EXCLUSIVE: Celebrity Chef Kunal Kapur Opens Up About Being A Pet Parent, Favourite Winter Recipe, Cooking Hacks And More | Culture News

A chef’s journey is woven with threads of talent, dedication, and an unwavering passion for food, and here is one ‘Masterchef’ whose life begun from the quaint corners of a small Indian town to the peak of worldwide glory. It’s a testament to the transformative power of culinary artistry.

In this gastronomic journey, Celebrity Chef Kunal Kapur, brand ambassador of ITC Nimyl, brings not just culinary prowess but an endearing persona that captivates us on cooking shows, events, and social media. His happy-go-lucky charm and the eloquence of his words make him a beloved figure in India’s culinary landscape- sharing more than just food, and takes us through his life of pet parent and sustainable ways dedicated to the well-being of his 8 four-legged furry friends.

In an interview with Zee News English, the chef talks about being a smart pet parent and simple ways and strategies to keep pets safe at home and some easy and effective kitchen cooking hacks for the winter. Chef Kunal’s tips serve as a guide for everyone in winters.

Here are excerpts from Chef Kunal Kapur’s interview:

How do you ensure a healthy and balanced diet for your eight dogs, and what advice would you give to pet parents striving to provide nutritious meals for their furry companions?

So I think pets are like your kids. They are kids that never grow up, which is a source of so much tremendous joy. And you have to take care of your pets like you take care of your children. And let’s say if you have two kids and one falls ill, you know, the other one is very going to soon fall ill.

So I think pets are like your kids. They are kids that never grow up, which is a source of so much tremendous joy. And you have to take care of your pets like you take care of your children. And let’s say if you have two kids and one falls ill, you know, the other one is very going to soon fall ill. 

I think what I’ve realized that, like every individual, the diet for a dog varies from each and every dog. Sometimes you have certain breeds that required a certain diet. But if I have to take, like, the common factor, I generally work with rice, protein, subsea, and a protein, usually a chicken, where I keep changing their diet. But what remains constant is certain veggies sometimes dal without salt with a hint of turmeric sometimes, and always have a certain protein that goes along. 

When it’s summer, I usually introduce yogurt into their diet, which is very healthy for dogs. But again, as per the age, as per the breed, as per the body type, things can vary up and down. So what you got to do is look at the food habits of your dogs. You cannot be repeating the same food all the time, so you’ve got to do certain variations. Now, you don’t have that luxury of time every time that you’re cooking a specific thing or a specific meal for them. But you, over a period of time, sense what your kids like, what they don’t like, what is good for them, what is not good for them. And that’s where you draw that common factor and then make sure they eat well.

As a devoted pet parent, could you share a memorable moment that highlights the joy of having eight dogs in your home? How do you ensure your pets stay safe and healthy?

So what my dogs completely love is when I play with them and playing, especially if it’s too cold or too hot outside, you just can’t run around. They have full of energy. They can really dash and come back within ten minutes. You really drain yourself. So what I prefer to do is just sit on the floor and then play with them. Whether it’s throwing a ball or it’s one of their toys or just roll over, give them a nice rub, jump around. It makes it very important for the floor to be actually germ free. 

I have a trick, it’s more of an evil hack so all of my dogs have their bowls, and I’m putting down food to feed them, and only two are eating. And it’s a very common thing that the third one is not eating. I just pick up his ball and put it right next to the other two. And then all of a sudden he gets alert like “how can that happen, it is not happening”. And usually this works. But then there are times when you realize that you sprinkle some of the good things that they enjoys on top and mix it up and that kind of keeps him going. And they go for it one bite and then start to lick and finish it.

And in order to ensure that your pets are safe, so that you are also safe, you need to clean your house properly. And floor happens to be the surface place where everything at a microbial level develops, which you cannot possibly see from your naked eye. So proper cleaning of the floor ensures that you and your pet both are safe. And that’s where I, being a pet parent, I have three dogs inside the house and five just outside. So I have fathered with eight. And for me, I personally use Nimyle because it has 100% natural action where it cleans the floor. Goodness of neem, leaves a very nice, mild but very nice fragrance to it. 

What’s your favourite winter recipe that you enjoy preparing for your family, and how do you incorporate wholesome ingredients to make it both delicious and nutritious for the season?

So, winter time, you know, there are a lot of dry fruits by default at home, especially since there are a whole lot of leftovers of Diwali gifts. And you kind of enjoy, you know, whether it’s peanuts or cashew nuts or almonds or croutes or even dried apricots. So one usually ends up doing a lot of dishes using those dry fruits. So a dry fruit laddu which is 100% sugar-free, we add dates or honey and grind them up, mix them up and keep them. 

Either shape it into a laddu or make it into a nice roasted dried powder. It is so tasty that when you walk by, you just take a little bit of a spoon of it and eat. And you kind of can eat it guilt-free because it does not have your regular sugar or lots of ghee. 

What it does have is good calories because there’s a whole lot of nuts which is so basically the recipe goes, you take different nuts that you eat, ‘buno’ and take a whole lot of sesame and buno it. Then crush them, and add dates, but those dry dates which are still moist. 

The seedless, blend them and then you can shape it as you want or just keep it as a powder which is a little bit of sticky paste of sorts but you can just scoop out from a gatorian and eat. You just need to refrigerate it, it’s wholesome, it’s tasty, it’s good, very tasty.

Can you share a quick cooking hack for winter meals that adds warmth and flavour to dishes without compromising on health?

One of my favorite, I wouldn’t say a hack but a go-to thing is to do soups for winter to keep you very warm and toasty and take care of nutrition so normally let’s say summer it’s so hot that we refrain from eating a lot of soup but winter becomes very comforting. 

Winter has a whole lot of root vegetables and root vegetables are generally very tasty so you boil them now if you’re somebody that enjoys normally you throw in a piece of chicken or let’s say a piece of meat and then boil it or you just take all your root vegetables and boil them, puree them and make it into a soup. 

It becomes comforting at the same time because when your first meal or let’s say start of your food let’s say for lunch or dinner is a bowl of soup you generally then tend to eat less. Yeah so you have more liquid in your body it’s more nutritious, keeps you warm, and maybe you could manage to put it in your mouth and reduce a little bit of weight. If you are conscious that way and you do that religiously, it helps. 

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