How does it feel to win the MasterChef India 2 title?
The feeling of winning the MasterChef India 2 title is unbelievable. In fact it was only when I saw a rerun of the show with my friends, I actually felt like I've won. After so many months of physical and mental struggle, I still haven't got over the routine of getting up early and preparing everyday. Yes, the feeling of victory has still to sink in.
You always say cooking is a stress buster. Now that you have won, what are your views?
Cooking is and will always be my first love. I would always want to be associated with food and make a mark in the culinary world. The title is a stepping stone for me because I honestly believe that food is a wide chapter, and there's much to explore.
What importance does this title hold for you?
This title is very important not just in terms of my career, but also for my personal life. I couldn't have been what I am now, if it wasn't for MasterChef India 2. Without fighting back or saying anything, I have answered all those people who used to look down upon me and thought I will never do anything in life. This title has given me a new life.
How has your journey in MasterChef India 2 been?
Though it was a journey full of troubles and challenges, I think it has been the most beautiful one ever. Winning the title has made everything that has happened in the MasterChef kitchen, whether good or bad truly worth it. Each one of us had so much fun. I particularly remember the HongKong trip where we really had an amazing time. From shopping for the ingredients to reaching late for the challenge, we've had a ball. And the best part is that I've made so many good freinds along the way.
According to you, what was the biggest risk you have taken in MasterChef India?
I think I took the biggest risk in the first part of the finale. When Akshay Kumar told us that the ingredients would arrive randomly on the conveyor belt, making a desert was definitely a gamble. Imagine instead of berries if I had got chicken, I would be in a soup. But everything worked for me and despite taking one of the biggest risk at such a crucial point, I was the first finalist to make it through.
What will you do with the one crore prize money?
There is a school for deaf, mute and blind children in Shimla and when I went there for the first time I was moved to tears. Though disabled and abandoned by their parents, the kids seemed so happy to be there. I am definitely going to donate a part of my prize money to the school so that it is better equipped with staff. I also want to brush up my culinary skills and educate myself a little more. Most importantly, I want to save money so that I can get the custody of my children back.
Besides hosting your own show, what's next for you? And who's going to London with you?
I would like to take my culinary abilities forward with a show on both travel and cooking. Almost certainly, I will start with the cuisine and culture of Himachal Pradesh. As for the London trip, I guess I'll take my elder brother along with me since he never gets time out of his job.
What is the first thing you did after you won the title? Any tips for aspiring chefs?
Oh! I celebrated with my family and friends. We had a pizza party and it was good fun. I would like to tell everyone that whatever you cook, prepare it from the heart and it will always turn out to be good. Love is an important ingredient most of us forget to bring with us in the kitchen. I firmly beleive that you should first please yourself with your food and then others.