There isn’t a great deal of entertainment that news channels provide us with when we specifically talk about Indian English news channels unless some brand is so weak in providing news that it has to bank upon the gossip shows to earn the transient attention of a fraction of viewers that they do. However, sympathetic to the pulse of the Indians who are eccentrically keen on food, each media house has dug out at least 30 minutes from the 24 hours of incessant hysterical ‘news breaking’ that they do in order to devote it entirely to food-shows. Now that is something the media houses do not mind entirely counting on mainly on the weekends.
Cook shows in India have come of age: stock-still kitchen with decorated walls and an apparently know-all chef cooking and reciting each step have given way to smart people obviously having culinary awareness exploring places and food belonging there. We have a Kunal Vijayakar who in his show ‘Foodie’ broadcasted in Times Now every Saturday, who takes us from Calicut to Calcutta, Kashmir to Singapore, Ahmedabad to Agra and literally hunts down popular food joints, savors them and in his gripping show sometimes cooks for us, at times takes us through a joyride into the kitchen of food hubs from the shoddy interiors of the dhaba to the posh kitchens of star hotels like the Trident. Kunal took us to the kitchen of the man who started it all in India, the man who is internationally acclaimed and admired in India, Sanjeev Kapoor. Remember Khana Khazana which completed more than 600 episodes? The award winning show of CNN-IBN, ‘Secret Kitchen’ hosted by Bikramjit Ray has lots to offer too. He has shown us the glimpse of Taj and the chefs there; he has cooked with them and treated our eyes. This man, Bikramjit has had the opportunity to meet up the who’s who of the cooking world — he did not deprive us of the spot on Italian flavor for he got an Italian chef to cook for him in an episode, he even took the pain of cooking in a Chinese kitchen in a section where some perfectly Chinese dishes were being prepared by his guest who was a Chinese chef. We do not dare to forget Padma Lakshmi, when cooking and Indians come together. She has hosted cook shows based on India that were broadcasted in Nat Geo, although she is best known for her stint as a host in the renowned cooking reality show Top Chef for which she won an Emmy nomination too! Whether its Greg Wallace, the writer for Good Food and Olive Magazine or Padma, the cookbook authoress, we cannot ignore our very own Vir Sanghvi for his popular, in style column called ‘Rude Food’ in Brunch, that appears every Sunday with Hindustan Times, as a glossy thin magazine. Vir has anecdotes for his readers from every corner of the world: from red wines to rabris, from pizzas to pakoras, from Chinese to Continental, from Indian to Italian, he brings us lip smacking delights from everywhere. He gets us hands-on information from all the posh restaurants, eateries, cafÃ©s and inns. Recipient of handsome responses from the readers, ‘Rood Food’ is the king when it comes to cooking in print! Graffiti, a Sunday supplement of The Telegraph also allocates a page or two for food!
The Sanjeev Kapoors and the Rakesh Sethis have shown the way and the present day celebrity chefs/cook show presenters tend to tread the path, but only after they added some flavor to and garnished the path just like they do on top of some paneer or prawn! Now that’s mouthwatering for sure!
The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.