Chefs from various parts of the country tell us about the first ever meal they cooked for their special one and how it played Cupid in their love life.
Passion for good food strengthens our bond: Saransh Goila
“It is one of my favourite stories to tell of all time,” says the chef, as he narrates: “Back on July 25, 2017, I curated a lunch pop-up and made butter chicken. Suddenly, a strange request came to me. The team requested if they could get one vegan meal for an employee who will otherwise feel left out of this special meal. Considering our brand name is Goila Butter Chicken and there is nothing even remotely vegan about us, I wanted to say a plain no. But then, as a chef, I couldn’t. So I made rajma without ghee. As a chef, my curiosity peaked, and I asked them to introduce me to the vegan girl so that I could discuss her life choices. And yes, it was Divya! We had a great chat about veganism and how I should probably reconsider my life choices; it was definitely not love for either of us! We became Insta friends and eventually, it lead us on a path to a different kind of friendship. It took me almost six months after we followed each other to realise that rajma chawal had a purpose and being vegan is fun, too, and we fell in love with each other. While I’m a non vegetarian and she is a vegetarian, we both equally like going out for food experiences and curating them at home as well. It’s the passion for good food that sort of strengthens our bond. For instance, when we both travel, we are most excited to plan food experiences.”
We make food discoveries fun : Varun Inamdar
Married for 12 years, the chef says he met his wife, Tejashree, when they were kids. “Our families have known each other since forever. We were dating under their noses until one day, when the telephone bill screamed out loud. We have bonded over food, music, travel and lots of affection and respect for each other. Food, mainly, paved the way for us. I remember making some pudding for her long back, and she loved it. As a matter of fact, I have made several puddings and custards for her since, but I still haven’t been able to crack the recipe for what I made for the first time, when she became a fan! We both are foodies and try to visit every nook and cranny that we’ve either read of or heard about. We both love walking through cities and that makes food discoveries fun. We are both, literally, wanderers and explorers. We also love home-cooked meals as much as we love exploring while travelling. She hadn’t made even a cup of tea when we got married. But today, she can cook for an army! She cooks very well, she is one of the few who really impresses me,” gushes Inamdar.
Our conversations fructified on the dinner table: Vaibhav Bhargava
Married for 14 years now, the chef reveals that he first met his wife, Priyanka, at a cousin’s wedding, and the rest is history. “Initially, it was more like a ‘how to woo your woman’ kind of task for me. Priyanka is a vegetarian and I’m a non-vegetarian. But, I made vegetarian versions of my favourite non-vegetarian dishes. And luckily, she approved most of them. I remember serving my signature paneer tomato and touchwood, I myself was impressed by how much effort I put in to make sure she was happy and content with my culinary expertise. Good food leads to good mood; at least that’s how I like to think of it. Food brought us together… I have always loved to explore and my wife has been the wind beneath my wings. Our conversations have mostly fructified on the dinner table. So yes, it has definitely strengthened our lives,” he shares.
“We actually met through Hindustan Times matrimonial ads, and realised that our families knew each other,” says the chef, admitting it was a love-at-first-sight situation for him with his wife, Deepti. “Now, it’s 22 years since we got married! For our first date, I took Deepti to my old workplace in Oberoi, New Delhi. At that time, one of my batchmates was the executive chef and treated us like royalty! I still remember the song Kabhie Kabhie Mere Dil Mein [playing in the background]… I don’t actually remember what I ate, though, because I was busy looking at her! Later, I remember making cauliflower pulao for her for the first time (how very boring!), but she still says it was delicious. When we returned to the UK after our marriage, I first made spaghetti for her, in the finest Italian way, and I think she was bowled over by it. She still says that it is one of the best pastas she has had till date,” shares Kochhar.
The first meal did the trick for me: Sanjyot Keer
The chef reveals the first meal he cooked for his wife, Payal — who he has been married to for two years now — featured some of her all-time favourites. “I curated a menu that had appetisers, main course and desserts, with dishes such as pav bhaji, butter chicken biryani, cheesecake and much more. I had done a few fusion recipes and a special dessert that she likes. She absolutely loved what I cooked; this first meal did the trick I guess. The way to a woman’s heart is a good meal served as per her liking!” quips Keer, who met his wife six years ago through a mutual friend. He adds, “Payal is a chartered accountant by profession, and most of her time is dedicated to that. She doesn’t cook often, but loves to eat. And I love cooking for her. We enjoy going out on dates and exploring new restaurants every week. Food has become a prerequisite for how and where we plan our day off from work.”