Young ‘star’ in the making

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 29 Dec 2016 09:29:29

Kolkatta-based Kirti Bhoutika has been announced as the winner of MasterChef India Season 5.

In a special finale challenge on t he show, four finalists including Ashima Arora, Dinesh Patel and Mirvaan Vinayak competed to impress the judges and actress Sonakshi Sinha to win the title of MasterChef India.
The three judges - Chef Vikas Khanna, Chef Kunal Kapur and Zorawar Kalra - together announced and crowned Kirti as the winner.

Kirti Bhoutika is the youngest female contestant on the culinary show series to return home with a title, a cash prize worth Rs 50 lakhs and an opportunity to work with the best of International Chefs at massive restaurants.
The home-baker who hails from Kolkata, is a student of Nutrition Science.

Tell us about your three month long journey at MasterChef India Season 5?
The last three months of my life have been more rewarding than so many years put together. Meeting, living and competing with people of different backgrounds but the same passion has been an extremely beautiful experience. My knowledge and passion for cooking has been enhanced multiple folds and today, after three months I am a much better person and an even better cook. 

What made you choose cooking as a career over being a nutritionist?
Nutrition was never an option for me. I wanted to take up hotel management after my school, but my parents weren’t thrilled about the idea. So nutrition became the link for me to the culinary world. Even as a student of Nutrition Science, I was always more inclined towards subjects related to cooking. My heart always resided in baking. 

What is the best compliment you have received on the show as a Home Cook?
I have been regarded as the ‘Dessert Queen’ and the ‘Queen of Kolkata’ by the judges. They always said I was someone who always had a ‘never say die’ attitude. I always had backup plans ready and the judges loved me for my confidence and determination. 

How was the experience working with the judges?
The three judges have been the best mentors. They were always encouraging each one of us, both on screen and behind the scenes. They constantly gave us ideas of betterment in our respective fields. Also, the three of them are extremely fun people off screen, unlike what most people might think. 
Tell us about a criticism which inspired your cooking passion.

I live in a family of 16 people where each person has his own comments and feedbacks on whatever I cook. Whatever and whenever I cooked, my food was judged and criticised by each member in the family. Although it sounded funny at that time, all of it had helped me improve my cooking. My family and my friends have been my best critics. 

What are the best rules to follow in the kitchen to ensure nutrition is well-retained in food?
I think to ensure proper nutrition we must understand how to substitute unhealthy ingredients and techniques with healthy ones. Replacing yoghurt with cream, frying with baking, fresh with preserved are some very basic tricks I follow. Also, in India we need to stop overcooking the vegetables because overcooking completely destroys nutrients. 

Tell us about the reactions received on winning the title of MasterChef India.
Since I am the youngest winner of the Masterchef India title, a lot of young adults and kids are looking up to me. They are now looking forward to achieving their passion and doing something different in their lives. It is overwhelming to be able to inspire a generation and community altogether. I would like to share my victory with every cook in the country. 
What are your plans after winning the show?

I plan on polishing and training myself further in the field of cooking, followed by opening up my own studio where I will teach what I know. It’ll be an interactive platform where people who are passionate about food can teach, learn and experience about the art and science of food. 
Things you may want to tell your audience and home cooks in the country?

I am not a professionally trained Chef. I just made the best use of the Internet. In our tech savvy world, we should use this smart and easy-to-access tool to our best advantage and learn from it. Practice what you love doing every single day. Meet new people and get inspired. Read more books and widen your approach towards things. Stimulate your mind and reach great heights.