When we speak of food and hospitality in India, Chef Ajay Chopra is one name we can never skip. With over two decades of experience F&B, chef Chopra’s glittering journey includes a string of successful restaurants, a host of television shows and being one of the first Indian chefs to host Master chef India (season 1 and 2). A pioneer in progressive cuisine, Chef Ajay Chopra takes immense pride in his unique cooking style which is largely focussed on using simple ingredients to making world-class meal.  

Slurrp caught up with Chef Chopra for an exclusive tete a tete on his career highlights, favourite cuisine, kitchen hacks and his latest stint with Glance Roposo’s #CookWithChopra.

1. What has been the highlight of your career so far?

A career as a chef is dynamic; therefore, it keeps changing every year. I have had multiple highlights which include being an executive chef of prestigious hotels as well as restaurants in India and London, and being a judge of a popular cooking reality show. But what makes me proud is that I’ve been able to open restaurants with new concepts as a chef. It defines me as a chef who can think, create, and explore new ideas.

2. What is the most treasured compliment you have received for your cooking?  

I have been complimented for simplifying complicated dishes so that a regular cook can create the same dish from the comfort of their home. I treasure this compliment because not everybody is a chef or trained in cooking, so the simplified method helps people to cook what they like.

3. What makes you join Glance Roposo’s #CookWithChopra trend?  

I think it will inspire people to showcase their culinary skills in a short video format to engage their audience more entertainingly. Throughout this Foodie Week, I will be creating recipes using leftovers, instant snacks and delicious desserts, apart from sharing my unique tips and tricks. I will be challenging other food content creators to share their recipes on similar topics. It is an effort to make people understand that cooking is not challenging; it is easy and fun. Every eligible story wins 50,000 Roposo coins which creators can redeem which I believe makes #cookwithchopra stand out.

4. What are some of the interesting dishes you will be presenting at the week-long activity?

One of the interesting dishes I will be making is an eggless French Toast, which is generally made with eggs, but we will be presenting it as a dessert. Another interesting dish is a Keema Quesadilla that will be made from leftover rotis or veggies.

 5. What are the 5 things that one should always have in their kitchen?

First is patience because it is an attribute of love, and unless you add love to your food, you will not enjoy cooking. Secondly, the presence of mind remains essential for everyone in the kitchen because there are unpredictable situations, and one must think on their feet. Thirdly, fresh ingredients, because I believe fresh vegetables, herbs, meat and seafood, helps create great dishes. Fourthly, good kitchen skills to perform all the activities is a must. And lastly, use your favourite spice that you love to add while cooking and enjoy working with it.

6. What is the most difficult cuisine to work with according to you?

I think it would be Japanese, as their chefs are trained in precision. From the cutting of vegetables, fish and meat to maintaining the temperature of the ingredients, all of it must be flawless. Another challenging cuisine is Chinese because of their accuracy of temperature, time, and the balance of flavours which must be unique. Indian cuisine is also difficult because of the various flavours one must know how to combine. If your flavours don’t mix well, then you might lose the essence of the dish.

7. Your favourite cuisine and dish?

My favourite cuisine is Indian food, and my favourite dish is Galouti kebab.

8. What are the 5 secret kitchen ingredients that can turn a dish around?

The most indigenous one is coriander. Fresh coriander can change the flavour of the preparation whether you add it as a paste or chop it however you want to add it. Next is umami of the Indian kitchen. Whenever you are cooking anything salty, add a touch of sweetness, and if you are cooking anything sweet, add a touch of salt. Kasuri methi, also known as dried methi if added towards the end of any gravy or a kebab, can lift the taste. Extra virgin olive oil, especially used in cooking international cuisines would be my fourth] and the last is Chinese sesame oil. Adding a dash of this sesame oil can add a whole lot of flavour to your Chinese food.

 9. What tips you would like to give to everyone creating food content on Roposo app?

Keep it simple and not complicate things. I’m not expecting the Niharis of the world, I want to look for simple ingredient-based dishes. So, if you can make three or five-ingredient dishes, I will be happy with that since all I want is to see your passion and thought process in it. I want to see you create something great and astounding that is also quick.

10. Give us a piece of advice for budding chefs.

To all the budding chefs out there, don’t lose hope yet. Use this time to build your skill and try something new by investing time in yourself.