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'Dad was my mentor'

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Celebrity chef Archana Arte credits her father for her cooking skills

Archana Arte is a celebrity chef, who learned cooking from her father Suresh Mangesh Baadkar. “We are used to showering our love and blessings on our Mom, but we often become selfish in expressing our love… our fathers,” she says. Here, she talks about her inspiration and role model, her mentor and closest childhood friend—her dad.

People generally ask me about my guru, from whom I learnt this skill. Two names come to mind; one is Mrs. Madhavi Kadam, who brought out the talent in me. The other, whom I cannot forget, is my father. It was from him that I inherited my cooking skills.

My father was my best friend in my childhood. He was a small businessman so he often took out time for me as he did not have fixed hours, whereas my mother was a working woman. Most of the time my father used to be with me during the day and arrange his time so that he could take care of me. This is when I learnt the art of cooking.

My father was the best cook I ever met. He used to cook special dishes for me and sometimes we kept snacks ready for my mother, when she arrived home. It gives me great pleasure to tell you that my mother learnt cooking from my dad after she married him.

Some of his signature dishes were Kanda bhaji, Karwari fish curries, Bangda kishmor, Coconut vadi, malai barfi and varieties of omelettes.

He gave me hands-on experience in buying different types of food items, especially a variety of fish. Today I am an expert in buying and cooking fish at its best.

My childhood and youth went along very well learning lovely dishes. Under my father’s supervision, my mother and I became confident cooks.

I got married and was told to become a housewife, but I wasn’t ready to just manage my house and children. My skills and talents took a drastic turn. I attended cooking classes at Madhavi Kadam and then even started cooking classes at home.  I took orders of snacks and various food items like chivda, chakli, laddoo, puranpoli, karanji, cakes and tiffin services. There were many students who praised me and with their blessings, support and cooperation from my near and dear ones around, there was no looking back.

I took another big step and was appointed as Back-Kitchen assistant in different food channels and programs such as E-tv and Saam Marathi from 2001 to 2010. There was also Me Marathi, with 50 episodes in the programme Mogara Phulala.

Soon I hosted cooking channels, presenting my recipes through India Food Network (IFN) in 2012. I first started from my aunt’s kitchen and later my journey expanded to studios such as Rajashri Productions (Ruchkar Mejwani with Archana) from 2013, Sanjeev Kapoor (Khana Khazaana) since 2016 and  Tasty Safar in Hindi, my own channel started on public demand on You tube since 2017.

I feel proud to be a part of all the food channels that I have worked with and am working for. I am sure my father would have given a proud pat on my back had he been alive. On Fathers’ Day, I miss him, but he is still present in me in the form of the talent and skill I imbibed. Happy Fathers’ Day, baba!

A special recipe from my dad

Kanda bhaji

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 Onions (long cut)
  • 1 bowl coriander
  • ½ tspn red mirchi powder
  • Salt as per taste
  • 1 cup besan flour
  • Oil as per requirement for deep frying.

PROCEDURE

  • Mix red chilli powder, salt, coriander in finely long cut onions and mix it properly. Sprinkle besan flour as needed, not in excess.
  • After that, heat oil in a frying bowl and deep fry small rounds of the mixture till reddish –brown in colour. Serve hot with chutney and ketchup.
  • For more of my father’s recipes, log on to Ruchkar Mejwani with Archana.
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