From the kitchen to the cabin, Chef Ajay Chopra has taken on the role of an entrepreneur with his latest food-tech platform, Knosh.
Hailing from food-loving family but with no familial culinary background, Chef Ajay Chopra has always looked at the kitchen with awe. Even before he completed his formal education in culinary arts from Oberoi School of Learning and Development, he picked up skills wherever he went. The dhabas of Alwar hold a sweet spot in his heart where he was drawn towards the art of tossing and flipping pans and mimicked the same back home. Be it the street vendors or the top-notch chefs of the country, Chef Ajay Chopra left no stone unturned to grasp the vast pool of knowledge and skills that were essential to succeed in the kitchen.
While he still laughs thinking about the time his family thought that he would become a bawarchi, he has decided to move on from being a celebrity chef to a visionary. Kickstarting his entrepreneurial journey in partnership with Chef Hemant Oberoi, Knosh is his special child and we’re hoping it’s not just his first. Giving us an insight into his vision, ideas, concept and the way forward, Chef Ajay Chopra chats with us for an interactive session. Excerpts:
Q1. How do you understand the term gourmet food?
Gourmet food is any food of high quality, crafted to deliver exquisite taste and presented in a pleasing fashion. Ingredients that are rare or hard to cultivate in a continent are thus considered gourmet.
Q2. Your stint in Master Chef India made you a popular household name. How would you describe your transformation to a celebrity chef?
I realized that we will be judging one of the biggest cooking shows in the world that was going to change the way our country looked at food. Thanks to Master Chef India, I began to understand regional cuisines and a variety of dishes that corners of our country have to offer. There is so much talent residing in humble homes. Overall, it was quite an overwhelming experience.
Both cities have come a long way when it comes to food and are top culinary destinations, with world-class restaurants. Globally also, both the cities are being seen as gastronomes destinations. What I like about Mumbai is food on the go, fresh seafood, coastal cuisine, food from the local communities and the new innovative restaurants. Delhi offers food filled with childhood memories, of eating tikki from a cart or relishing Tibetan food at Majnu ka Tilla. You can always relive nostalgia in Delhi through its food. To be honest,my personal favourite is Delhi ka khana which is quite reflective in my North Indian delicacies at Knosh’s menu too.
Q11. Who has been the inspiration behind your culinary journey?
In my journey, my mentor Chef Gulshan, Chef Barnidharan, Chef Elton Hurtis, Chef Vinay Jayraj and Chef Girish Krishnan have helped me a lot for who I am today.
Q12. After conquering most mediums, are there any plans to author a cookbook anytime soon?
During the lockdown, I have actually written a recipe book for someone who has just started cooking. The book is in post production and will soon be launched.