Becoming A Chef Was In My Genes

Last updated 1 Mar 2018 . 1 min read

Chef Reetu Kugaji journey Chef Reetu Kugaji journey

Renowned chef Reetu Uday Kugaji has to her credit, menu planning and preparing the most delectable and exotic cuisines for the Former Hon. President Of India Her Excellency Smt. Pratibha Tai Patil, 'The God of Cricket' Mr. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, 'The Great Wall of Indian Cricket' Mr. Rahul Dravid and various other dignitaries and eminent personalities.

She shares her story and how her mother was and will always remain the driving force

"All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."

I lost my beloved mother in November 2016 and I thought of quitting my work. My father and my husband Uday, literally had to make me understand that I had to get back to my work for the sake of the students. They had their modules to be completed and therefore were dependent on me. Exactly how I was dependent on my mother for deriving strength. So after the 8th day, I was back in the office only for my kids (my students). Still struggling with the pain of this irreparable loss.

With 20 years of experience in the culinary world, I believe that food is like oxygen to me. Food for me is God. As my profession demands cooking and tasting non-vegetarian food and in spite of I being a pure vegetarian, I perform my duties religiously as I understand the cause behind it is holy and noble. I profoundly believe that food, whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian, if cooked with utmost love and positivity, touches the heart of a person relishing it.  

I am privileged to be a Chef and a Mentor. If I have to say what my biggest achievements are, they would be shaping the careers and motivating thousands of students. I am indeed blessed to see my students excel in their careers and holding immense respect, gratitude and love for me. I believe that the food that I cook/prepare should not only touch the hearts but also the souls of the people relishing it.

I do believe that women have to prove that they do have the skills and capabilities. So I don’t agree with the term 'Lady Chef”. A big shout out to all the women who have the potential, skills and the capabilities of multi-tasking. Hats off to you all and me too.

I belong to a very broadminded Punjabi family, but you see, relatives' opinions mattered too. I have grown up seeing my mother - my strength and my backbone - preparing the most delectable cuisines for the entire family. The interest and passion that I have, came in through my genes I guess. I have always looked up to my role model, the living culinary legend, Chef Satish Arora, the most humble person I have ever met. Our relatives were against the thought of me joining the Hotel Management Course, but my mother stood tall to support me in taking up the course.

I made sure to make her proud by receiving the Certificate of Merit. Thus kickstarting my journey into the world of foods.”

Do visit Chef Reetu Uday Kugaji's website to note down finger-licking recipes.

SHEROES - lives and stories of women we are and we want to be. Connecting the dots. Moving the needle. Also world's largest community of women, based out of India. Meet us at @SHEROESIndia

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