Date and Time of broadcast : 16th Sep 2015, Wednesday at 9.30 pm
Presented Recipe: Sukka Kolim, Vanga ani Ool / Shrimps with brinjal and spring onions
Story: Chef Ranveer is a traveler exploring different cuisines across India. He meets me at the Khandoba temple at Colaba. I take him into the temple to partake in the Pooja. He is curious to know the unusual deity and the history of the temple. Then we cook together a breakfast of Sukka Kolim Vanga ani Ool and serve it with Goad ghari. After cooking we share the meal with the community.
It all began on 1 Dec when Rubeena from Zee Khana Khazana now LIVING FOODZ messaged me to send my co-ordinates, after a brief discussion on phone the next thing I knew was the following Sunday we were doing the recce of Colaba Koliwada together. We checked out many a kitchen but were unsatisfied with them. All of them were modern ones and the traditional Koli kitchen was lost to time in Colaba Koliwada. Rubeena took a lot of pictures to show to her team and we agreed on an open air kitchen setup as an alternative.
A rough plan was up on what we would want to showcase in the episode. I was told the shoot was on the 13th, a Saturday just 2 days ahead. This was not the most suitable day as there was an engagement in the community and the entire community was expected to go for it in bus-fulls outside Colaba, leaving it deserted. Inspite of it I took courage and talked to a lot of the community members. They were not really happy with the date as they were not going to change their plans of attending the engagement for this shoot. I had jitter bugs.
On Friday, a day prior to the shoot I decided to camp at Colaba to set up things. I ordered the veggies in the Colaba Market and collected ingredients required for the shoot. Gajanan Godkhav an old friend of my family stood by me. We spent that entire evening convincing the Bhagat or Koli pujari to stay back from the engagement and be available for the shoot. I am extremely thankful to Devendra Koli for the wonderful support he provided. He proclaimed, "I am there with you. We will try our best to make it a success!" Since none of the young women were going to be around I had given up hope on any dance sequence to be include in the story.
That night, at 1.30 am, mid December there was a rain storm, completely un-seasonal in Mumbai. Nature had gone wild and the breeze was roaring through trembling trees. I was at Sudarshan Dheer Kaka's home that faces the sea, we both woke up and stared outside. We were shaken to the bones. I wondered how the shooting would be possible the next day. Dheer kaka calmed me down saying the storm will subside by morning. He said it will go away the way it had come. After an hour the storm did calm down and we fell back in bed to catch a few winks before the next day dawned.
Then in the morning Rubeena called to tell they had started from Andheri, that assured me, they were a determined lot and the shooting was to happen as planned.
They reached the Khandoba temple which was our chosen location for the shoot and asked me to reach there too. I went to pick up the green veggies for the shoot and broke my chappal in the market. Fortunately there was a cobbler who did a swell job that morning. The Zee Khana Khazana (now LIVING FOODZ) team had set themselves up. I was a little late, Chef Ranveer saw me and received me with the warmest hug. After exchanging our greetings, He clicked and tweeted this picture of us just before we started our day.
I was only slightly nervous. I wanted to know if they had a script and asked Ranveer about it. Tusshar the creative director gave me the brief of the storyline. Ranveer insisted that we should not discuss further as he wanted to keep the spontaneity intact and enjoy my responses to his curious questions too!
I was already beginning to like Ranveer, down-to-earth and lovable. He smiled through the entire shoot of 4 hrs and that put me to ease. Whenever the team asked for a retake, Ranveer lead me appropriately to make it easy for me and so that it did not look like a clip off. He nudged me to look straight at him and not bother about the camera.
The funniest moment:
Was when we added green chilies to the oil, the pungent odor got straight up my nostrils while the tall and handsome chef kept stirring it with elan. We had all the people surrounding us, who were watching the shoot coughing out and followed by ripples of laughter. The cameras were happy capturing it!
The charged moment:
After the pooja when the group called out Jai Malhar! Sadananda cha Yelkot!!
The magical moment:
When Devendra started playing the dhol and the Aajis and Maushis who were sitting on the OTi of the Darbar started singing songs spontaneously. The atmosphere was like a wedding and I coaxed the women to do the ritual dance. The Aajis threw their walking sticks away and began to move gracefully in circles. I danced for the first time in my life to Koli songs and beat of the dhol. Ranveer joined them and the whole environment was filled with high energy. Personally this was the magical moment for me. It was a feeling of becoming one with your roots, a heady feeling.
The moment of calm:
Later when we sat down to eat with the community Ranveer asked me the meaning of AnnaParabrahma which is Food is Supreme. I explained how, the sanskar we give to food is what the food makes us irrespective of whether it is veg or non veg food. At this point, Ranveer was calm and almost meditative. That moment I discovered the real Ranveer and understood why he is this much loved and respected Chef Ranveer Brar!
Ranveer's comments on the recipe:
Ahaan! I am not telling here you must watch it on TV :)
Devendra said, "Kolim tagda banlay!"
Overall a fun experience with a very easy going team that is Zee Khana Khazana now LIVING FOODZ, Rubeena, Tusshar, Ambika, Jatin, George and everyone who was part of the shoot.
The certificate of appreciation and an autograph by Chef Ranveer Brar
Why you must watch the show:
1. To know the history of the Kolis
2. What their busy and risk filled lifestyle is like.
3. To see me dance for the first time in my life to Koli songs and dhol beats with all the Aajis and Maushis.
4. To watch how Malhari Martand or Khandoba is worshiped in this Darbar.
If that is not enough...
5. To watch me cook and present the recipe with Chef Ranveer Brar!
5. To watch me cook and present the recipe with Chef Ranveer Brar!
Good I did not know about Ranveer's achievements before the shoot. I had chanced on his blog, The food fables while I was trying to learn about him a few days before the shoot which I loved a lot for his deep thinking on the technicalities of food. What came across to me and touched me most is his spiritual outlook towards food and life. After the shoot I started browsing through his official site, www.ranveerbrar.com and it gave me goosebumps when it dawned on me that I have cooked with Chef Ranveer Brar who has a huge body of work and prestigious recognition and awards behind him.
That is the secret of his greatness, he is a young achiever but carries it lightly and is rooted to the ground. My wishes are with him however it is his giving nature that will bring him a lot of success and fame. God bless!