Veteran actor Shashi Kapoor was a fan of her Goan fish curry, while the late Raj Kapoor couldn’t get enough of her paya. Such was the culinary talent of the legendary Asha Bhosle that the eating habits of her fellow celebrity friends found their way into the menu of her famous restaurant chain, which continues to expand across the globe.
A rare glimpse into her culinary talent can be seen on Flavours of Ramadan, a Dubai-based food show that samples world cuisine at the iftar table. The show is now in its fifth season, with popular food critic and TV personality Gaurav Tandon taking viewers on a flavourful journey with some of the city’s top chefs and celebrity guests, including Bhosle and the host of TV show MasterChef India Kunal Kapur.
Speaking to Gulf News tabloid! Tandon talks about the show and about learning a trick or two in the celebrity kitchen.
Tell us about Flavours of Ramadan.
We launched the concept about five years ago. The idea was to introduce a Ramadan show that served up something different. We call this concept Flavours of Ramadan because it represents global flavours. From the very first season, we roped in international chefs to cook up dishes from their home countries.
What are some of the challenges you faced along the way?
The responses we got were phenomenal so it wasn’t too difficult to get the show off the ground, especially since we were already established in the food market and had produced another show called Weekend Out. This familiarity in this field meant we had access to almost 700 restaurants, thus making it simpler to get chefs to sign on for the show.
What sets this show apart from similar ones?
The content was different. There are food shows in the market, but no one is showing what we create. Even when local shows are produced, many don’t have a reach with celebrity chefs. So we added this angle to Flavours… and created a new concept.
However, we have also included local chefs as well, who make up a major chunk of the show. These are folks whose restaurants you’ve been too, whose dishes you’ve liked, and now, this Ramadan, you have the chance to make those dishes at home.
How do you choose your celebrity guests?
We do a lot of research before we get a celebrity on board. We look at what sort of following the celebrity has in their country and the kind of work they have done.
Who have been the memorable guests on the show this season?
This has been the biggest season for us. In the earlier season we teamed up with one chef, but this time we brought in two chefs to the show, one being MasterChef Kunal Kapur, who is the king of kabab and curry; the other being the singing legend, Asha Bhosle.
We all know of her illustrious career spanning 75 years, her Guinness World Record for being the most recorded artist in the world and her chain of Asha’s restaurants. But few know that she is a phenomenal chef as well. This is the first time in her career that she’s participated in a cooking show.
What’s next for you?
We have raised the bar with Asha Bhosle and Kunal Kapur, so it’s a tough one to answer. I think it will take us time to figure out how we can do this better.
Don’t miss it!
Flavours of Ramadan is a 15-episode show that airs on Sony Entertainment Television in English and Hindi/
— Joan Muwahed is an intern at Gulf News.