Here is a piece I had written about Saransh Goila whose book “India On My Platter” is going to be launched very soon.
When I first met Saransh Goila, way back in Dec 2012, he was in the midst of shooting for Roti Rasta aur India, India’s biggest food travelogue. I clearly remember Saransh, regaling Sourish Bhattacharya, Rachel Tanzer and me, with interesting little anecdotes about how he had to “un-train himself” and “unlearn” to learn new things, during the shooting of the various episodes of this popular television. I found him to be a young man full of passion for his craft, ready to take on the world.
Not much has changed between then and now, as I saw, while interacting with him, at an event organised by Kartikya Arora of ThnkMkt. Saransh still has the same drive, the same excitement, perhaps a little more confidence. He wears the hat of “India’s Youngest Celebrity Chef” very comfortably on his lean shoulders.
As someone who is getting a mention in the Limca Book of Records for being the first Indian chef to travel 20,000 kms of India by road in 100 days, to discover India’s rich and diverse food heritage , he appears rather modest. It is for this reason that he is rather fondly called Sadak Chef, as he believes in learning from people while traversing the country. “100 days on the road changes you as a person”, he says. Not one to shy away from hard work, he is open to experimenting and is credited with creating innovative dishes like Spaghetti Moily , which marries Italian with Kerala cuisine and several others like Pesto Golgappas , Oreos ke Pakore, Broccoli Bacon Paratha and Tindli Risotto and Kathal Tacos, to name a few.
It was always Saransh’s dream to become a television chef, something on the lines of Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay. He enrolled for an acting course and trained for 6 months with Barry John, to understand the nuances of acting, camera work and screen presence. He even managed to bring his weight down from a whopping 95 kgs to 66 kgs. Initially, he only wanted to do food focussed television shows. However, for a short while he tried his hand at Food Catering, and started his own company in Delhi. This venture did not really hold his interest for too long, and his love for television soon beckoned him back to the small screen. He worked with Chef Sanjeev Kapoor on the show Sanjeev Kapoor Ke Kitchen Khiladi. Presently, he is the Anchor and Chief Food Consultant on Food Food Channel. He would love to star in a feature film based on a food theme, like the recent hit “Lunchbox”.
Food has been central to Sarnash’s life since the young age of 12. So much so, that he would run home after school to catch the episodes of Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s Khana Khazana, which was aired every afternoon on Zee TV. Since he could only watch the last few minutes each episode, due to his school timings, all he learnt was how to make desserts. No wonder the first dish he tried out was a Jalebi, which he soon perfected. Surprisingly, now that his repertoire has increased, he finds it difficult to make a Jalebi.
Having gained fame and recognition at a relatively young age of 27, Saransh is blessed, as he has youth on his side .He believes in the power of dreaming, and has faith in his abilities to see his dreams come to fruition. Yes, he does plan on opening a restaurant serving Contemporary Indian Cuisine. However, he does not believe in all the drama associated with fancy molecular gastronomy, and according to him “it does not work for Indian Cuisine”. He tried making a Butter Chicken Foam once, and it was a far cry from the robustness of the real McCoy, made with dollops of Amul butter.
Despite all these plans, he is sure that he will always stay true to his first love which is the “camera” and will continue making food based television programmes. Like a good sweet boy, he still finds his mother’s cooking the best. Comfort food for him is a simple home cooked Sindhi meal.
It was a pleasure to watch Saransh whip up a mean Spaghetti Moily, in a matter of minutes, in the little kitchen at Zo Café. He believes in using simple and few ingredients and according to him Panch Poran, which is a blend of five spices, imparts more flavour to a dish, than a Garam Masala which has 20 spices.
Saransh’s passion for cooking and his mantra of “Simplicity & Innovation” will take him a long way.
By Lavina Kharkwal