Cooking for Sanjeev Kapoor


Cooking for the Chef

“You need to cook for the Chef – Sanjeev Kapoor”
Indrajit Lahiri has this amazing ability to talk without any visible display of emotion. In the last couple of years of working on the Foodka project, Mir and I have rediscovered this man. His stoicism often made us wonder whether he was one of those 16th Century British King, in his previous birth, with the typical British upper lip!
On 10th August, 2018, I received a call from Indrajit. In his cold nonchalant voice, he asked whether I would be available over the weekend.
 “Yes, but for what?” –  I asked him.
Without changing even, a single decibel of his voice he said, “oi Sanjeev Kapoor ashben tomaar bari”. (Sanjeev Kapoor will visit you at home)
The last thing I can hide is excitement. In fact, I could be used as a live demonstration sample to show various expressions to junior school children.

Are you Serious?

“What? The Sanjeev Kapoor? You mean the Chef Sanjeev Kapoor? Are you serious?” – I am sure my voice had reached Sanjeev Kapoor in Mumbai by that time. Indrajit in a low calm voice assured me and said “yes”!
He described to me his role of the Chef’s guide in his Biryani Journey in Kolkata. It was definitely a very proud moment seeing my friend assisting India’s most popular chef in his food journey. But my mind was preoccupied with thoughts and ideas which were bubbling in my head. The thought of cooking for Sanjeev Kapoor was almost like giving Madhyamik exam again. It was the biggest test for an engineer to cook for the most admired chef of India.

I was always passionate about cooking. I think it came to me from my father who was equally passionate about cooking. Scrounging for new recipes, experimenting with unknown cuisine styles is one of my hobbies.

The D-Day

Finally, came the D-Day. I literally had sleepless nights before “Day”. Indrajit informed me that I had to cook, serve and talk a little about biryani and it’s spices. Wish it was as simple as he put in a few words. I was really nervous. Thinking about that moment still gives me a thrilling sensation.

The time with the Chef

“Hi! Do you have an iron with which I can press my shirt?” asked the maestro of cooking. He said this with his usual

With Sanjeev Kapoor

Cooking for the chef

charming smile, the moment he entered my apartment. Simplicity is an inherent quality of a great man. Not sure whether it was that simplicity or that warm smile, my nervousness was gone immediately as soon as he stepped in. The way he ironed his pink linen shirt also showed a man who believed in perfection.

Along with him, I had two more guests that day. Padmashree PC Sorcar Jr and his wife Maneka Sorcar. No wonder it was magic all around.

That moment

It was a long and vibrant discussion with the Chef. Probably only 1% of that is featured in the episode. We talked about the spices used in biryani in different parts of India. The importance of the quality of rice while making the biryani. The evolution of the Kolkata Biryani and the use of potatoes to his own brand ‘Wonderchef.’ I love his passion when he talked about his brand and his chain of restaurants. It was great when the maestro asked about the inception and evolution of Hanglaatherium.
Passion to me is a key element to becoming successful. No wonder this man has reached this stature. We also talked a lot on many other things while the smell of Biryani wafted through the room drowning our senses in the magic of the moment. Maybe Mr. P.C. Sorcar’s presence had upped the magic quotient! As Indrajit was there, we talked about the Foodka journey too. Sadly we missed Mir that day as he was travelling.

The moment of truth

My usual self-confidence was on the verge of a great collapse when I opened the lid of the Biryani. It was that moment of truth where an engineer would be tested for a skill on which he was never trained. The chef took a deep smell and the “Ahh!” that he exclaimed, was enough to regain my hopes!

The team

Cooking for the chef

Dream normally comes true, provided you strive for it. But for me, Sanjeev Kapoor having my biryani was more than a dream. I will cherish that moment when Sanjeev Kapoor asked for a refill on his plate. That will remain as one of the best memories for me ever. As part of the Hanglaatherium family, I would also like to thank all my staff who were there as a big support. It was a test for the entire team.


Thank you Foodka, our MR.78

My Co-Host

Indrajit and Oindrila

Indrajit will never openly took credit for the successful culmination of this event. But I will always be indebted to him for this experience. It was indeed a momentous event that cannot be forgotten in a lifetime! Overjoyed and honoured to be a part of a great man’s journey! Cooking for the chef would never be possible without you Foodka!



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Kolkata’s Best Biryani – Foodka Episode
Kolkata Biryani – Journey and Evolution

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