TCB: How did your career as a professional Chef start?
CHEF: I have always been passionate about food and cooking. If I go out and eat something, I try recreating it when I come home. My father, brother and husband have always supported me. When they saw how passionate I was about it, they suggested that I should go for it. Their support encouraged me to take it up as a profession.
TCB: You have worked in Dubai and Pakistan, is there a massive difference between the two food industries?
CHEF: There is a huge difference between them. Usually, in Pakistan when you are cooking, and you cannot find a specific ingredient, you can find alternatives. In Dubai, however, they can be very strict when it comes to professional cooking. They drill it into your heads that your food is the star, not you. You cannot compromise on any ingredient, in the presentation or anything at all.
My father, brother and husband have always supported me. When they saw how passionate I was about it, they suggested that I should go for it. Their support encouraged me to take it up as a profession.
TCB: What inspires you in your cooking?
CHEF: I love experimenting and tasting different kinds of food. I love to recreate dishes I have eaten or tasted; I love experimenting with them. It feels great when you recreate something, if people end up liking it and give you a positive response.
TCB: Which cuisine is your favorite?
CHEF: I love Italian cuisine. The pasta, the meat, it is all delicious.
TCB: Who is your favorite chef?
CHEF: I like Gordon Ramsay. He is fantastic when it comes to cooking. I had the opportunity to watch him cook during one of my classes, and he was truly wonderful. The way he plays with his ingredients and enjoys himself in the kitchen is inspiring to watch.
TCB: Which famous chef’s cooking do you like the least?
CHEF: I cannot answer that it seems so bad. Honestly, I think it depends on your preferences. Some people have a completely different palate than others. So I cannot say which chef cooks the least good because everyone is right in their own niche.
TCB: If you were not a Chef then what would you be?
CHEF: If I weren’t a chef, I would have been a restauranteur. Food is my passion so I would’ve found a way in the food one way or another.
TCB: You have worked on ARY Zindagi’s morning show “Salam Zindagi” with Faisal Qureshi. How has that experience been?
CHEF: Faisal is such an amazing person. He is truly the nicest and very humble. He is honest and hardworking as well; I like him. Working with him has been a great experience because he has helped me be comfortable throughout the show. I remember being starstruck the first day on set when I met him for the first time. I was nervous since it was my first time on a television show, but he made me feel comfortable, and now the set is like my second home.
TCB: Do you think taste is in the hands of the one who cooks or the recipe?
CHEF: The recipe is essential, but the taste is in the hands of the cook for sure. It is like magic in their hands that makes all the difference.
TCB: You must have explored all the restaurants in Karachi, so which one is your favorite?
CHEF: I like Kolachi. It has such a great ambience, and their traditional Pakistani food is also amazing. The atmosphere makes the experience of eating food there ten times better.
TCB: What message do you have for young chefs who want to make it big like you?
CHEF: For any young people out there and not just aspiring chefs, I want to tell them never to give up. Failure is the first step towards success. You have to keep trying and giving your best until you finally achieve what you want. Do not let the negative criticism and comments steer you from your goal, be determined.
TCB: What would you make if you have following people as a guest in your home:
• Imran Khan? Buffet.
• Bilawal Bhutto? Imarti.
• Nawaz Sharif? Vegetable soup.
• Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed? Nihari.
TCB: Dessert or main course?
TCB: Pakistani or International cuisine?
TCB: Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver?
Gordon, of course.
TCB: Eat out or at home?
TCB: Cooking on television or at home?
Cooking at home.
TCB: Cook by recipe or make it up as you go?
Making it up.
TCB: Foodie or diet conscious?
TCB: If you were allowed to commit one murder, who would be your victim?
I can’t say.
TCB: If you got to lead the government for one day, what would you do first?
Let’s see if that ever happens.
TCB: One thing in cooking you hate the most?
When you cannot create the exact taste you want, it makes me want to cry out of frustration.
TCB: If you had the chance to invite a celebrity guest over for dinner who would it be?
Faisal Qureshi and Sahir Lodhi.
TCB: Which weird food combination trend do you not like?
Achari flavoring for everything.