Interview: 'Food is life for me': Celebrity chef Vicky Ratnani is back to showtime with mini series Disney Delicious

The show is mini stopover to make day-to-day dishes interesting!

Priyamvada Rana Published :  30th September 2022 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  30th September 2022 12:00 AM
Chef Vicky

Chef Vicky

Celebrity chef Vicky Ratnani gets candid while talking about food. “It is life for me,” says the star chef from Mumbai at the start of our video interview with him, about Disney India’s new YouTube series Disney Delicious. Each of the 10 episodes in the mini series, spans about six minutes, where one will see Vicky offer tips and tricks to parents on how to whip up delicious and healthy recipes for their kids.

Vicky dons the chef’s hat but in a never-before-seen avatar — one where he’s that go-to person for a kid in the show who loves him for redoing usual homemade dishes with a new twist. In each episode, the popular chef will be seen blending a melange of flavours with a fun and saucy topping of his usual wit and humour. We talk to him about his latest show, steering the ship of his dreams to faraway lands and serving some of the most notable personalities on Earth.

The ‘show’ man
Disney’s latest series is just an addition to Vicky’s repetoire of shows. Previously, he has been a household name with popular shows like Vickypedia and Vicky Goes Veg. He tells us about the latest mini-series and what makes it different from his previous stints as cooking show host, “This show is about a kid who is not just fussy about food but many things that bother him — be it at home, school or with friends. I am his comfort person. He comes to my house where I try to keep his worries at bay by uplifting his mood with scrumptious and healthy food. That’s how we share a bonhomie over cooking.”

He adds on the unique storytelling aspect of the show, “I am in a different element in all my shows. For instance, with this kind of show, I can’t be hyperactive or talk about fancy food all the time as there is an exchange of insightful conversation between the main characters — me and the kid.” For those who might think that the show is for kids, Vicky articulates that it’s for everyone, especially parents. “I think mothers and fathers can get some insights from the show on how a little effort in cooking brings a big difference to a plate. The show throws light on finding different ways to calm down children and one of the ways to do it is by cooking creatively. ”

Sharing some cooking tips for parents, he suggests, “One may play around with shapes and interesting cuts while serving fruits and veggies. Be experimental with colour combinations of food items as they add to an attractive presentation. For fruits, serve them in different ways like that of smoothies or shakes to add that wow element.” While Vicky is always enthusiastic about whipping up new delicacies in 'reel' life, in real life too, he has been fond of cooking with his daughter right from when she was a little girl. Today, she’s 18 and all grown up, but she has picked up some quick recipes from her father, the chef tells us. Vicky shares, “My daughter loves pasta and I am good at making it, so we used to cook together. She has learned a lot of pasta recipes from me. Along with that, over the years, she has learnt to grill vegetables, chicken, make eggs and delectable sandwiches.”

The culinary explorer
Vicky’s love for food has opened avenues for him to explore new culinary markets. His journeys are once in a lifetime kind of experiences where he has got to serve the most iconic personalities of time — Nelson Mandela, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Mary II to name some. From living and learning in Italy and training chefs in Manila to being the chef at the largest restaurant on the seas at Britannia Restaurant & Kitchen — he’s a wandering soul in pursuit of new flavours, cultures and people. Having travelled across the globe, he tells us how chefs from India and abroad have inspired him, “Right from the good old days, I was inspired by the culinary expertise of chefs who started the molecular food movement. Then we have chef Jean George and US-born Dan Barber. From India, there are chefs like Manjeet Gill who are front runners of good food. Sanjeev Kapoor is another inspiration who became a household name with his simple yet well-thought recipes. There are many Scandinavian and Japanese chefs also, whose work I hold in high regard. So like that there area lot of influences from the places I’ve been to.”

When asked about a restaurant whose hospitality and food he has relished for days, he names the Central Restaurant in Lima, Peru. The Latin American restaurant has been voted the foremost in the country based on people’s reviews. “The Central blew my mind for their creativity, research and storytelling that they embedded in their indigenous dishes from Latin America.” Like a true culinary connoisseur, Vicky continues to explore the world of food with cookbooks and shows. He has recently launched his book Urban Desi Non-Vegetarian which talks about insights on preparing regional Indian dishes in the comfort of one’s home. Next up, he’s keen on bringing food to the Metaverse and is studying tech and food trends for the same!

A new episode of Disney Delicious will premiere every Friday from today on Disney India, YouTube. Mail: priyamvada@newindian