With seven years in the food industry behind her, Amrita Raichand is a familiar face, especially among working mothers and children, because of her popular show Mummy Ka Magic. But that is not the only thing that keeps her busy.
On an average day, Amrita works on creating and testing three to four recipes and mastering them, so that she can share them with her audience. Besides events, shows and judging competitions, she also has her own YouTube channel that she built from scratch. She is especially proud of her list of recipes for expectant mothers and recipes for women to try out post-birth. “These are foods women usually crave so I have created simple and easy versions for them. They can try them out and fulfil their cravings,” she says.
Amrita’s primary audience are parents and children. Figuring out what children will enjoy but find tasty is her biggest challenge. In all the rush to whip up healthy meals, one should not compromise on the taste. “I am not someone who says you have to eat food because it is healthy. I try to make all the food I create healthy, yet tasty recipes,” she says.
While she “lives to eat” and feels that food is at the centre of her existence she is always cognisant of the fact that food has to be made tasty. “Instead of letting food overpower our life in an unhealthy manner I have chosen a path where food benefits us,” she says.
However, it is easier said than done. Given that parents are often feel that healthy is boring, the onus is on her to bust that myth. “I need to lead by example with my recipes. The minute they see that it is easy to create these recipes and they are healthy too, the mindset shifts,” Amrita adds.
Since a lot of Amrita’s audience are children and working mothers, her priority is to cater to them. “Working mothers already have their hands full, so cooking shouldn’t become a chore for them, and that’s my aim. I want to create a setting where everyone wants to get into the kitchen without thinking of it as a tedious job,” she explains, adding that she is constantly working on ways to simplify recipes.
Finding food solutions requires mammoth research and Amrita leaves no stone unturned to dive deep and read, research and look for good substitutes and gain knowledge about nutrition. Given that most children don’t have mature palettes and that their tastes are varied, Amrita’s work as a chef is cut out. Pleasing the young ones, therefore, can be a daunting task and she always needs to stay one step ahead to please her audience of tiny people.
The food industry is a thriving and exciting space, and Amrita observes that it is refreshing to see chefs doing new and exciting things all the time and see them getting their due for their commendable work.
As for her own evolution in the industry she says that one of the big milestones was giving a TED Talk where she spoke about food and what she does. Also the appreciation and awards she has received for best TV host chef and the best cookery show have kept her going.
However, she is wary of people trying to enter the industry for the glamorous side of the profession, without wanting to put in the necessary hard work. Since she has experienced what it takes to succeed in the industry first hand, she knows the profession demands long hours and diligence. Amrita herself was into modelling and television till she decided to move to the food industry, and spent her early years investing in learning as much as possible.
She stays on top of her game by doing a lot of study and research and talking to a lot of people. “I experiment with a lot of recipes and don’t rest till I have cracked a few recipes every day. That is how I make myself better for others who follow the recipes. Given that I work with mothers and children it is a big responsibility and one that I do not take lightly.”
When it comes to trends Amrita points out that people are taking pride in their local cuisines. “People have gone back to the basics and their roots and are actually relishing Indian produce, which are considered superfoods abroad, such as turmeric. Desi food has become exciting.” Amrita recently did a show in Punjabi where she shortlisted a handful of people whose homes she visited and shared their meals. It was a challenge she thoroughly enjoyed.
She also points out how people have become more aware and informed about making healthy choices. "With organic farms on the rise, people are ready to consume organic vegetables, fruits and grains, even if they don’t come cheap. A lot of restaurants and companies are now looking at healthy food and snacks, and it is good that people are seeking healthy alternatives and relishing them," she says.
As for her soul food, she loves eating foods that she grew up with and that includes dal, chawal, aloo ka bhujia and tamatar ki chutney made by her mother.
As she signs off, Amrita’s message is to look at not just the calorie count of the food you eat but also at the nutrients. “Take a macro approach to food and you will have the best taste and nutrients that food has to offer,” she says.