Aditya Bal gets cooking tips from tribals and a warrior clan in season 2 of Lost Recipes
Synagogues and warriors — aren’t often words you come across on a cooking show. Which is why Lost Recipes (2015) hosted by celebrity chef Aditya Bal stands out from run-of-the-mill culinary content on television. The second season of the show which began airing on Epic channel recently, follows the chef and author of The Chakh Le India: Cookbook, as he takes his kitchen to unlikely places like the inside the oldest synagogue in Pune, meet with the Shekhawati clan of warriors of Rajasthan and even getting a lesson or two from the tribals of Chhattisgarh! Expect recipes some which Bal tells us “are a couple of millennia-old” interspersed with dollops of history and folklore through the ten-episode series.
First up, how is this season going to be different from the last one?
This time, we go about exploring more remote areas and communities, we have a greater focus on recipes and we have tried to recreate the feeling of travelling back to the times in which these recipes were cooked.
Take us through the highlights of Season Two of Lost Recipes.
Meeting members of the Shekhawati clan of warriors, wow! Learning how the Bherwals of Uttaranchal survive up in the high mountains. Cooking inside the premises of the oldest synagogue in Pune. Cooking, learning and interacting with the tribals of Chhattisgarh, as well as Orissa. These are all experiences that make for highlights of the season in my book!
Could you map us through your route?
We started our journey in north Karnataka at Hampi. We went on to cover coastal as well as tribal Andhra and Orissa — from the deserts of Rajasthan to the mountains of Uttarakhand, from the Konkan coast of Maharashtra to the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh. The shoot took a month approximately, broken into schedules.
What is the research process like behind finding these lost recipes?
The process involves first identifying communities and cultures that we are looking to cover. Then we connect with an individual or group of people belonging to the selected communities. We then discuss our concept and objective with them and then go on to finalise potential recipes that we can get them to showcase on the show. Only then do we fix shoot dates before heading out to the location and shooting the episode.
‘Keeping it fresh’
Off set and in your personal kitchen, what are some of your must-have ingredients?
Garlic, dry red chillies, butter, ghee and virgin olive oil.
What is comfort food?
Daal, rice and chaas. Or mutton curry and rice.
Name three dishes that have rocked your world in the past year.
Our Awadhi Chicken Biryani from my kitchen, Delhi Kebab House (in Kolkata), Slow-roasted pork belly with mushroom and baby potatoes that I cooked for friends a while back and my new, Slow-cooked Tuna and Tomato paste sauce with fresh spaghetti.
Do you have a playlist to cook or bake to that helps get you in the zone?
Easy happy music is good.
For the layman or woman who cooks for sustenance and not flair or discovery necessarily, what’s a good way to keep things fresh and fun?
Keep things simple in the kitchen. Experiment with a host of different ingredients, flavour profiles and cooking methods — all of this keeps things fresh in the kitchen.
We heard that there was a recipe from last season that was a thousand years old. Just how deep in time did you have to dig to find the recipes for this time?
I would think some recipes we covered go back a couple of millennia for sure. The tribal recipes we explored must be at least that old. We also covered some very ancient recipes in Hampi as well as the mountains of Uttaranchal.
Are there any behind the scenes stories from off the sets, that come to mind?
During our shoot in Uttaranchal, our director tore a ligament in her ankle, but I shall never forget the sight of her being carried up and down a mountainside in a makeshift contraption. She bravely shot the entire episode in her state before getting the necessary treatment. Her commitment and passion were exemplary and an inspiration to us all.
What else do you have planned for 2019?
Personally, I am looking at expanding my F&B business in Kolkata as well as doing more work with Epic. I am also busy with various cooking demonstrations and food shoots from time to time.
Is there a book or any other creative projects in the works?
I would like to write a really cracking cookbook, but I think it will only take shape a little down the line due to work commitments.
Between the shoots, prep, travel and of course managing your own catering company — do you find any time to watch cooking shows yourself?
When I get the chance!
Season 2 of Lost Recipes airs on Epic on Wednesdays at 8.30 pm and 10 pm, with a repeat telecast on Thursdays at 2.30 pm.
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