Cooking ace Meghna recalls her journey as someone who couldn’t tell a spatula from a spoon to a globally acclaimed chef. Today after specializing in a wide variety of cuisines she has embarked on a journey with a vision to bring international cuisines on one table.
She brings with her a plethora of handpicked recipes to which she has added a magical Indian touch or as she calls it, Meghna’s food magic
Meghna’s Food Magic on You Tube is a channel that is a celebration of wholesome cooking that is enjoyable and worth your time and effort. You’ll say goodbye to your favorite restaurant after you master the art of gastronomical indulgence with Meghna.
Plattershare’s content partner, Parinaaz Marolia caught up with this amazing woman to get to know her a little more. Read on to get to know her in her own words.
Please tell us about your earliest tryst with cooking and how food evolved into a full-time career for you.
It is surprising but true. Yes I had blasted the pressure cooker on the first day in the kitchen because I didn’t know that rice had to be put with water.
No one knows that I had experimented Pav Bhaji masala in a Palak Paneer just because I imagined all Masalas to be the same. So yes, 20 years ago, this Chef Meghna couldn’t identify the difference between a spoon and a spatula but destiny had its own role to play. In fact, as a child, I used to run away from the kitchen.
After spending 15 years in the glamorous banking industry, when motherhood knocked my door, life changed completely upside down and for good of course. The mother in me brought out the importance of home cooking, fitness and a disciplined life, that coupled with the fact that I had lived & worked abroad for a couple of years, brought out a massive change in my approach towards life and gave a push towards a career in baking. I used to bake cakes & take orders for fondant designer cakes. This later evolved into running my own cooking & baking classes. I used to take catering orders for 20-50 people and deliver food door to door. Those were the initial days and I am glad I grew organically.
I had spent all my savings into getting formal a education in the culinary world and after working with a couple of professional kitchens, it became clear that this is what I was meant to do. Remember what Spiderman said – “With great power comes great responsibility.” As I enhanced my cooking style, worked on my fitness and makeover, I felt the need to give back to the society especially to women. If I could do it so can anyone. How I wish men would learn to cook so that women would get break from the kitchen & follow other interests as well. Hence the idea of a YouTube channel came in. We shot a couple of videos and with the kind of wow response that we got motivated us to take it to the next level. Fortunately, I found a company to produce my show. Just in 3 years, we are already 1.5 Million + Followers across all handles; and I’m told we have an amazingly engaging viewer base.
What is your food philosophy?
No. 1 Do Sacrifice on Quantity but Do Not Compromise on Quality.
No. 2 Variety is the spice of life, but don’t add too much of spice into your life.
No. 3 Cook Intelligent. Why fry if you can bake! Add water to cut down on oil.
If not a food blogger, then?
Definitely a fitness expert. I lost 20 kgs in 3 years and have retained my weight loss for last 3-4 years. It has not been easy; but then I know I have set an example for many women and the bar had to be maintained.
What are the most rewarding and most challenging aspects of being a food blogger?
There are so many bloggers all around the world, you always wonder, and rightly so, why would anyone be interested in what you have to offer. And it’s so easy to fall for the trap of doing something that doesn’t represent who you really are. And so, it is important to remember, that in order to be different from the rest of the world, you do not end up to being too different from the world. Finding the right balance of what you are, what you have to offer and what your viewers would like to see; is the key.
Secondly, this is like any other business, which requires an initial capital investment, some working capital; and a whole lot of patience. 90% of the bloggers give up after initial work, because either they cannot think of different content or because they don’t have the patience. Growth in this industry is slow and steady. So sustainability is the key.
Rewards are a plenty, but like Lord Krishna said “Karma kar, phal ki chinta mat kar.” Do Quality work and Connect with the audience; that’s all that matters. Don’t just restrict yourself to food just because you’re a food specialist. Let other aspects of your personality shine out. So connecting at different levels with the audience is critical & figuring out what is that one thing in you that draws people to you, is the biggest challenge. I am glad I found mine.
What is your guilty food pleasure?
Hey you’re asking a baker who’s a health-freak. So frankly I don’t do any guilty food. I stopped it completely 5 years ago. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get pleasure from guilt-free food. And so have my own light healthier cakes and desserts that I bake for self and my audiences too.
A spice in your kitchen that you swear by?
There is a tie between Ginger and Black Pepper. I can imagine very few dishes without either of the two; except of course when I’m baking a chocolate cake 🙂
A kitchen gadget that you just can’t do without?
I can’t do without Knife, Scissor & a Chopping Board. Be it a vegetarian or otherwise, nothing begins without having these in your kitchen. The other thing is that I chop my own vegetables, because if they are not of a proper proportion, shape & size, I wouldn’t enjoy my food. Imagine eating too small cucumber pieces or too thick ladyfinger vegetable. See you can’t imagine it, can you!!! Presentation matters!
As a mother and professional how do you keep it together?
Actually, I don’t have to keep it together; My family keeps it together for me. Being a very disciplined person that I am, my family understands what drives me nuts and what would bring a smile on my face. I am indeed lucky to have a very understanding husband and even more understanding 11 year old daughter. Even a Sachin Tendulkar would not have risen so high and so far, without support from his family. So I am no different. Light out at 10 pm & Wake up before sunrise, my family supports me in each and every way. They have been the building blocks of my life.
Please follow Meghna’s Food Magic for recipe videos, food facts and cooking tips.
Youtube: Meghna’s Food Magic
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About the Author: Parinaaz is an MBA Finance by profession and writer by passion. She blogs at “A Dollop of That!”, her food blog, that was the outcome of her passion for writing, which surfaced often but never overflowed and since she loves to experiment with ingredients, a recipe blog was her natural choice.
When Parinaaz is not blogging, she doubles up as a content partner for Plattershare, practices Iyengar yoga, mimics all and sundry or is out and about photographing pretty flowers all depending on what time of the day it is. You can be in touch with Parinaaz on her blog – A Dollop of That, or like her Facebook page, or follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Google+