HomeFoodChef Harpal’s Secret: A ‘Tadka’ Of Laughter

Chef Harpal’s Secret: A ‘Tadka’ Of Laughter

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Chef Harpal’s Secret: A ‘Tadka’ Of Laughter


NEW DELHI, (IANS) – With a deep passion for food and an infectious smile, ‘energy chef’ Harpal Singh Sokhi has become a familiar face on television, not only sharing recipes but also entertaining viewers with his unique brand of humor and clever one-liners. He proudly declares, “That’s precisely why my audience ranges from two-year-olds to ninety-year-olds. You see, I’m already preparing the next generation to ensure my relevance for decades to come.”

Sokhi, whose latest book, ‘The Biryani Leader,’ was recently launched, credits it to years of contemplation and personal growth. Over his three-decade-long career, he has worked with renowned five-star hotels in the country and successfully launched multiple restaurants, including Karigari, BB Jaan, Dhadoom, Chika Chika, and Twist of Tadka. While chefs are typically taught that food is an art and science, Sokhi believes there is another vital element at play.

“Why do we often neglect management—both at the macro and micro levels? We place a pot on the stove, add spices and ingredients without realizing the oil is scorching hot, resulting in everything burning. Even the smallest details require attention and should be part of standard practice. I adhere to the Japanese principle of the 5S pillars of Japanese management—Sort (Seiri), Set in Order (Seiton), Shine (Seiso), Standardize (Seiketsu), and Sustain (Shitsuke)—which I believe should be followed in the kitchen,” explains Sokhi, an alumnus of IHM Bhubaneswar.

Viewing biryani as a wholesome dish, Sokhi recalls how he initially approached publishers with the idea of writing a book on food and management but was consistently urged to focus on a cookbook instead. “Why would I do that? There are already plenty of cookbooks available. My intention was to bring something groundbreaking to the table, deviating from the well-trodden path.”

Proudly donning his “unique chef coats and twin-colored turbans,” Sokhi anticipates that his book will be well-received. He also emphasizes that biryani is the most popular dish in the country, featuring over 50 ingredients, each contributing its own distinct flavor.

While Sokhi acknowledges the impact of social media on food enthusiasts, he advises caution and encourages critical evaluation rather than blindly following every trend. “You may come across ten different recipes for a dish. Take note of the common elements and assess them. Moreover, I firmly believe in seeking knowledge from locals—it’s important to value their wisdom,” advises Sokhi, who plans to open additional restaurants and lounge bars across the country this year.

Understanding that his state of mind significantly influences the outcome of his culinary creations, Sokhi shares a personal practice. Whenever he feels disturbed, he consciously refrains from approaching the stove. Instead, he entrusts his assistants with the task and takes a walk to regain inner peace. “Unless I am in harmony with myself, the final product will not meet my standards,” concludes the chef, who finds comfort in a bowl of biryani lovingly cooked by his wife.

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