In the latest episode of CNN's Culinary Journeys series, hugely successful Indian chef Sanjeev Kapoor explores Mumbai, the city he calls home, around the time of Diwali, one that for centuries has been shaped by wave after wave of migrating peoples from across India and all over the world seeking fortune and a better life. This has made India's most populous city one of it's most culinarily rich.
Read our Q&A and watch the show in three parts for below.
Tell us about the culinary journey you embarked on with CNN.
My first thought about the journey is that I was floored by the detailing that went into the making of the show. The kumbharwada (potter’s village), buffalo farm and the flower market I visited in different pockets of Mumbai was an exciting, thrilling and memorable experience – I must say that despite having lived here for so many years, I had never visited these places. Ok, enough said, I do not want to give away any more details about the show. Go watch it!
What was the highlight of the journey?
To spend over half a day at kumbharwada and get the actual earthy feel of the real India of today.
How has Mumbai's cuisine been influenced by immigration into the city and what differentiates the food here from in other parts of India?
Mumbai, being a cosmopolitan city, offers a wide palette of cuisines. I would not say that the food here is any different from other parts of India because of its urban nature, but, the fact that it has its own cuisine, is also true! For instance, look at the humble vada pav or the Indian burger, it is unarguably the most inexpensive, easily available and filling choice that millions of people in this city of dreams thrive on. I definitely believe that Mumbai can be best termed as ‘culture curry.’
Tell us about the role food plays in Diwali.
Not just Diwali, in India food is synonymous to any festival, as it is the common thread that binds and brings people together from different ages, castes, creeds and genders!
If you gave you a blank cheque for a Culinary Journey, where would you go and why?
Iceland. I have always been swarmed by food full of spices and herbs. I want to explore Iceland because of its pristine plainness and purity in everything from nature to food.
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