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Inside Story Chef Sanjeev Kapoor

(06/26/2013)

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor was born at Ambala in the year 1964. Sanjeev’s father was in State Bank India. They travelled to places like delhi, Meerut, Saharanpur and agian to delhi where Sanjeev’s father was transferred. Sanjeev did his schooling from all these places. In Meerut Sanjeev studied at St. Thomas School. Co-education was till 5th at St. Thomas School and only girl’s education after that. From 5th he studied at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Runjab Regimental Centre in Meerut Kent. In Saharanpur, Sanjeev studied in St Marry’s Academy till 8th. After that Sanjeev’s father got transferred to delhi. Sanjeev was good at studies so there was no problem for him in getting admission in good school. He lived at Rajauri Garden in Delhi and studied at Government School, which was just 200 meters away from his home. It was considered a model school with swimming pool and everything. It had very good faculty. The government started 3 to 4 model schools which were better than the private school at that time. He studied there from 9th to 12th.

In Delhi at class 9th when all other students of class were studying Hindi, Sanjeev studied Sanskrit. If others are doing one thing and Sanjeev loves to do other. Sanjeev did very well in Sanskrit and scored very good marks. He was always in the top five in school.

Sanjeev took biology as his main subject after 9th. There were only two options for the students, to become an engineer or become a doctor, Sanjeev preferred the later one. In his 2nd or 3rd class, Sanjeev was told to draw the electron microscope. Sanjeev was very excited. When he made it, he thought it was the best in the class. He took it to the teacher, she wrote ‘label it’ on the whole diagram with the red pen and made the diagram dirty. Sanjeev got very angry with that act of the teacher. That changed the direction of his life. Sanjeev did very well in engineering drawing. He scored above 80 % marks in 12th. Sanjeev didn’t want to do which other was doing. He didn’t give any of the exams like IIT etc. Sanjeev wanted to do something which none of his relatives or the family member did or doing. Sanjeev got to know about school of planning and architecture in Delhi. There were only 15-20 seats all over the India. Sanjeev gave the exam but was in the waiting list. He never thought of that and about reservations.

One of the Sanjeev friends Jasmit Singh ‘Sunny’ who lived close to him was filling the form of hotel management at that time. Sanjeev had never thought of doing hotel management as it was for those who don’t get admission anywhere. Sanjeev filled that form, got the interview call but he didn’t go for the interview. Jasmit came to Sanjeev and asked him about the interview. When Jasmit found that Sanjeev hasn’t gone there, he got bit angry. Sanjeev then with Jasmit went for the interview. There was a big hall where all the candidates were sitting. They were discussing that one need to have contacts to get admission. Sanjeev thought deserving candidate do get the admission. He went for the interview to prove himself. When the interview panel saw Sanjeev marks they thought he is not going to take admission. But Sanjeev insisted to take admission. Sanjeev has 99 marks in maths. They asked him to write ’11 thousand, 11 hundred and 11′. It was a trick question. Sanjeev gave the right answer. He was the first one to give the right answer. Sanjeev got admission but he never thought of doing the course. That was ‘Pusa Institute of Hotel management’. Sanjeev was confused whether to do the architecture course or the management course. Sanjeev told his father’s friend, Pankaj, about his confusion. Pankaj then told him to do hotel management course. It’s a creative and different one and Sanjeev loves doing things which are different from others. Sanjeev asked him about the architect course as it is also a creative and different field and no one in his family or relatives or friends are doing. Pankaj told him one good line that ‘it is better to excel in mediokar line than being mediokar in excellent line’. Hotel management was considered as a mediokar line and architect was considered a good profession. Sanjeev understood what he meant and joined the hotel management course in ‘pusa institute of hotel management – Catering and Nutrition’, Delhi. Sanjeev studied there. Sanjeev learnt about food, serving, catering, accountancy etc. in 3 years. Asian games were held at Delhi in 1982. All the students (including sanjeev kapoor) of Pusa Institute were doing all the catering and food service for about 6000 athletes in that game. Sanjeev saw huge variety of foods and caterings there. All the college staffs were needed there. Sanjeev was serving pineapple juice. It was a great experience for Sanjeev. Sanjeev had taken so much of pineapple juice for that one month then he didn’t take the pineapple juice for next 20 years. Whenever Sanjeev sees pineapple juice, he remembers the 1982 Asian games. In college Sanjeev did everything including the strike against college, debates, ‘just a minute’ etc. Sanjeev used to participate in all the competitions.

They had campus placements. People went to different chains. Some went to Taj, some to Oberoi’s, some went to ITDC’s. There were only two chains which offered management trainee programmes, one was Oberoi’s and the other was ITDC’s. Sanjeev graduated in 1984. Sanjeev initially wanted to join the Oberoi as it was considered very good in kitchen. But when Sanjeev and his friends were told that they would be given fried kitchen, they immediately went for ITDC. Sanjeev, Rupesh, Vikas, Saket , Deepak jolly, Sanjay Chopra, Sanjay jog and Sameer Puri, all joined ITDC. Sanjeev did 2 years of training in different hotel like ITDC ashok hotel. Sanjeev’s training centre was in Delhi. He was the posted as chef under study in Hotel Varanasi Ashok 6 months. The GM of the hotel thought Sanjeev was very good. He made Sanjeev the Executive chef there. Sanjeev was in Varanasi for 6 years. The chef that replaced Sanjeev was his wife’s sister ‘Vandana’. Alyona came with her sister. He came to Delhi and joined ITDC hotel Samrat for 6 – 8 months. Sanjeev was there in ITDC for about 8 months but he was looking for a job change and then he came to Santor group of hotels in Mumbai and was there for 5 years.

Sanjeev was always a trendsetter in his industry. When Sanjeev was in Varanasi as an understudy chef, general manager of the hotel told him that though he has come as a trainee, he can head the chef staff. He was just 27 years old at that time. There was an award for the best executive chef of the country and Sanjeev was nominated for that. It was the first time that a chef from public sector hotel has nomination for that award. Sanjeev missed the award that year. Again in next year he was nominated for the same award and in that year he got the award.

Sanjeev reached at the top very early in his career. Zee TV was just launched at that time. One day somebody from Zee approached him and told him that zee wanted him to do the cookery show. Then there were discussions about the show. Initially the show was named ‘Shrimaan Bawarchi’. Sanjeev had some problem with the name of the show. All the other chef’s were happy to do that show because it is going to be on air on TV & to be seen on the television was a big thing that time. Channel asked Sanjeev to suggest other names for the show. Sanjeev suggested them several names and ‘khana khajana’ was one of them. Producers convinced the channel for the new name and the show started. Initially Sanjeev was supposed to do only one episode, but after seeing the Sanjeev’s interest in the show, the producer asked Sanjeev to be the food consultant for the show. Sanjeev accepted that offer. The show got phenomenal response and it’s now completing 13 years. Sanjeev don’t believe in short term. The publisher who has published his first book remains the publisher for eight years.

Achievements

Sanjeev Kapoor was the host of the famous cookery show ‘Khana Khazana’ which was telecast on Zee TV.

He launched Sanjeev Kapoor’s Khana Khazana in 2010 which is his line of ready-to-cook meals.

Sanjeev Kapoor is the brand ambassador for Sweekar Advanced, a sunflower oil brand in India.

Personal life

Sanjeev married after he came to Mumbai. The reason for shifting from Delhi to Mumbai was the change Sanjeev needed and the fact that Alyona also shifted from Delhi to Mumbai. Sanjeev was in touch with Alyona at Delhi. Alyona’s father retired from navy and came to Mumbai. They lived at juhu and the hotel Sanjeev joined was also at juhu. In 1992 Sanjeev came to Mumbai and married to Alyona in that year.

Awards

Sanjeev Kapoor has been awarded as Best Executive Chef of India by H & FS

He has been felicitated with The Mercury Gold Award at Geneva, Switzerland by IFCASingapore Airlines recruited him as one of the members of its “International Culinary Panel”.

Source: Inside Story Media

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.