In an interview to Restaurant India, Chef Aanal Kotak of The Secret Kitchen talks about creating food magic.
Who would have ever though that the chirpy chef from The Rasoi show (a very popular TV show on Colors Gujarati) will one day end up being one of the biggest food entrepreneurs of India. Taking inspiration from simple things in life, Chef Aanal Kotak has worked on to create magical dishes in her kitchen. And, entrepreneurship just came along over the course of time with her first restaurant The Secret Kitchen, a fine dine setup, which became an instant hit with the customers.
“Well I don’t think I ever thought that I would be an entrepreneur. I was and I am a chef. Entrepreneurship is something that came along,” shares Kotak, who thinks entrepreneurship is synonymous to being a chef. Her innate understanding of Indian flavours in contemporary food has changed the way people perceive and experience Indian cuisine. As much as she loves experimenting with Indian flavours and spices, she loves baking cakes. She’s one of those rare ones who don’t mind going dirty with spices and baking goodies, with equal élan. “Our society is designed in such a weird way that home kitchens mean women and professional kitchens mean man,” adds Kotak who was not allowed to go to hotel school. And, seven years down the line, she has disrupted the way people have thought a woman would do in a man’s kitchen.
PLAYING WITH FLAVOURS
“I open my spice box, which I fondly call Masaliyu, to touch the spices and it gives me a fantastic feeling,” laughs Chef Aanal, who is attracted towards ancient food culture and traditions. “I’m getting attracted to all the ancient methods, techniques, ingredients and recipes,” she further adds as she is studying, researching and travelling to know more about methods of cooking in the ancient times and royal era.
With a quirky personality, Aanal wears many hats, fashion designer, author, TV star, but the incomparable of them all is the chef inside her. Her definition of good food is something that enriches the mind, body and soul. “You can’t go monotonous in this industry. Every day gives you new inspiration and everyday you can create something magical in your kitchen,” she smiles adding that no other business has the privilege to invent something every other day. “When I touch my spices, I feel like I’m alive,” she concludes.