Five years after she won the first runner up at MasterChef India, Shazia Khan can finally call herself a chef. Having finished a stint in front of the camera for a food channel and another for the Good Food Guide in the Middle East, Bengaluru’s very own culinary talent is spending a few busy days with two new books and a masterclass in the offing.
“One of my books is ready. It was always ready, because it focuses on food that is close to my heart. It delves into the memory of the recipes passed on to me by my grandmother and mother and takes the reader to the food that I have cooked for the people I loved,” says Shazia whose toughest critics are her two sons, aged 20 and 16 years.
For her second book, Shazia has taken upon herself the fundamentally difficult task of telling the story of Muslim cuisine in India. “After doing preliminary research, I realised that I had friends and family in all the places of historical and culinary importance. So now, all that is left for me to do is to visit these places which hide treasures of a Malabar biryani or a Mughlai kebab — to go and get a taste of the real thing and tell a story that has not been told before,” says Shazia, whose days are busy with sessions with chef friends, these days.
“I usually go over to a friend’s cooking studio these days. There we spend endless hours testing and tasting each recipe that I am to include in a book or a show. Then we photograph them and finally, dig into them. The past five years have led me into a life altering journey. I have always had a connection with food, but now I seem to have indeed become a chef, after hours of research and study,” says the woman who also manages the Delhi Public School in Bengaluru.
When it comes to her own kitchen, Shazia loves nothing more than to tuck into a plate of seafood prepared by herself. She says, “I love the texture and flavour thrown up by seafood. So I cook and eat it with equal fervour. Another kitchen favourite of mine is Thai food — for the perfect balance it throws up!”...