kitchen.
Any message you would like to give to your fans and food lovers?
Dining out is a good experience but, cook food at home to enjoy it more. Eat healthy, eat raw vegetables, workout a little, look young and stop criticizing food cooked at home.
Why do you prefer Interwood kitchen for home?
I already had a kitchen made by another brand but, when I saw Interwood kitchen I found out that the one I had was not worthy in terms of cooking. Instead of just being appealing, a kitchen should be practical to use alongside providing you with a good feeling while you cook. It should be a comfortable place because women spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I have seen different kitchens, but I like Interwood as it is a Pakistani brand and their after-sales service quality is commendable. Comparatively, other brands do not have any after sales service.
Why should chefs prefer Interwood?
As I have said earlier, I had a pre-installed kitchen of another brand but it wasn’t practical at all. Most of my cooking utensils and crockery used to be outside the drawers and there were extraneous corners throughout the kitchen, which were of no use. Moreover, the quality was also not good as the wood soaked all the water, giving the kitchen an extremely negative feel. The finesse and colour combination make you feel more comfortable while cooking in the Interwood kitchen, instead of making it a complete burden. For me cooking is telepathic; one needs to enjoy while cooking rather than just to cook and run away from the kitchen.
Tell us about the #GoingBeyond Campaign, how was your experience?
It was truly an amazing experience. At first I used to think that Interwood only does office furniture but then I found that they design kitchens as well, and they are amazing. This is why I chose Interwood for furnishing my kitchen. Being practical, there are many kitchens which are not being utilized properly or they are so complex that you forget the kitchen items after placing them. However, the construction, design and most importantly quality used in Interwood’s kitchen is absolutely great. The places and the cupboards that they have created are designed in such a way that there is not even a single place which is wasted or not completely utilized. They have designated specific places for different items which are often used in kitchens. In short, I would say “Everything has a place and everything in its place.” I had a great experience with them; the team was amazing and we have done shows in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad till now and we plan on taking the campaign to more cities as well. So, overall it was an amazing experience to cook in professionally made Interwood kitchens.