I was born in Shimla and it took only nine years for the aromas wafting from my mother’s kitchen to cast their spell on me. My eyes could barely reach the top of the counter, but good food had to be within my reach! It didn’t take long for it to become part of my heart and soul. We were, and still are, a very close-knit family. My parents, brothers and I would spend our days and holidays together with food and laughter. That’s what first got me interested in food. It always represented good times. Virginia Woolf said, ‘One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.’ It couldn't be truer in my case. Food gave me strength and kept me going. 

Food was always my life; and cooking, my happy place. I’ve lived a life that’s been good, bad and ugly in parts, but cooking was the constant. My kitchen gave me so much peace and tranquillity that it served as my sanctum sanctorum. For me: Good Food equals No Compromise. I never served food that wasn’t perfect by my standards, and I never will. Thankfully these standards are always on the rise! From childhood, my life journeyed through food. I truly don’t know where I would be without it. It’s all I really know how to do! A big thanks to my parents who recognised that and registered me with MasterChef (Season 2). 

On the show, my journey with food reached a crescendo of sorts. It brought a new light into my life. All the bad is forgotten and I have reclaimed my life. It now overflows with good people and good vibes, all thanks to good food. After the MasterChef competition, food took on an entirely new meaning. The show taught me to respect food. And respect chefs. As a chef you have to be loyal to food. Do you ever wonder about the hands creating the delicacies you enjoy at a restaurant while celebrating a festival or special occasion? Well, a chef’s life begins when we are out for a Sunday treat, or decide to party at midnight, or while we are ringing in the New Year. 

The only motivation is a passion for food. Money is never the sole factor for a food professional. It can be earned anywhere. A chef’s life can be unappreciated. They toil behind the scenes and perhaps that’s why they are perceived as cold, tough taskmasters.