Irfan Ahmad for BeyondHeadlines
New Delhi: Reviving the magic that every mother creates in the confines of her small regional kitchen, India’s favorite cook, culinary connoisseur and TV Host Ranveer Brar is gearing up for his newest digital series “Maa Ki Baat”, an heirloom YouTube show that will bring forth the secret, legendary recipes from across India.
From Rajma Chawal to Thepla, ‘Maa Ki Baat’ will take you down memory lane as Chef Ranveer interviews the real heroes of Indian gastronomy – the mothers! The show is a unique interview cum recipe showcase where he becomes the sous chef to homemakers from within our borders whilst unravelling the rich legacy of Indian regional cuisine, through their eyes. Bringing local produce and regional dishes to light, the show is a candid conversation between mothers and Ranveer, talking about how they learned to cook, their favourite dishes and food secrets.
Kick-starting the show on Mother’s Day recently, the first heartwarming episode was an ode to Ranveer’s mother, Mrs Surinder Kaur – who demonstrates her favourite Rajma recipe whilst reminiscing her journey as a wife, daughter in law and mother who was forced to uproot her life from a small town to a city. “We often take our parents for granted. They provide for us day and night but do we pause and ask – Maa, Tujhe kya pasand hai?’ mentions Chef.
In just a week, the show has received over a million views across all digital platforms making it even more exciting to wait for the upcoming episodes.
Brar conceptualized this show on a journey to save India’s culinary legacy and help educate today’s millennials to award ‘Maa ke haath ka khana’ its due credit. The cornerstone of the show is a soulful endeavour to provide homemakers, mom-cooks if you may, a chance to shine onscreen by cooking their signature heirloom recipes, share tips and tricks they come with, not forgetting heirloom utensils used with them too.
Scouting nationwide for guest cooks for the show, Ranveer is inviting mothers nationwide to participate and send in their videos through which they are selected to cook on the show. The upcoming episodes will be featuring mothers from Kerala, Bangalore, Tamil Nadu, and North India.
Ranveer said, “After I got back from the U.S. and did Masterchef India, I realized that there is a huge part of Indian cooking that I (in fact many of us) haven’t appreciated enough, and that is ‘home-cooking’. In this space, I was both impressed by the food and the personality and character of a home-maker who is the Chef of the household, and it drove me to go back and re-live parts of my life to understand how my mother and grandmother used to cook, which essentially was how the first conception of the show occurred. The idea was simply to bring out the power of a homemaker and the ancestral recipes that Indian home kitchens carry forward. The personality and the character of the Indian mother is that of immense love, selflessness and inner beauty, which she brings to the table along with her food. As an Indian son, this show is my way of giving respect and credit to all Indian mothers from whom my biggest learning was that mothers never let anything go to waste, they even use the simplest of things like ‘Chaawal Ka Paani’. I wanted to understand what are the likes and dislikes of a mother because when our mums are cooking for us, none of us ever stop to think that ‘What does mom like to eat?”
(Irfan Ahmad is a senior journalist. He writes for top publications like The Hindu.)