Sandhya Kumar: The culinary expert behind Saif Ali Khan’s Chef
Sandhya Kumar predicts that, across the country, fast food stalls and snack kiosks within theatres and multiplexes will do brisk business this weekend. That’s because this Thiruvananthapuram-based chef—whose illustrious career includes stints at Marriott’s, The Oberoi and Four Seasons—is responsible for every obscenely luscious shot of food featured in Raja Krishna Menon’s Chef. From piping-hot string hoppers in Kerala to piquant rava-fried fish in Goa; we’re told there are lots of scenes to tantalise our taste buds in this 130-minutes-long film.
“The film follows the life of a fictional Michelin-starred executive chef, Roshan Kalra (played by Saif), who returns to India in the hopes of bonding with his Kerala-based teenage son. Roshan does this by using food as a catalyst to further their relationship, eventually embarking on a ‘father-son road trip’ through Kerala, Goa, Rajasthan, Punjab and Delhi, on a food truck,” explains Sandhya, who occasionally accepts food-styling assignments for F&B brands like Nestle Maggi and operates her own restaurant consultancy company. She adds that Saif (and some his co-stars), spent many months training with the chefs at JW Marriott (Juhu) to demonstrate on-screen authenticity and learn every aspect of the trade—ranging from cooking techniques to the way he ties his apron.
Though this film is adapted for Bollywood from Jon Favreau’s 2014 sleeper hit of the same name, Sandhya insists that unlike its Hollywood counterpart, their food truck menu does not revolve around Cubanos.“The chef-d’oeuvre on our truck is a desi combination of a roti and pizza, available in delectable variants like keema, chicken, paneer, etc,” shares the 29-year-old. Rotza anyone?
Chef releases today.