Vinod Bhardwaj, who after spending years as quality manager in business writing at Philips, took up cooking at the age of 70, he never knew that this household chore will make him a celebrity on the Facebook page of Chef At Large.
As they say necessity is the mother of all inventions. Bhardwaj’s foray into kitchen was also a result of a necessity.
In an exclusive chat with Haalo, Bhardwaj explained his culinary journey that has made him the most ‘liked’ person on the Chef At Large page.
“As a quality manager, you undergo certain processing speed or manufacturing and service rotate function. I have good experience as far as processes are concerned. My wife was not well when I retired so I thought of taking this job in my hand.”
Three years ago, when he joined the group, his first post had just 2 likes. Today, he is one of the most popular persons at Chef At Large.
“The owner of Chef at Large informed me that I have got more than 90,000 likes – highest for any person at Chef at Large. Last week, he declared me as the popular person on Chef at Large because of my following and connectivity with various persons.”
Bhardwaj ‘s main recipe for success is simplicity and respect for women. “I have lot of respect for my wife because I feel that now she is not well, she should be taken care of. She can’t stand properly because of her multiple fractures and other problems. I’m managing the entire house and most of the followers are getting influenced because of this that I take care of my wife and I speak with love to all the children who are following me.”
Talking about his new-found fame, Bhardwaj says: ” I’m neither a chef nor a cook. At the age of 70 one needs to eat healthy food – less spices and oil. Besides, I did not want to depend on any cook. That’s why I thought that why not start making my own curries and when I started they turned out very good. Besides, what spurred me was immediate 200-300 likes on pictures I posted.
As far as his favourite cuisine is concerned, Bhardwaj says he is very simple and down to earth man. So, matar alaoo is something he likes very much. Matar paneer and Mukund curry are also among his favourites.
On the question of healthy yet tasty food, Bhardwaj says it is very difficult to strike a balance between the two as sometimes food can be tasty but not healthy. “I try to experiment and try new combinations to make food tasty and healthy. Moreover, the food should look attractive. For example, one of the USPs of my dishes is the colour. The colour of my curries is very good. The curries are red but have less oil. I use lot of tomatoes and onions in curries to make them look good and tasty.”
This master chef may be very good at cooking curries but pleating flour (aata) for making chapatis is not his cup of tea. “I don’t have that kind of patience. That’s why I don’t make chapatis. For chapatis we have a maid.”
When it comes to recognition and appreciation, Bhardwaj says the biggest compliment is when people say, “aapka khana dekh ke mujhe maa ki yaad aa gyi” or “I miss my mother when I see your food”.
“It feels so good. This is something which I’m very proud of.”