MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor to host Varli Food Festival in New Jersey

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Sanjeev Kapoor

NEW YORK – Celebrity chef and entrepreneur Sanjeev Kapoor will be hosting the annual Varli Food Festival this year, which will take place on Sunday, Sept. 10 at Martinsville Gardens in Bridgewater, New Jersey from 4 to 9 p.m.

In its sixth year, the Varli Food Festival will feature over 40 Indian restaurants, celebrities and chefs from around the world with tasting stations showcasing food demonstrations, cooking techniques, food samples, wine and desserts.

Kapoor is known for his popular TV show Khana Khazana which has aired more than 2,000 episodes on Zee TV in the last 23 years.

Kapoor along with Chef KN Vinod will be judging the Varli Cook Off competition where chefs race against time to create the most delicious cuisine and he will also have his own Cooking station at the event.

Excerpts of an email interview with Sanjeev Kapoor:

What made you want to become a chef?

I never really planned to become a chef. I was all geared up to study architecture but destiny had other plans. By a twist of fate I applied at IHM, PUSA and the rest, as they say, is history!

Can you talk about your journey in Khana Khazana?

To be honest, I never really knew I would do Khana Khazana in the first place. I would say that it was my destiny’s strategy that naturally paved the path of my progress. With Khana Khazana I just intended to share my knowledge as a Chef and love for food with people. The motto was to keep things simple and be myself – which I later realised was what worked for Khana Khazana, and it ran for almost 2 decades, making it the longest running show on Indian TV! It helped me reach to the masses and stay in their hearts and brains forever!

How did you decide to start your own channel FoodFood?

The idea for my own food channel had been a long standing dream. For me it was not only an opportunity but also, I feel, it was my duty to come up with a 24X7 channel dedicated to food and lifestyle in India. Thus, FoodFood channel was born in January 2011 and in eighteen months’ time it had become one of the most trusted brands on Indian TV.

As I browsed through your website I saw that you have recipes for every kind of dish. How did you come up with so many?

That’s the fun behind cooking – to keep coming up with something new and exciting every now and then. It is also how my team and I challenge our boundaries in the kitchen at work. There are so many beautiful ingredients, techniques and even equipment in the kitchen. Coming up with new recipes is something I look forward to. Right now, we have more than 15,000 recipes on sanjeevkapoor.com!

I see you have many fusion recipes. What is the idea behind those?

Creating new tastes is the single most aim of fusion cuisine. There are immense number of possible combinations between culinary styles in terms of spices, sauces, fillings and recipe ingredients. And when we combine a number of cuisines in one meal, we cater to the new generation of food choices and this is what the hospitality industry is capitalising on right now. I strongly feel that fusion of two or more cuisines is New World Cuisine and it has encouraged culinary globalisation and has increased cultural interaction through media and travel.

You have been on the Rachel Ray show before. How did that feel?

It was a great experience! We shot some segments for The Rachael Ray Show, where I promoted my cookbooks ‘How to Cook Indian’ and ‘Cooking with Olive Oil.’ Besides this, I did discover that we have a similar style of cooking that is, creating the best and most delicious dishes by keeping it simple. Of course, cannot forget surprising Rachael and the audience by rustling up a one-minute meal! Fun, exciting and an experience of a lifetime!

What was your intention to come to the Varli Food Festival this year?

Since the time of its inception, Varli has been working towards making Indian cuisine popular in America. And that’s quite THE reason for me to be a part of it every year!

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to become a chef?

Believe in yourself and your dreams. Stay humble, never stop learning and always smile! 

Any tips on everyday cooking?

Make sure you enjoy doing it. Don’t make it a chore. Planning your kitchen chronicles goes a long way in making every day cooking fun.

What should we expect to see from you next?

Well, there is a lot on the plate. You will just have to wait and watch!