Sanjeev Kapoor: “The Art of Cooking” | Talks at Google


[MUSIC PLAYING] APRAJITA JAIN: Hi, everyone. I’m Aprajita. I work for Executive Client
Summits and Ad Sales. And more importantly, I’m a
passionate cook, a foodie, and also a big supporter
of Akshaya Patra, a nonprofit organization that
enabled Chef’s visit here today. So thank you so
much, Akshaya Patra. And thank you so much, Chef,
for coming and visiting us at Google today. Before we start, I
want to remind everyone to please be mindful of
Chef’s attendance here. He is a very special guest. We want to ensure that he has
a very special experience here at Google. So while you can feel free
to take pictures and videos while we’re doing
the talk, please don’t jump up afterwards
to ensue a selfie frenzy. You will have plenty of
pictures from in here. And then we have
videographers who will be recording the talk for you. Every one of us at
Google likes to work on projects that work in many
different areas of our field but also help
billions of people. So all of our products,
including Gmail, Search, Maps, YouTube, they touch
billions of lives. But Chef Kapoor, you have
touched billions of lives through their heart
and into their stomach. So we are very, very happy
to have you here and ask you some questions about
yourself, your career, but also your involvement
with Akshaya Patra. And I will share a
story about myself, how I got involved
with Akshaya Patra. So in 2009, I was
visiting India. My parents live in Germany. They were also visiting. And one morning, my dad
woke up at 6 o’clock. And he wakes me up. He’s like, Aprajita, I need
you to wake up and go somewhere with me. I said, it’s 6 o’clock, Dad. Come on, I’m on a vacation. He said, no, I’ll
take you somewhere that will change
your life forever. And I said, OK, fine. So I woke up. He took me to the Jaipur
kitchen of Akshaya Patra. They have a facilities in
the outskirts of Jaipur, very large facilities. And he gave me a
tour of the kitchens there and of all the people that
work there every single day. And he made me meet the
leadership team there. They were telling me about
their cause and what all that they’ve been doing to
take Akshaya Patra to where it is today. The one thing that struck me
is that everybody working over there was so selfless. They weren’t doing it
for their own good. But they were doing
it for the good of the kids that are served
these Akshaya Patra meals. This is an organization that has
its presence in over 11 states now. They feed 1.6 million children
every single day across India. And the only reason is,
if kids come to school and get that free
meal, the parents are willing to send
their kids to school. So there’s no child
labor anymore. And the kids get
a nutrition meal and get their education
throughout until they graduate. A lot of those case studies
have actually now started to get their first jobs
and are volunteering back at Akshaya Patra. So that’s how my story evolved
and how I got involved. And ever since, I’ve been
a supporter of this cause. But I want to know
from you, how did you get involved in Akshaya Patra? When did you hear about it? SANJEEV KAPOOR: Right. Thank you, Aprajita. Good morning, everyone. So she’s a passionate cook. I’m passionate and a cook. [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: And so my
story with Akshaya Patra– see, Akshaya Patra is as a– I know this ball that is there. It’s in our– I had heard stories of that it’s
a pot which never goes empty, and all of that. So when I heard
of Akshaya Patra, I said, OK, I have to know
what is it being used for. What is it? It’s a great branding thing. It was something
which was perfect. But what are these guys doing? And so I came to know,
OK, this is what they do. And then I was involved
with the Midday Meal program of government. And they wanted me to do
something about the food, how to make it healthy,
what kind of calories, what nutrition, grammages,
and all of that. So I was doing that. And then there was ISKCON. They were doing their bit. And they were moving in
all different directions. And I would say, oh, wow,
everyone is doing this. So whatever I could do, I would
talk about this a little bit but in a very unstructured way. And I realized that, as I
started to grow my businesses, that food has given me so much. Whatever I have, it’s
thanks to power of food. So that is the
importance of food. So people ask me what
does food mean to me. And I say, food is my life. That’s what it is. So if it is so
important, then I have to make sure that
I have to do more, use the power of food in
a more meaningful way. So we started doing
things on our own. feed at times some
schools, randomly. Maybe someone’s birthday,
we’ll go and donate some food. We’ll do all that. Then from there, we grew on
to donating to a bigger– in a more consistent way, on a
monthly way, and all of that. And then while we were
taking our baby steps, I started to notice that
Akshaya Patra was doing things in a more systematic way. And what caught my
eye and attention was that here was an
organization which had a great set of people
who were managing it, leading it, and doing it in a very
structured way, because I know the size of the problem. So when I saw that,
and I saw the numbers, that caught my
attention, that one child can be fed for one full
year for $15, which means that you have the power– yeah, let’s say,
I’m sure all of you have this power to
adopt at least 200 kids, which means $3,000 in a year. Adoption of 200 kids? Is that the power that
all of us here have? Fantastic. That’s something. So when I saw that, that they
have kept all the costs so low. And there’s one way of managing
costs in a very frugal way. But the other thing is
bringing in efficiencies. I think that’s what
Akshaya Patra does. So I started to understand
a little bit more. So about a couple of
years ago, this brand that I endorse, they
did did a marketing tab with Akshaya Patra
that’s sugar free. And that’s where I
met the CEO, Shridhar. And he invited me
and says, you must come to Bangor, which I did. But I was keeping the track– I knew what was happening. And last year, my wife’s friend,
she is at the Houston chapter. She contacted her
and says, we would like to do some
fundraising using Sanjeev. So would it be OK? So as soon as she spoke to
me, and both of us said, no, no, this is something
that we have to do. And once we did that, and
that that’s where we met– [INAUDIBLE] I, we
talked about it. And here we are again
trying to do this, because what do we realize? See, we do multiple businesses. But if I were to
say numbers-wise, the contribution– so and this is something which
I normally say in India– that we in India have not
learned the art of giving well. We are not great givers. We’re not. We have to learn
it from America. The Americans have learned the
art of giving very well, much better than what we do. But the dichotomy here was
that when I got the numbers, I realized in Akshaya
Patra’s case, actually, the numbers of India
are much bigger. And US is very good. But I think the total
impact that this country can have, or Akshaya Patra,
in terms of contribution can be many fold. APRAJITA JAIN: I think
the credibility also comes from the fact that
Akshaya Patra is also partly government funded. So there’s a stamp
of credibility that it’s actually a
genuine organization. And it’s regarded
by our government as something worthy
enough to contribute to. So that adds to people
wanting to do that as well. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Yeah,
I think the credibility comes from the kind of people. I think the set of
people that are all involved with
Akshaya Patra, they are highly credible people. So I think it’s
something where I would say that Akshaya
Patra’s credibility is higher. So I think it’s a win-win. It’s a win-win where
the Midday Meal program, where it was not
something that it– even today, it happens
without Akshaya Patra in a few states, a few places. Not everywhere, it’s done
through Akshaya Patra. But wherever it is done
with Akshaya Patra, it’s done more effectively,
more efficiently. So I think it’s
[INAUDIBLE],, if you ask me. APRAJITA JAIN: Mhm. So Akshaya Patra is lending
credibility to our government. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Completely. And I can say that. I will not shy away
from saying it. APRAJITA JAIN: No, absolutely. I agree. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Yeah. APRAJITA JAIN: Right? And we do have a donation
booth set up there. So if you can give up three
Starbucks coffees a year, you can sponsor a child. So think about that
as you leave the room. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Wow,
yeah, that’s amazing. Yeah, at first, I said, no,
the math does not add up. How does it work? APRAJITA JAIN: I was shocked
when I first learned about $15. I give out $15 for
parking or coffees and small things like this. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Exactly,
the kind of things that– and that can be
a life-changing moment for someone, because what
I believe is that all of us want to do more than
what we are doing today. And that’s what I see. But we don’t get
opportunities, or as I call, excuses, which are around us. We don’t get– it’s not– I have seen. I have two daughters. I know that. So we came here, and
she studies in UK. And I was talking to her. I said, oh, your
flight leaves early. You could have taken
an earlier bus. She’s about two hours
away from London. And she said, yeah,
Dad, I could have, but I was helping
someone, this old lady. And I don’t want to rush her. I want to do it. So I’ll take my bus. It’s OK. It’s fine. She’s 19 years old. And so I know that all of
us, we want to do our bit. But we don’t get enough chances. APRAJITA JAIN: They always say,
it’s in giving that we receive. And I think that’s a really good
edict for the more you give, the more you get for yourself,
not in monetary terms. But there is
something that changes inside you, which is amazing. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Definitely,
it’s more fulfilling– always. And we talked
about it yesterday. And I said, the joy of
giving is much more than joy of receiving. That’s what is there. But I also said this. And I’m again going to say this. You can’t take credit for this. There’s a natural
human instinct, OK? Like we have
instinct to survive, the instinct to get joy by
receiving is natural to humans. OK? So you don’t take
credit for it, OK? So that is. Only thing is that
if you don’t get it. If you don’t get that natural
instinct of the joy of giving is much more than
joy of receiving. It’s a human instinct. So if you don’t have
it, think about it. APRAJITA JAIN: OK,
Then let’s move on to talking about the
outstanding career. I hate to generalize,
but normally, what happens in India
as you’re growing up, your parents give
you two choices. You can either become a
doctor or an engineer. And I’m neither of those two. But how did you break
loose of that mold? And how did you get inspired
and maybe even rebel a little bit against that
culture and become who you are? SANJEEV KAPOOR: So I didn’t
give that chance to my parents. [LAUGHTER] APRAJITA JAIN: Oh, great. [CHUCKLES] SANJEEV KAPOOR: No, so
fortunately, my parents always believed in us in terms
of whatever we wanted to do. We had that freedom. We were never under any kind
of pressure that, OK, well, do this. This is what you have to do. And yeah, of
course, all parents, they want their kids to do well. And so naturally,
when I was studying– so doctors or
engineer at that time. These were two things. So at that time, actually,
doctor was a little higher. Engineer was a bit lower. APRAJITA JAIN: [CHUCKLES] SANJEEV KAPOOR: So I still
remember, in ninth standard, I said, OK, doctor it
is, because if you’re good in studies, that’s
what you would be. APRAJITA JAIN: I can
reach that level, yeah. [CHUCKLES] SANJEEV KAPOOR: Yeah,
it’s not difficult. So there was an
assignment, and we were asked to draw electron
microscope in our biology class. And what I drew was the best
in the class, fantastic. I was so proud of it. So I showed it to the teacher,
thinking that now this is where I’ll get the appreciation. And he did not even look at me. He looked at that. He had a red pen, and
he put “Label it.” In my excitement, I
had not labeled it. This is this lens. This is this. I had not done that. I was so upset. I said– APRAJITA JAIN: That was the
end of your medical career? SANJEEV KAPOOR: –that
was the end of it. [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR:
Otherwise, you would be interviewing Dr. Kapoor here. APRAJITA JAIN: [LAUGHING] OK. SANJEEV KAPOOR: OK? Yeah, you’d definitely
be interviewing him. Yeah. APRAJITA JAIN: I’m
so glad that was the end of your medical career. [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: So that
was out of the way. So now I had to make that
choice, oh, OK, so no biology, because I’m not going
to study biology. So what else? Engineering drawing. So I studied engineering
drawing instead. And I did well. So engineering, OK. No, this is not
what I want to do. Why? Because it’s very predictable. It’s predictable that
this is what you will do. This is what– so by that time,
I had grown enough to rebel, to say that I will do something
that no one in our family, no one in our neighborhood,
none of my friends should have done that. APRAJITA JAIN: [CHUCKLES] SANJEEV KAPOOR: So I just– in school class,
everyone, so there are people who are
typecast that, oh, you’re good in science, you’ll do IT. So I was the IT type, OK? So I said, oh, no IT. So I did not appear
for the entrance exam. I said, no, I’m not
going to do this. Not this, but I don’t
know what to do. So did I know cooking? Did I know who a chef was? I had no clue, knew
nothing about it. It So I just started to
understand what I will do. Then I said, OK, let
me become an architect. APRAJITA JAIN: Wow. [CHUCKLES] SANJEEV KAPOOR: So
I did some research. There’s a institute in
Delhi, the School of Planning and Architecture, SPA. There’s entrance. I went for that entrance. And they used to take about
18, 20 students every year all over India. I said, that’s a good chance. OK. Now little did I know that
I would be waitlisted there. Oops. So there’s only one
choice that I’ve made. So I wanted to do something
which is creative, be an architect. Only one place that
I applied, the School of Planning and Architecture,
oh-oh, bad calls. Now Sanjeev Kapoor, a very
good student, everything, has engineering. So Delhi used to have a
college which was not– till that year, there
was no entrance exam. Delhi College of
Engineering, DC. So I could get on merit. I said, engineering
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] APRAJITA JAIN: A
missed opportunity. [CHUCKLES] SANJEEV KAPOOR: Right? Why would I do it? So no engineering, no way. But so I had nothing. So there was– I didn’t even know. So it was a case of
being too smart, right? So I was left with
nothing in my hand. A brilliant student,
somebody who would have gone into the area. And so all my friends
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] So didn’t have anything. A friend of mine, he wanted
to do this hotel management. Hotel management back then,
actually even now, also, I think, to some extent,
is meant for people who are good for nothing. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] APRAJITA JAIN: In our
family, we used to say, [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]. [CHUCKLES] SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] It’s like somebody who could discover
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] right? So [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] I also went and,
naturally, they asked me. They looked at the math. Why are you wasting our time? You will not join here. I said, this is what
I have always wanted to do, right from my childhood. [LAUGHTER] APRAJITA JAIN: That’s how
you convince people, yeah. SANJEEV KAPOOR: So
right from my childhood, this is what I wanted to do. I had no clue. I had no clue what it was. And so this friend
of mine, Jasbir, he was very keen to get in. I got admission. He did not. Oh, he’s doing very well. Don’t feel bad
about the trouble. [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: So he, in some
sense, helped me with this. I took admission, and I
said, [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] That’s what I wanted to do. Got into this. But even at that time,
there was nothing about being a chef or cooking. So after I got into the
Institute, again, I did well. And then again, I said,
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] So nobody wanted to be a chef. So hardly any– so
people who could not get into the mainstream, they
were [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: I
began by choice. So I just did that. And somewhere, I guess, since
I was probably rebelling, ’cause [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] That probably helped me. And– APRAJITA JAIN: And the rest is
history [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [CHUCKLES] SANJEEV KAPOOR: I don’t know. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] APRAJITA JAIN: [LAUGHING] SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] My brother, one day, he called
me and he says, [NON-ENGLISH].. So I used to go to
the hotel at 7 o’clock in the morning, come back at
2:00 in the night, no day off, nothing, working so much,
not getting anything, and he was in charge
of the counter. So [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: And I’m saying,
I said, I’m a science student. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]
which is a fact. [NON-ENGLISH]. But [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] I would’ve wasted five
years in that field and not be happy with that. But yeah, I actually thought
about it one whole night. Maybe I’ve made a mistake. What am I doing? Why am I doing this? But I think [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] APRAJITA JAIN: [CHUCKLES] SANJEEV KAPOOR: I guess, yeah. APRAJITA JAIN: Great. Well, thank you for sharing
your long and very successful journey. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Thank you. APRAJITA JAIN:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] We were having coffee with Chef. And I asked him if all
questions are game. He said, yes, if I’m
also game for that. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Yeah. APRAJITA JAIN: So my next
question is about a story that I had heard. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH],,
your lovely wife. So there was some struggle
to convince her parents to let her marry you
because you were a chef. And back then, as
you said, it was not an engineer or a doctor. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] APRAJITA JAIN:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: Right? This story, [INAUDIBLE]. APRAJITA JAIN: Oh, OK. SANJEEV KAPOOR: OK? Her sister was a chef. APRAJITA JAIN: Oh. SANJEEV KAPOOR: So
there was no trouble. Her sister married
a Catholic guy. There was a struggle. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] APRAJITA JAIN: OK. So there was no struggle there. SANJEEV KAPOOR: So it’s
no problem, [NON-ENGLISH] AUDIENCE: Google. SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] APRAJITA JAIN: We
always love feedback. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Correct. So no, so I didn’t have to– I had no struggle, actually. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] because that’s the back, no? So why people often ask
this is because early on, [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] OK. [LAUGHTER] [COUGHS] SANJEEV KAPOOR: So
there was an ad where they wanted her as well, OK? Part of that script
was so she says that– what was it? ALYONA KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] SANJEEV KAPOOR: Ah,
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] APRAJITA JAIN: [LAUGHING] SANJEEV KAPOOR: So
actually, her dad– I knew it was her dad. [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: So I
knew it was her dad. She said, Dad,
it’s just a story. It’s just an ad. It’s not real. Ah, OK, OK. [LAUGHS] APRAJITA JAIN: It
shows that ads work. It becomes reality
for some people. SANJEEV KAPOOR: That’s true. That’s true, yeah. APRAJITA JAIN: Great, great. Thank you for sharing
that, the real story. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Yeah. APRAJITA JAIN: In general,
there’s this image about, as you said, that chefs didn’t
used to be as highly regarded, until you came around. And people started, ha
ha, [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] So how has that changed
over the years in India? And with the new
crop coming up, how do you feel people are being
encouraged to take that up as a serious career option? SANJEEV KAPOOR: Well,
fortunately, the times have changed. So when my first
job in a hotel, I was actually asked by
the GM of the hotel, I’d gone to meet a tour
leader of a group checking into our hotel. So I’d gone to meet. And our reception was
in the lobby area. So I had gone from
kitchen there. And the GM of the hotel
was standing there. And he actually said, yes, Chef? I said, sir, I have come
to meet the tour leader to ask what they want to eat. No, but you can’t
be in the lobby. So it’s not second-hand
information. It’s first-hand. But I was actually asked
by the GM of a hotel that chefs are not allowed to be
in the lobby of the hotel, OK? So that was sad. That was not something. But I rebelled. I said, OK, now whatever I
couldn’t do, I would change. I’ve worked really
hard to do that. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] So I often say this
in India, especially, that [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] So people now don’t
want to be a chef. They often say, sir, how
can we be a celebrity chef? [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: I said, there’s
nothing as a celebrity chef. It’s the world that you would
do should be celebrated. Yeah, it’s not– you
cannot become, so– but no, it’s a change. I’m glad that
change has happened. It’s not happened in a
rush, I can tell you. It’s been a very long
time it has taken. And even now, it’s
not that easy. I can tell you. So two weeks ago, so I
was awarded the Padma Shri by the president of India. And so I decided that I would
wear chef’s uniform for that. But the invitation that was
there, it said, national dress. OK? So now what do you do? What do you wear? Because it’s the
invitation, and that’s what, and it’s a protocol. You have to follow that. So I asked them,
and they said, yeah, if it says national dress,
then it’s national dress. So I said, OK. What happens when these
awards and all are given to uniformed
services people that’s in military and Army, Navy? No, no, no, they get
decorated on their uniform. So I said, OK, I’m going
to wear my chef’s uniform, and [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] APRAJITA JAIN:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [CHUCKLES] SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] So it takes time, but
yeah, I will get there. APRAJITA JAIN: Absolutely. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Yeah. APRAJITA JAIN: And
from not knowing what to do in your career to
becoming Padma Shri Sanjeev Kapoor. So tell us a little
bit about what are the qualities in a chef that
you think are really important. I mean, it sounds like it’s not
something that is born, right? You can develop that talent. But is it the right ingredients? Is it the right cookware? Is it the right mindset? Like what, for you,
makes a perfect chef? SANJEEV KAPOOR: Somebody who’s
involved with Akshaya Patra. [LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE] SANJEEV KAPOOR: No, the reason
that I’m here is Akshaya Patra. Lots of people who
have come in now, we have to raise lots of
money for Akshaya Patra. And we talked about it. It only takes $15 per
year to feed one child. And the 1.6 million kids a
day, a staggering number. And as Sandeep
yesterday mentioned, it’s only we are feeding 1.5%
of the total need that is there in India. So imagine what they needed. So one needs a lot
of money to grow. So please do your bit. OK. Coming back to your question,
I think, in any profession, the ingredients are same. It’s not– they don’t
work any differently, so whether it’s knowledge,
whether it’s hard work. But what I have realized,
the biggest thing is– which we normally don’t
quantify, we don’t say, we don’t factor that in– is the value system. All the things that we learned
from our parents, family, It’s all the good things that– all the boring things. That’s something which
you’d say, oh, what is this? I think that is probably one
of the most important things in any success. APRAJITA JAIN:
Especially In cooking. I think it’s a
generational thing. I learned cooking from my mom. But [INAUDIBLE],,
there’s certain things. I stand right next to
her when she’s cooking. I write down
everything she does. I follow her instructions. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] SANJEEV KAPOOR: Well,
she’s just a better cook. Face it. [LAUGHTER] APRAJITA JAIN: Yeah,
I’m completely on board. Yes, she is. Yes, she is. Her rasgullas always turn
out spongier than mine. There’s something about it. But you’re right,
there is something that is not quantifiable that
just comes with, I guess, experience, or– SANJEEV KAPOOR: No
these are experience. And also, we talk
about energies, right? APRAJITA JAIN: Yeah. SANJEEV KAPOOR: So same
is the case in cooking. So you cook with
positive energy. It’ll come out–
it’s a known thing. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] mothers. So she exactly knows
who she’s cooking for. You can never get that
in restaurant food. Never, you would get it. But on especially
younger people, people who want to become
chefs, so there are two things. One is the skills, because
it’s a job of skill, right? So they have to
perfect the skills. And that’s around a
big layer of knowledge. So get great skills,
have great knowledge. And then wrap that around
with a great value system. So if you get these
three things right– skill, knowledge,
and value system– you can be a great chef, easy. APRAJITA JAIN: Great. Thank you. So you have done so many
things in your career, in addition to just
being an amazing chef. And I had to make a
list and write it down, because I would forget
all of those things. Some of them are you
own over 75 restaurants, starting with The Yellow
Chilli, I believe. You have your own
cookbook series. You own a ready-to-cook
meal line. You have your own
food TV network. You have hosted many TV shows. You are a brand ambassador for
kitchen brands and for Ariel, as I learned. You introduced a culinary art
course at Symbiosis in Pune. You have cooked for the
Indian prime minister. You have designed
an airline menu. And you have been approached
by the Indian railways to design their menu as well. How can you wear all
these hats and still do justice to all of them? SANJEEV KAPOOR: Hold on,
I don’t get paid so much. [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: I’m
still highly underpaid. APRAJITA JAIN: You should call
your accountant at present and ask what’s going on. SANJEEV KAPOOR: What is this? What’s going on? I feel highly underpaid now. [LAUGHTER] APRAJITA JAIN: And this
is just some of them. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Yeah, and I
was working on weekend also. What is this? Not fair. [CHUCKLES] APRAJITA JAIN: So
how do you do all of that and doing justice to
all of them at the same time? SANJEEV KAPOOR: I don’t know. I don’t think
about these things. I just do it. I don’t
over-intellectualize things. I think I just take
one day at a time. And I say that this is the
most important thing now. APRAJITA JAIN: Mhm,
be in the moment. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Yeah. So that’s how I deal with it. And you can only do it if you
have a great team with you, starting with my wife, to all
our activities and everything that we do. So you mentioned
about Indian railways. There’s a big meeting in
Delhi with the team of Railway Ministry and everyone. So one of our chefs has
traveled from Mumbai. Actually, I had suggested that,
because we have chefs in Delhi, somebody come down. No, no, we want to
send someone senior. We want to do that. I said, OK, fine,
whatever you want to do. So we have a good– APRAJITA JAIN: So you have
a good network of chefs that can also pitch in– SANJEEV KAPOOR:
At our company, we are fortunate to have good
people, talented, good value system. That’s very, very
important to us. So yeah, I think because
of that, it just happens. APRAJITA JAIN: So I believe your
mainstream celebrity journey started at “Khana Khazana.” Many of us know you
because of “Khana Khazana.” We have watched
many, many episodes. You became a household
name through that. We have seen what happens on TV. But tell us a fun,
behind-the-scenes story. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] So tell us a fun story. SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] APRAJITA JAIN:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHING] SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: No, OK,
no always, it can happen. It’s not something which is– but OK, on TV, now
this is unreal. I can’t take credit for it. I’ve never cooked a dish twice. APRAJITA JAIN: Wow. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Never. APRAJITA JAIN: Of all these
shows, it never happened? SANJEEV KAPOOR: No,
because the reason, I’ll tell you, because
when we cook on TV, I do very simple dishes. I don’t do something
which is complicated. So because it’s very simple,
and I normally don’t even plan. I just do whatever
comes to my mind. We have lots of ingredients
that are there, and I just cook. And the results are predictable. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] It’s not something
you can cook in here. It’s not– and over the years,
when you start to become popular, other
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: Right? So people are fine. APRAJITA JAIN: I’ll
tell you a funny story. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Yeah. APRAJITA JAIN: So I went to
Germany a few months ago. And my dad makes
excellent malpuas. So my sister wanted
to eat malpuas. So instead of using heavy
whipped cream in the malpuas, [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]
sour cream [NON-ENGLISH].. And we didn’t know,
and he didn’t tell us [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] And when we ate them, they
were the most fabulous malpuas I’ve had in my life. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Magic. APRAJITA JAIN:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [CHUCKLES] SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: No, but so
there was this show I was doing. It was a live cooking show. It was being done– there was a new product launch. So there’s a company
that was launching cookware made with glass. And in Mumbai,
there’s a new mall. Mumbai’s first big mall
that opened was Crossroads. And so in their atrium, 500,
600 people, there’s a stage. And normally, whenever
I do any live sessions, I say, OK, you can
ask me anything. Just raise your hand, and I’ll
answer anything that you want. And I’ll do that. And as soon as we started,
so there’s a first dish that I was going to cook. So I talked about
those pots made with glass, shiny, very nice. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] And somebody raised their hand,
and they asked a question. I got busy with that. And it’s OK, come
back to my cooking. And I was doing a soup. And I poured the stock in that. As soon as I did that,
it shattered big time. Now here, there’s a
new product launch. [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: That
company is doing that. APRAJITA JAIN: It’s live. [CHUCKLES] SANJEEV KAPOOR: Yeah, and
there are 500-plus people. It happens live. But nothing happened. I said, you know what,
great pans, fantastic. But everything,
you need to care. One, you cannot drop it. It will break. Second, when you are
cooking like this, don’t start answering
questions, no matter what. OK? Fortunately, at home,
you don’t do that, right? APRAJITA JAIN: So you
had the presence of mind to mitigate that
situation and get over it. Great. [CHUCKLES] So there’s a saying,
“You are what you eat.” And for us Indians,
it’s very hard to follow certain
dietary precautions. Our food is so tasty. It’s hard. There’s all sorts
of fried foods, sweets, lots of carbohydrates. How do you think
about food and health, and especially
now, as people are becoming more aware of South
Asian diets and restrictions. How do you adapt
your recipes to that? SANJEEV KAPOOR: I
think it’s easy. It’s nothing to do with which
region, geography, well, all that. In all parts of the world, there
are certain healthy things. There are certain not
so healthy things. There are some people
who are healthier. There are some people
who are not as healthy, some people who
love to exercise, some people who don’t. They exist everywhere. Indians are smart. They’re intelligent. So the things that they cannot
do, they blame someone else. In this case, they blame food. [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] APRAJITA JAIN:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHS] SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: But
it’s not difficult. Indian food, the
way we eat at home is one of the healthiest
meals that you can have. It’s very balanced. It is balanced for
that geography. Right? So [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] Right? [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] APRAJITA JAIN: Yeah. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Right? So use your intelligence to see. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] APRAJITA JAIN: Yeah,
yeah, absolutely. [LAUGHS] SANJEEV KAPOOR: Right? If you cannot, then
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] There’s no one else that you can blame. So it is not difficult.
All of us know. All of us know what is
healthy, what is not. We know it. It’s just that it’s a
choice that we make. APRAJITA JAIN: It’s putting your
mind to it at the current time. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Yeah,
it’s not complex. It is not. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] And the good thing is our
body gives us signals. APRAJITA JAIN: Yeah. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Problem
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] Right? Over the years,
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] Right? It takes some time. It takes 1, 2, 3 years. And you feel
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] but not much. I’ll be able to
lose this, right? APRAJITA JAIN:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [CHUCKLES] SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] And then one day you decide, and oh,
my god, [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: Now that
is the day that you decide. And that’s the day that you
want now instant results. That’s the day you
want drastic results. So if you want that, then put
in that drastic effort also. If you do that, can
you get that result? Of course, you can. Of course, you can. APRAJITA JAIN: We have you. You have gone through
a major transformation. We have seen you on the shows. I mean– SANJEEV KAPOOR: No. OK, let me tell you. [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: That’s the
first time you ever [INAUDIBLE] [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: So from
when I started till when I started in hotels and
now, from that weight, I am 14 kilos more. APRAJITA JAIN: What? SANJEEV KAPOOR: Yes. Yes. ALYONA KAPOOR: When
you started working. SANJEEV KAPOOR: When
I started working. Of course, when I
started working. When you started seeing TV,
one thing that you have not realized– so you’re meeting me for
the first time, right? I started TV,
almost 25 years old? Something like that. So but do you
remember 25 years ago? Because do you
remember 25 years ago? AUDIENCE: Yeah, I remember. AUDIENCE: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: They go up. TV, they had to stop– AUDIENCE: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] AUDIENCE: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] So you have watched–
no, but not me. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] AUDIENCE: Ah. SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] AUDIENCE: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] APRAJITA JAIN: I see. AUDIENCE: Good answer. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Not good answer. It’s right answer. [LAUGHTER] APRAJITA JAIN:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] SANJEEV KAPOOR: Ah, they all
wanted to go with the other now. APRAJITA JAIN: [LAUGHING] SANJEEV KAPOOR: So actually,
if you notice the earlier TVs, they were not like this. It was 4 by 3. Now it’s 16 by 9. So what it does, it stretches. No kidding. I’m telling you so you see that. So it feels– but yeah, do I
put on weight and lose weight? So as compared to last
two months, three months, I’ve put on five kilos. AUDIENCE: Wow. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Yes. APRAJITA JAIN: OK,
so it all comes back to being knowing
what you’re eating and adjusting based
on that, yeah. OK, thank you. So you could be the best chef on
the earth, and you likely are. But [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] You want to eat it
made by somebody else. In my case, it’s my
mom’s palak paneer. In your case, there
must be some dish. And you can make everything. But still, there must be some
dish that somebody else cooks for you, and you love that. Maybe it’s the [INAUDIBLE]. What is that one dish? SANJEEV KAPOOR: The
curry that you mentioned. APRAJITA JAIN: Oh, you’re most
welcome to come home tonight. [CHUCKLES] SANJEEV KAPOOR: So she invited
me [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] What would be given
to eat, right? So I lose out on so
many good invitations. So as soon as she said– APRAJITA JAIN: Yes. SANJEEV KAPOOR: I
said, yeah, please. No, so I eat everything. There’s nothing
that I don’t eat. I like to eat. And I eat everything,
all kinds of cuisines, all foods, all tastes,
katami, tati, kanam, keen. No matter what,
I eat everything. So but yeah, naturally,
food that you like, it’s actually more the memories. It’s more nostalgia. It’s more than the taste. It’s that [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] APRAJITA JAIN:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] SANJEEV KAPOOR: The memories– and normally, it’s
with the family. So it could be, again,
kadhi chawal made by my mom. Masala dosa, she
makes very good. And that’s what she made
for our entire family when our family met
and went to her house. APRAJITA JAIN: Wow. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Yeah, so
even now, I can eat that. APRAJITA JAIN: Nice. Hence, your love for dosas that
you were just telling about. SANJEEV KAPOOR: That is correct. [LAUGHTER] APRAJITA JAIN: All
right then, you mentioned you have
two daughters. And one is in the UK. Is the other one
studying as well? SANJEEV KAPOOR: Yeah, she just
finished her law from Pune. Yeah. APRAJITA JAIN: Any culinary
skills being passed on to– SANJEEV KAPOOR: Both
of them are very smart. So I said, [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] Dad, don’t worry. We’ll manage your businesses,
and we’ll hire chefs. [LAUGHTER] So– APRAJITA JAIN: Great. So they are going to help
you in some way or the other. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Yes. APRAJITA JAIN: That’s good. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Oh,
even now, they do. APRAJITA JAIN: Fantastic. With that, my last and very
important question for you, so at Google, we always
say, “In God we trust. Everybody else, bring data.” So I brought some
data points for you. In the Bay Area, there are
over 300,000 Indian Americans. That’s more than 7 and
1/2% of Indian Americans in the entire United States. So when are you planning to
open your first restaurant in the Bay area? [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: OK. [APPLAUSE] Let’s see. [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: No, actually,
somebody asked me yesterday, oh, so you’re opening somewhere
in Santa Clara, right? I had no clue. But no, we are opening
one in LA soon. And so that will be our
first Yellow Chilli. So we have multiple brands. Yellow Chilli is our– my team does not like it, but
I say it all the time– it’s our cheap and cheerful brand. [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR:
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: So we
are starting with that. And our most premium is
Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor. And that, we are actually
planning one in Houston. So we were in a gala that
we did last time in Houston. So there’s somebody who’s
been in touch with us. And they came to do a
Signature in Houston. So in this part also, I’m sure– APRAJITA JAIN: I mean,
there’s a audience for both, for the [INAUDIBLE]
and the high-end ones. So whatever you decide to
do will be successful here. SANJEEV KAPOOR: No matter,
I’ll give you [INAUDIBLE].. That’s something I don’t like. [LAUGHTER] SANJEEV KAPOOR: No,
let me be very honest. Many of my friends, they
would always say that, yeah, America [NON-ENGLISH]. Why are you not doing it? [NON-ENGLISH]. So no, we do it in
a systematic way. So our growth
strategy has been more in India and the Middle East. And now, in the Middle
East, we have restaurants all over India. We have everywhere. So last part, Saudi Arabia was
left, so we’ve just signed. And we are opening
there very soon. So we’ll be doing almost
30-odd restaurants there. APRAJITA JAIN: Oh, wow. SANJEEV KAPOOR: So next up, we
are looking at North America. So North America
is before Europe. So we are not looking at UK
and Europe at the moment. So we opened two in Toronto. We have already opened. And so LA is next. APRAJITA JAIN: So we’ll be
expecting you in California a lot more then, hopefully. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Oh, no,
that is no guarantee. So there are restaurants of
mine which I’ve never been to. APRAJITA JAIN: Oh, wow. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Yeah. Oh, for that matter,
owners of Google have not been to my house. [LAUGHTER] APRAJITA JAIN: Yeah. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Right? APRAJITA JAIN: We can
send them, if you’d like. [CHUCKLES] SANJEEV KAPOOR: Lovely. APRAJITA JAIN: OK. SANJEEV KAPOOR: [LAUGHS] APRAJITA JAIN: Awesome. So one question that
just came to my mind is you have all
these restaurants. And one thing I’ve
always been curious about is, what happens at
the end of the day when ingredients and
even cooked food is left? Do you have a
system in place to– in the spirit of
Akshaya Patra and making sure food doesn’t go to waste,
what happens to that food? SANJEEV KAPOOR: So
this is a question that I’m asked all the time. So sensible, responsible
restaurants treat food the way we treat at our homes. So no hotel restaurant
wastes food. It’s not– it’s like if you have
here also, you would not waste. So there are cold
rooms, refrigerators. So whatever is used is used. Whatever is left is
put to use later. it’s not wasted. It’s again, the way you
would treat it at home. If there’s something
which is beyond its usage, utility, whatever the
time or whatever, yeah. APRAJITA JAIN: Sell-by
date or expiry date, yeah. SANJEEV KAPOOR: So
you would not use it. So that’s how we treat it. We do not waste it. APRAJITA JAIN: Fantastic. With that, let’s give a
huge round of applause to Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and the
hardworking team from Akshaya Patra, his wife, [INAUDIBLE]. Food means a lot of things
to different people. It can change people’s lives. And we are, in this
room, privileged enough to make changes
to people’s lives. So if you do feel
inclined, please learn more about Akshaya Patra. Find out about their causes,
their excellent, excellent management. And there’s some really
interesting videos on YouTube where you can see how
their food is produced. It goes through
their– their rotis go through conveyor
belt machines which are just amazing to even watch. And yeah, get involved with
the cause if you want to. So thank you so much
for coming today. SANJEEV KAPOOR: Yeah,
thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] as

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