Jiggs Kalra-1559641897194
Jiggs Kalra in Dubai in 2005. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Celebrated chef Jiggs Kalra, who earned epithets like Czar of Indian Cuisine and Taste Maker to the Nation, died on June 4 at the age of 72.

He had been unwell for the past few weeks and passed away at a hospital in Gurugram, said a source.

Kalra was instrumental in taking Indian fine dining mainstream, with popular restaurant concepts such as Farzi Cafe and Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra, both of which have outlets in Dubai; the latter having opened in March at the JW Marriott Marquis.

Last month, his son Zorawar shared an update about his father’s health on Instagram.

“Today is my father Jiggs Kalra’s 72nd birthday. This is the first time unfortunately it has been celebrated in hospital, as he isn’t well. Last year we celebrated it together as a family. Nothing matters more than time spent with your parents as each and every single Birthday matters. He is a toughie. Has been battling his stroke for 19 years and will be back soon,” Zorawar posted on May 21.

The cremation will be held on June 6 in New Delhi.

Food pioneer

Born on May 21, 1948, Kalra, born Jaspal Inder Singh Kalra, was a pioneering food columnist, author and food consultant. In a career spanning close to five decades, he was instrumental in introducing Indian cuisine to the international audience as well as setting standards of the same.

He is also credited with establishing some of the most critically acclaimed and best performing restaurants in the country. He represented India at various international food festivals and summits, apart from having served the likes of British royals Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, and former US President Bill Clinton.

The senior Kalra authored more than 11 titles on Indian cuisine, including ‘Prashad’.

Filmmaker Hansal Mehta wrote a condolence message for Kalra on Twitter, saying: “Thank you for introducing me to Indian food and its treasure of recipes. All your books adorn my bookshelf and the masala and oil on each page is testimony to how your recipes have shaped my passion for cooking.”

Some of Kalra’s popular restaurant concepts also include Made in Punjab and Pa Pa Ya.

— With staff inputs