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Murg Makhani Mille Feuille And Aspiring Young Chefs.

Anand Pillai Tuesday, March 19, 2024
Murg Makhani Mille Feuille And Aspiring Young Chefs.

Don’t just wish success, compete for that. Mumbai based consultant and Pastry Chef Zareen Shaukath seems to have got it right, when she bagged fourth place in World Tapas Competition held in Spain. Her creation was “ Murg Mukhani Mille Feuille.” This award winning innovation is a fusion of our desi Butter chicken and French dessert Mille Feuille. Chef Zareen, representing India, was one among the 16 talented chefs from different parts of the world.

By the way, Tapas are a wide variety of appetizers, originally from Spain, which is served hot or cold. What particularly raised my interest was that the Chef Zareen’s Indian twist to this Spanish food by including Butter Chicken (Murg Makhani) and serving it in a brass container on top of banana leaves. Her achievement is remarkable. She competed with the best chefs who work with the finest hotels and restaurants across the globe.

However, it is unfortunate that her achievement is largely unnoticed. It is common for media outlets to prioritize certain news based on the perceived importance the events unfolding at that time. At times, some of the mainstream achievements might not receive as much attention as widely recognized awards like Olympic gold medals or Oscars. It is a fact that the recognition of Chef Zareen’s achievement could inspire many others to take up this carrier path.

There are many chefs around us have carved out their own niche of living who have not bother to get any appreciation.

I had a colleague, who loved baking and occasionally brought tasty brownies and homemade yummy cakes. She was working as a secretary in the corporate office of my previous employer.

“What are you doing here? You should have become a pastry Chef”, one day I commented while tasting one of those delicious cakes.

‘What to do now?’ was the sad response of this middle aged lady.

Even at my current job, I have a colleague, who is part of our sales team, who brings finger licking home food cooked by himself. He loves cooking, but he is disappointed that his cooking talents are not recognized and nurtured earlier.

I, now, reminiscence one of my summer holidays. My son Hemanth was only eight years old. He approached his mother asking to prepare Semiya Paysam for himself. She was tied up with her chores that she had to ignore this request. He then checked YouTube, got some money from his grandmother, bought the ingredients and cooked the Semiya Paysam by himself. Thanks to the watchful eyes of his grandmother. And the chef in me, realized his cooking potential.

Realizing someone's cooking potential can be an exciting discovery! It suggests they have skills and creativity in the kitchen that can lead to delicious meals and memorable experiences. There are various options for children interested in music, dance and various other arts and sports. But someone who is interested in cooking doesn’t have much avenues to horn their skills. We need to give serious thought about this. It is crucial to catch them young and train them.

“Beware, they could snatch your phone and run away “

Said Harikesh Mishra , the auto driver, while looking at the small group of boys standing on the foot path. They were shabbily dressed and seemed trouble makers at first glance. Deepely absorbed in digital world, I was sitting in his auto which was waiting for the signal at a street in Delhi. Mishra’s warning not only woke me up to the dangers around, but also to the cacophony of vehicle exhaust and ceaseless honking which is typical of bustling Indian street

I was on an official trip to Delhi and was coming back to Kuwait by evening flight. A trip to Delhi will be incomplete without buying some sweets for family and friends. We stopped at a shop which is famous for Agra sweets, also known as Agra Petha. As the names goes, this sweet has its origin from the city of Taj Mahal. It is a translucent soft candy made from ash gourd. It is believed that Emperor Shajahan ordered his chefs to make a sweet as pure and white as the tomb of his beloved wife. The royal cooks came up with this invention. While the original version is white, this shop offered a whole variety with different colors and flavors like chocolate, rose,keser, pistha etc. I was told that Pan Petha is the most selling nowadays. It resembled a beeda pan. The green colored outer is made up to look like beetle leaf. It is filled with sweetened grated coconut and chopped nuts. I bought few boxes of that.

On the way back to hotel, I was caught in the traffic signal and I was thumping through latest updated on WhatsApp. A little girl not older than five years seemingly appeared from somewhere. With an effortless grace, she scaled the side of our vehicle and her tiny hand gripped the iron grill as she looked inside. She gave me a beautiful smile revealing the white teeth on her cute face. I couldn’t help, but to reciprocate that radiant smile. I asked her what her name was.

“Roopa” she giggled at me and replied.

Don’t you go to school?

She nodded her head. I trusted that it was an ‘yes’.

What you want to become when you grow up?

Amidst of the chaos in the busy street, she stood beside our auto and her gaze hit the nearby shop where the aroma of freshly cooked jalebis hung thick in the air. Her eyes sparkled as she looked at the person skillfully pouring the batter into a large kadai full of hot oil. She said in a voice filled with innocence. “I want to become a cook”. I suddenly found a deep sense of connection with this little girl.

Traffic light eventually turned green. What will I give her? I thought.

In fact, giving money directly to street children is a wrong practice that contribute to their exploitation rather than solving it. What else can I give?

I opened my bag with a sense of urgency and took out a box of Agra sweet and extended that out to her. A soft and radiant smile illuminated her face while she received that box. Our vehicle slowly pulled away leaving behind this little girl who was holding a box of sweet. Her image appeared in the rearview mirror as thinner and thinner before fading away. Our vehicle finally merged into the traffic of the city.

It has been two years after I met this little girl. However, she continues to resonate within me and this one question haunts me. If Roopa really wants to become a cook, will she receive education necessary for that?

Every child deserves a chance to get educated, to dream, aspire and achieve that. Who knows her destiny! Perhaps Roopa, inspired by her dreams, may become another great chef one day.

I remain hopeful.

Anand Pillai holds an extensive experience in food industry, complemented by his fervent passion for writing about it. Currently serves as a Sales Manager at Al Naji Infotech company. is now on WhatsApp Channel    Follow Channel

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Sunday, March 24, 2024
Anand manages to find a story in the everyday mundane things most people tend to overlook. And to put that story into words that captivate the readers isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It is this quality that makes his writings enjoyable and relatable. A writer is working when he’s staring out of the window, they say. Here, Anand was looking out of a car window when he came up with a touching story of a little girl. It makes us the readers too wish that Roopa fulfills her dream of becoming a chef when she grows up. Stay faithful to the stories in your head Anand, and continue to enthrall us.

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