The easy thing to do is to start with a bang. Yes, the launch issue of BBC GoodFood India was a thumping success – copies sold out within the first two weeks and we had to order a print rerun. Readers lapped up their favourite food magazine and devoured the content while the industry was all praise for the editorial range and depth of coverage. To celebrate the launch of the inaugural issue, we threw a lavish bash, hosted by Renaissance Mumbai and supported by chocolate partner Barry Callebaut and beverage partner Aspri Spirits.
All very well till we started work on the second issue. Having produced a ‘historic’ issue with the two living legends and Padma Shri awardees – Chefs Sanjeev Kapoor and Imtiaz Qureshi – on one cover and the pride of every Indian, Michelin-starred chef Vineet Bhatia, on the other, the biggest challenge we faced was how to get close – forget better or match – the feat.
However, my team loves nothing more than a challenge and we took it upon ourselves to think of something as historic. After several rounds of discussions – and head-banging! – we came up with what was without doubt a coup: cover story on the Kalras, the first family of Indian restaurant business, and how the father (Jiggs), the son (Zorawar) and the daughter-in-law (Dildeep) had collectively turned Massive Restaurants into the country’s most popular restaurant chain by reinventing Indian cuisine for the millennials.
I did not waste time and quickly got on a call with my buddy Zorawar, who loved the idea. Dildeep was game too and promised to get Jiggs to Pa Pa Ya for the shoot and interview. Next, I dialled my good friend and Consulting Editor Sourish Bhattacharyya (okay, I have spelt your name with double ‘y!’ this time). He knows Jiggs well and has covered him from his early days. I asked him to join me for the interview and he jumped at the idea.
What followed was an experience of a lifetime as the Kalras opened up like never before in a frank and candid conversation. Suffice to say that, as we wound up, Zorawar couldn’t help but say that this was the best interview he had ever given as Jiggs and Dildeep nodded their heads!
But that’s not all. In keeping with our launch issue, we decided to make it a double whammy by doing a second cover. The other one with the hugely talented chef and dear friend, Vidita Kamat. It was a subject most worthy of putting on the cover, I thought i.e. activated charcoal, the new food trend.
Vidita not only offered an insight into why activated charcoal has captured the imagination of food-lovers across the world but also presented a range of recipes – from smoothies to savouries to desserts – using it!
As photo shoots go, this was exceptional. For one, I saw the coy rather shy chef in the morning, who rather nervously presented her dishes for tasting in the morning, transform into the hot and fiery lass who thought nothing of playing with fire – literally – for the cover shoot in the evening as my “Woman Friday” Devhuti captured the magical, if mesmerising, metamorphosis!
So what are you waiting for? Turn the pages!
CEO & Editor-in-Chief