Making proud of the white jacket of hospitality industry, India’s most talented Grand Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor has been conferred with the “Padma Shri”, India’s fourth highest civilian honour by the President of India for year 2017. He is a Chef, a host, an author of cookbooks and a restaurant consultant.
He is solo Indian chef who has been a household name for at least two decades. Kids and women used to engross on their TV sets to watch his path breaking show; Khana Khazana which began in 1990 till it went off the screen. Recently he launched his own food channel, Food Food which is now a part of prestigious Discovery Channel. He is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine.
Sanjeev Kapoor while speaking to Mumbai Messenger said “Padma Shri is a biggest recognition for me till date and a proud moment for me. It is a validation of my decision to go for off-beat career. In the journey of my professional life, many people discouraged me to think out-of-the box. But I followed my inner voice and accepted the challenge. The outcome is clearly visible to the world”.
Chef Kapoor dedicated this recognition to the chef community by saying, “It will act as a motivation for lot of young people in the country and look at chef profession as a rewarding career option”.
This is the second year in succession that the government of India has selected a Chef for the highest civilian recognition. Chef Imitiaz Qureshi, Grand Master Chef of ITC Hotels received Padma Shri last year. It is customary to select high-ranking individuals from different areas for this award. This year, a list of 89 people has been announced by the government of India. Chef Sanjeev Kapoor has been selected for the award under the category of “culinary” taking into account his contributions to Indian cuisines and hospitality.
Sanjeev Kapoor was born in Ambala in Haryana spent most of his childhood in New Delhi.His father Surendra Kumar Kapoor was Director in State Bank of India where as mother Urmil Kapoor is Home-maker. His brother Rajeev Kapoor is leading Chartered Accountant (CA) based in Delhi. He is married to Alyona Kapoor, who is also part of his joint venture, Turmeric Vision Pvt. Ltd.
He started in the hospitality industry in1984 with a Diploma in Hotel Management from the Institute of Hotel Management (IHM) Pusa, New Delhi. He did his MBA from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) Mumbai. He did his secondary and higher secondary education from Government school as it was walking distance from his home in Delhi. He didn’t want to waste his precious time traveling to and from home to school in the bus. And of course this school was a model school created by the Government with all modern facilities including a Olympic sized swimming pool.
Sanjeev wanted to be an engineer before a friend persuaded him to go into cooking. Soon after completing his IHM diploma, he started his career as management trainee at ITDC’s Ashok Hotel in New Delhi. He has worked in all the kitchens of Ashok hotel. He was posted in New Zealand in ITDC’s restaurant. It may sound unbelievable but true, the PM of New Zealand used to patronize this restaurant frequently to relish Sanjeev’s creation.
He was posted in Moscow with ITDC. Subsequetly, he became Chef for Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Thereafter he then joined Centaur Hotel Juhu Beach as Executive Chef.
While working for Centaur Hotel in Mumbai, he was invited to host a cooking show at a TV channel, named “Shriman Bawarchi”. Later it was renamed as “Khana Khazana” on insistence of Chef Kapoor. The show made him a household name as it had a large audience following.
AWARDS AND ACCOLADES/strong>
Some of the noted awards received by him are as follows:
· Recipient of India’s fourth highest civilian award Padma Shri in 2017.
· Recipient of the Best Executive Chef of India Award by H & FS magazine
· Recipient of Mercury Gold Award at Geneva Switzerland by Indian Federation of Culinary Associations.
· Panel member on Singapore Airlines as one of the members of its International Culinary Panel.
· Nominated by the Fundación Consejo España India (Spain India Council Foundation, Spain) as one of 10 future Indian leaders among other notable professionals like Alok Nanavaty, Sunitha Raju, Sanaa Arora, Reuben Abraham, Samarth Singh and Indrajit Hazra.
As a special invitee chef, he was flown to UAE to prepare a special vegetarian feast for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to prepare a vegetarian meal in 2015. The dinner was hosted by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA). He was a celebrity judge on MasterChef India Season 3 Star Plus. He is selected by HRD ministry to prepare menu of food to be served at all Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas and to train the cooks of these residential schools. He also introduced a culinary art course at Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies, Pune.
He remains one of the most decorated, known faces of Indian food to the world and has been a part of CNN’s illustrious list of World Celebrity Chefs. He is the world’s first chef to co-own a 24/7 food channel. His 36 books (of the 150, which are mostly curated recipes) have sold a whopping 10 million copies.
Inspiration and support
Says Kapoor, My parents were biggest support to me when I choose to enter hospitality course from IHM Pusa. My father, late Surendra Kumar Kapoor was very well known banker and great inspiration to me. Cooking was his hobby. He gave me the initial boost to try out new combinations. My mother Urmil Kapoor cooks vegetarian food, and her style is simple yet distinct. My brother Rajeev Kapoor who is a well known Chartered Accountant also supported me in my choice of profession.”
He is always thankful to Anil Bhandari former MD of ITDC and HCI. Mr. Bhandari saw hidden talent and encouraged him whole-heartedly. He was instrumental in bringing Kapoor to Mumbai as Executive Chef of Centaur Hotel Juhu Beach as he saw a burning desire in him to achieve greater heights.
Rajiv Kaul – President, The Leela group of hotels and Resorts
“I am absolutely delighted that Sanjeev’s immense contribution has been thoughtfully recognised. His TV shows were instrumental in bringing gastronomy into the mainstream and ushering young talent to choose the culinary domain as a career option.”
Deepak Ohri – Chief Operating Officer Lebua group of Hotels Bangkok
It is such an honor for Indian hospitality industry and especially chefs worldwide that chef Sanjeev Kapoor has been bestowed with padma Shri. This recognition for him well deserved in professional field but for me who knows him for almost two and half decade, this recognition to him is for his humility, hardwork, and for being our own hospitality ambassador to the world. This award is for every Indian and for every professional in world who has his country at heart and dedication to put only the best while staying humble.
Tarun Thakral – Chief Operating Officer, Le Meridien Hotel Delhi
Super awesome and totally deserved it. Sanjeev has been an innovator in cuisine and am very happy that he got this special recognition. He always remained a step ahead from others, stayed updated from latest technologies and latest global food trends. He is creative, outgoing and a proved to be a superb team leader.
Romil Ratra, Director Bellona Hospitality
“I have the utmost respect for Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, and was very happy to learn that he was recently conferred the Padma Shri award. He is the original Indian celebrity TV chef – he became a household name with his approachable, easy going and creative recipes. He has only built his brand organically over years by garnering love and affection of his followers; he is also one of the first and few to take Indian cuisine to international waters while still retaining India as his home base. His versatility from TV Chef to restauranteur is one I truly admire. It’s also a matter of great pride to be part of the same industry as him, and it’s also encouraging to witness one of our contemporaries being conferred the “National Honor”, it’s symbolic of great achievement and much overdue recognition for the industry.”
Grand Master Chef Satish Arora, former Director Taj group of hotels
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor brought name and fame to chef’s fraternity in India which is very commendable. He is a precious “Gem” and an asset to Indian hospitality industry. This is for the second year that the Chef fraternity has been recognised by the Government of India by conferring Chef Imtiaz and Chef Sanjeev with the highest civilian award Padam Shri. It is a matter of pride for Chefs across India that our profession is held in such high esteem. I truly believe this to be a catalyst to entice the new generation of India to consider our profession as a preferred choice. I have witnessed the journey of Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and feel truly proud of the heights he has taken the Indian Cuisine to.
Anil Bhandari former MD ITDC – HCI
I am delighted that Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is being honoured with the Padma Shri by Government of India. It is well deserved as he is the only chef in the country who has been promoting Indian cuisine across the world in his inimitable style. Many more young people would like to join the profession. The award will encourage our chefs to make India the Cuisine Capital of the world.
K B Kachru – Chairman Emeritus and Principal Advisor, Carson Rezidor Hotel Group South Asia
Sanjeev Kapoor’s Padma award is a great honor to him personally and to the hospitality industry. His knowledge, innovative, entrepreneurial and training skills has helped to globalize Indian cuisine. He has positioned him as the best ambassador of modern Indian cuisine. This will encourage the entire chef community and enhance the food and beverage offerings going forward. And in my opinion Padma Shri is a beginning of his recognition. I am sure he would be decorated with Padma Bhushan and of course, Padma Vibhushan too in a period to come”.
Manjit Singh Gill – Corporate Chef ITC Hotels
Sanjeev Kapoor is a singular Chef of India who made the white jacket proud. His consistent presence on television keeps the food and Chefs in minds of people with respect and honour. Sanjeev will remain the “Role Model” for the future Chef. Sanjeev is a modern chef and always think out of the box. His role was not just in the kitchen but he has shown his multi talent, which made him different from others. One man with many talents brought him to next level of chef”.
Report: Sitaram Mewati