Chef Ranveer Brar Share's His Culinary Journey, Here's To Know

Ranveer Singh Brar is an internationally renowned Indian celebrity chef, Masterchef India judge, restaurateur, food columnist, author, and TV show judge. He is well recognised for being the host of well-liked television cooking programmes, and he served as a judge on three episodes of the cooking competition series MasterChef India (seasons 4, 6, and 7). At the age of 25, Brar was the youngest executive chef to ever work at a five-star hotel in India. Throughout the past 20 years, he has also managed a number of restaurants in both India and the United States while serving as a global spokesperson for Indian cuisine. He drew his inspiration from the storied street merchants of Lucknow, India, where he was born, all his life. Learn more about him by reading on.     

Tell us about yourself, your journey of becoming a chef 

Food to me has always been this institution where learning never ceases. From cooking at the langar at a young age, to exploring food on the streets of Lucknow, food has touched me in different ways. After IHM Lucknow, I started off as Hotel Operations Management trainee with the Taj group. I moved on to Taj Goa, opened 3 restaurants in one hotel in Goa. 

I then joined The Oberoi group, the Radisson, became an executive chef at the age of 25 (youngest executive chef of the time) with Radisson Noida, opened an entire hotel. 

After that I moved to the Claridges, renovated the complete hotel. I had a serendipitous opportunity to try something new in the US, and quite a few restaurants opened there. 

I came back to India after a couple years and joined the Accor group and started working on restaurants for myself eventually.  

Additionally, I was also showcasing and documenting food on television and continue doing the same even now. From restaurant chains to a heritage hotel to cruise kitchens, my career path in the hospitality industry thus far has been blessed and very happily memorable.  

Is it your first career choice? Is yes, why? 

When you are truly passionate about something, you just pursue it whole-heartedly. I am someone who started out by romancing food in the lanes of Lucknow, roughing it at Munir Ustad’s Kebab stall and working my way up the ranks.  

Truth be told, I entered the Culinary world with no expectations, but just the Love for everything food.  

All I knew through it all, was that I was doing what I love and wanted to do for the rest of my life. And I’ve always believed that Food is a giver. When you invest so much in it unconditionally, it will surely give back. Above all, God has been kind. 

What do you consider a milestone in your career? Some high-points and low-points of your career?  

Plenty on both spectrums! To mention a few, to be associated with the tag of a successful restaurateur with a midas touch to hosting curated meals for celebrities, including Late Shri Vajpayee ji, players in the then Boston Celtics team (when in Boston) and many more. But when an economic downturn made me close doors on my restaurants in Boston, it was a hard lesson to keep believing and keep going. I learnt that it doesn’t matter where you cook, as long as you know cooking! Your skill will see you through. 

Who do you consider your role model, if any? And why?  

My first guru, Munir Ustad, Padmashree Chef Imtiaz Qureshi, the great Charlie Trotter, Anthony Bourdain, Heston Blumenthal, Chef and MOF Éric Briffard, and basically every cook I have met during my travels who are nothing short of being masters in their own right. There’s always something new to learn from everyone. 

How do you handle the stress that has become a synonym for kitchen operations?  

Actually, cooking is my stress-buster! On a serious note, for me, it’s very important to stay sorted in the mind and structure the tasks. In my cooking videos too, I stress upon the methodology of cooking, more than just the recipe and ingredients. When you have your Mise en Place set, approach your cooking systematically and clean as you go, you automatically reduce the stress and confusion levels. 

You work a lot with regional ingredients and techniques. What is it about Indian regional food that moves you the most?  

It’s the true soul of our cuisine. Some of the best flavours are to be found in our hyper regional cuisines, be they street food or home food. They are intrinsically so well balanced, so versatile and demographically appropriate that they have become the canvas for the world to draw their inspiration from. And despite all the fusions, these cuisines still retain their original soul and flavours. That’s what makes them so special. 

Any ingredient you can’t cook without?  

Being a Punjabi, definitely Ghee! But also because it’s highly beneficial (in moderation of course) And my Priya mitr Dhaniya, which doesn’t just make for a pretty garnish but is a super herb, when it comes to flavours and health benefits. :)  

You are doing your bit to take Indian food on a global platform. Do you feel that Indian cuisine has got its right place on the stage of international cuisine?  

The trend is definitely towards greater recognition and adaptation of Indian cuisine. Thanks to the digital platforms and wide access to information, the versatility and uniqueness of our dishes is emerging more and more for the world to see. But to sustain the movement, I feel we need to do more to highlight the finer nuances and techniques of the core Indian Kitchen recipes that, in my opinion, are brilliantly wholesome. 

What Is your favourite local recipe that you can never forget?

There are 2 dishes that will stay on in my memory and on my palate. First is the Udupi Mattu Gulla Huli, basically a stew made with the large, round Eggplant that’s unique to the region. The taste was nothing like I had ever had before. 

The second is the Doodh Saar, a beautiful Milk-based stew that I had in Radhanagari, Kolhapur district. Simple flavours, minimal ingredients and the taste was absolutely divine.  

Some quick tips that you would like to share with new comers when playing with Indian flavours  

Keep it simple and structured. There is a reason behind every ingredient and technique used in Indian recipes. It’s important to understand the basics before playing with the flavours and textures. That way, you will never go wrong. 

How do you receive compliments as well as criticism from your guests?  

Both are important; compliments are encouraging and constructive criticism helps keep the improvement process in motion. I strongly believe that Food helps people connect, with memories & experiences. When your patrons understand your interpretation on the plate and are able to connect to it, that becomes a win-win. Getting that connect is crucial. 

You've been involved with a lot of television programs. Which one did you like most and why? 

I personally love travel based food shows for I definitely return wiser and richer (w.r.t knowledge & experiences). Masterchef India has always been a great platform for exploring and discovering cuisines and recipes through the eyes and plates of contestants. In this season especially, we have been treated to some amazing creations, both within the Masterchef studio and at amazing locations that we travelled to as part of the challenges. 

How do you see the participants and yourself as a judge at MasterChef India? What are the things about the newcomers that you like and dislike? 

The selection process was especially tough this season with the level of skills and flavours the contestants brought to the table, literally. Every day is an inspiring experience, their competitive spirit and innovations inspire us too. The septuagenarian Baa for example, was a total heart-winner for her innocent faith in life and her cooking.  

One thing I disapprove of though, is their over dependance on social media for information and knowledge. 

Please share some Awadhi recipes. Also a few tips while cooking Awadhi food.   

The most important ingredient of Awadhi food is patience. Like I say, If you are looking, you are not cooking; if there’s any cuisine this would apply foremost to, it’s the Awadhi cuisine. It requires patience and trust in the fire, to let the medium and the ingredients do their job. Timing and Technique are key! 


Preparation time 10-15 minutes  

Cooking time 40-45 minutes  

Serve 2-4 


For Mutton Marination  

1 kg Mutton (with bones) 

1 Star anise,  

3-4 no. Black cardamom, 

2-3 Green cardamom, 

½ tsp Fennel seeds, 

3-4 Cloves,  

12-15 no. Black peppercorns, 

1 Bay leaf, 

2 medium Onion, sliced, 

Salt to taste, 

2 cups Curd, beaten,  

 For Yakhni   

1 ½ tbsp Oil,  

½ tbsp Ghee,  

1 tsp Shahi jeera,  

1 medium Onion, sliced,   

Marinated Mutton,  

2-3 no. Green chillies, slit into half,  

1 inch Ginger, peeled sliced,  

few Tender Coriander stem,    

3-4 cups Water,  

¼ tsp Vinegar,   

For Mutton Yakhni Pulao  

2-4 tbsp Ghee,  

1 Bay leaf, 

½ inch Cinnamon stick, 

¼ tsp Cumin seeds,    

¼ tsp Fennel seeds,   

Cooked Mutton,  

Prepared Yakhni, 

3 cups Sella Basmati rice (soaked for 20 minutes)  

1 ½ tbsp Saffron water,   

 For Raita 

¼ cup Fried onion, chopped,  

few Mint leaves, chopped,   

½ tbsp Coriander leaves, chopped,  

2 no. Green chili (less spicy & chopped)  

1 cup Curd, beaten,  

Salt to taste, 

Prepared Tempering,  

 For Tempering  

1 tbsp Oil,  

¼ tsp Shahi jeera,  

1 tsp Chili flakes,  

 For Garnish  

Fried onion,  

Coriander sprig,  

Mint sprig,   

Silver vark,   

Image credit: Shutterstock


For Curd Mixture 

In a bowl, add curd, ginger garlic paste, degi red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and mix everything well. Keep it aside for further use.

 For Masala 

In a shallow pan, add black cardamom, black peppercorns, cloves, green cardamom, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, shahi jeera, mace and salt to taste. Dry roast it on moderate heat for 4-5 minutes. Transfer it into a grinder jar and make it fine powder. Keep it aside for further use.  

For Lucknowi Mutton Korma 

In a lagan or handi, add ghee, oil, once it's hot, add cinnamon stick, bay leaf, black cardamom and let it splutter.  Add mutton and keep sauteing for 2-4 minutes on medium flame.  Add onions, salt to taste and saute until the onions turn light brown in color.  Add curd mixture and keep sauteing for 5-10 minutes or until the masalas are cooked.  Add water, close the lid and cook until mutton is tender. Add saffron water, kewra water, cashew paste and mix well.  To finish add prepared masala, coriander leaves and give a good stir.  Transfer it to a serving dish and garnish it with coriander sprig. Serve hot with roti.