Slurrp Exclusive: Chef Sanjyot Keer Shares His Favourite Recipe And Comfort Food
Image Credit: Slurrp Exclusive Interview With Chef Sanjyot Keer

Featured by Forbes India as the Tycoon of Tomorrow, Sanjyot Keer is a well-known Indian Chef and Digital Content Creator. Earlier, a food producer for the famous TV Show MasterChef India, Sanjyot, has a new venture, Your Food Lab, featuring a diverse collection of healthy and tasty recipes. With over 5 Million subscribers and 2 Billion views across digital platforms, Chef Sanjyot tells Slurrp the stories he spun in his kitchen.

What is your childhood memory of cooking, and what made you pursue it?

I always wanted to enter the kitchen to see what's happening. I remember my first memories of cooking- my first recipe was Pav Bhaji. I went on these bike rides with my father and my sister to a pav bhaji vendor, where I learned my first recipe and ended up cooking just by looking at him. So I cooked my first meal, which worked out well. That is how I started. My mother had the superpower of putting a smile on their faces with the cooking. I wanted that superpower too, and when I cooked my first meal and gave it to my family, they had smiles on their faces. That is when I realized I could have that superpower, and that is where my culinary cooking journey began.

Tell us about the journey to Your Food Lab, the roadblocks and the success

Your Food Lab began in one of my lowest phases of life. First, I did my culinary education, after which I wanted to pursue my master's in the same. Then, I wanted to travel to the UK, but my family's condition at that time was not that great. Later, I got an opportunity as a food producer on Master Chef season 4 and worked with brilliant chefs like Chef Ranveer Brar, Vikas Khanna, and Sanjeev Kapoor. Post that, I got many offers from media kitchens and shows. But I did not want to create recipes for someone else, and I wanted to do that for myself. So I started working at my father's factory for about one and a half years. That is where I conceptualized the idea for Your Food Lab. Then, I started shooting and uploading content on social media over the weekends. And, my third video went viral, and that's how Your Food Lab began. We got one lakh followers in just one month, a million in a year.

What is your comfort food?

A humble khichdi with a Gujarati curry could be one. I know it's unusual for a Sikh Punjabi guy, but I grew up surrounded by many Gujarati people. I love Gujarati kadhi with ghee on top. I love some Dal Tadka or Dal Fry with some crispy tandoori roti, Dhaba style, or I like to have a clear soup with some excellent wontons at home as well. I cook up speedy butter chicken for myself too. So comfort food for me is defined as something which gives you a lot of pleasure. And it would also be a lot of street food because it just gives me immense pleasure. So a noodle dosa would be something I will do many times, or maybe a dabeli from my favourite street food vendor where I stay would be something that will give me a lot of comfort. I think food itself is a lot, there is a lot of convenience for my palate, and I love to eat many things, nothing particular in as such.

What is your favourite recipe that you love to cook again and again?

I cook a lot of Pav Bhaji because it was my first recipe. I love to cook Misal and Vada Pav. I love to cook mutton a lot at home. I like Kala Mutton or Mutton from the Maharashtrian origin with a very spicy rassa, tariwala mutton, or masala mutton. Some excellent shawarma, butter chicken, and some nice chilli chicken with rumali roti are great combinations. I love to cook some good Aglio olio pasta for my wife because she loves it.

The pandemic also led to many food trends. Did you try any and see any of them becoming prominent shortly?

I do not personally believe in food trends. I did not follow a lot of food trends like Dalgona coffee or banana walnut bread. This food trend about wraps was done differently, which I had done a long time back. Instead of folding it in four ways, I just folded it in half and cut it. It is pretty similar, but then a lot of people asked for those recipes. Much Saatvik cooking and simple home-cooked meals are happening on the internet these days, which has been a part of our Indian eating culture. 

What is that one thing you would like to tell aspiring chefs?

Taste a lot of food, eat a lot of food, discover what you like to cook. Every chef cannot cook everything. So you need to know what you want to cook and what you like to eat. And that is when you will love doing what you do. Even if you're not working in a restaurant right now or have not entered culinary school, social media or online video platforms are available. It's a university in itself, cook a lot of food, improve your knife skills, yourself, you've already been changed a lot.

What are your plans for Your Food Lab?

We've been working on many different sides of content and additional content streams. You will see a lot of new series based on my efforts soon. We're also trying to create shows for OTT platforms in 2021. I am looking to venture out into the virtual education space to teach young people content creation. Create a community, and cook. I want to make this a venture where we teach people on-ground. Once we are out of the pandemic, much good stuff is expected on YFL; stay tuned for it.