Born in a family of zamindaars, Ranveer Brar was only five years old when he had to help cook langars in a gurudwara. Ranveer who disliked the idea of cooking then, became quite fascinated with food while he was in Lucknow. After completing his education at IHM, Brar began his career at the Taj Mahal Hotel. He also became the youngest executive chef of his time in the country at the age of 25. Ranveer has judged MasterChef along with Sanjeev Kapoor and Vikas Khanna, apart from opening a few hotels in the country and hosting some cookery shows. In an exclusive chat with follo, Ranveer talks about everything right from how cooking happened and to his worse kitchen disaster.
How did you venture out in the arena of cooking?
When I was precisely 5-years –old, I was forced to go to the local gurudwara to help cook the langars every Sunday and I really disliked the idea of cooking back then because all my friends used to sit at home and watch tv on Sundays and I was there helping in the kitchen. However, after a few trips to Lucknow I started taking interest in food. I actually tried to understand the culture of Lucknow, how different was it food from rest of the country. While in Lucknow, I frequented this fantastic kebab waala named Munir Ahmed, from whom I resolved to learn making kebabs. Munir Ahmed was my first ustad. My first kitchen experience was drying charcoal and grinding spices in Munir Ustad’s house. That’s all I did when I started. When I was 16, I left home and stayed with him. Initially my parents brushed this aside as ‘just another thing’ but since I sincerely pursued it for 6 months, they gave in to my desire to do hotel management. My first job was in Taj Mansingh Delhi as a management trainee. My big break came when I opened the Radisson, Noida as an executive chef.
Who all have inspired ‘Ranveer Brar’ over the years?
Well there have been different inspirations at different times. To start with, the city of Lucknow has really inspired me a lot. Then as I mentioned Chef Munir Ahmed was my first ustad, my first inspiration. Then Chef Charlie Trotter, American chef and restaurateur and again a chef from Lucknow Imtiaz Qureshi, who is the first chef to win a Padma Shri have largely inspired me.
Tell us about one of your best cooking experiences…
Well there have been a lot of good and sweet experiences until now. However, there is this one particular experience was pretty amazing. We were in Chattarpur, and I cooked for over 10000 people. It was so special because it was the first time were I was cooking so such a huge crowd and you know it’s different from cooking in a closed kitchen, also it was non-stop cooking for hours.
Which is Ranveer Brar’s signature dish?
Dorra kebab is my signature dish. It is a kebab, cooked on a smoked silken thread. It is as tender as the Kakori (if not more) with tones of sandal and rose. Apart from that I love eating Lucknowi and Punjabi cuisines. Also when I running out of time I prefer cooking Italian food.
Which has been your worse kitchen disaster until now?
So we had this outdoor event in Delhi and while wrapping up, one guy poured chashni (sugar syrup) in oil cans. When I came back into the kitchen, I nonchalantly used that oil to cook and the entire place caught fire. And until I figured out that it was burnt sugar, no one realized what had happened and till the time people realized the damage had been done!