'Maa ki Baat' is Chef Ranveer Brar's ode to motherhood



Have you ever wondered "what does mom like to eat?" Enter "Maa ki Baat) a 20-part web series crafted by multi-talented Chief Ranveer Brar, "the perfect ode" to all a mother does for her loved ones.

"Essentially the idea comes from the appreciation (actually under-appreciation) of an Indian senior homemaker and why she doesn't get the credit she deserves. No matter how far we travel, we always crave the Maa ke haath ka khaana. It's amazing how a mother translates her love for the family into food, amongst many other things she does for the household. So for me, food worked out to be the medium to give her that credit," Brar told IANS in an interview.

It went on air on Mother's Day, featuring quite naturally Brar's mother Surinder Kaur demonstrating her favorite Rajma recipe and reminiscing her journey as a wife, daughter- in-law and mother who was forced by Partition to uproot her life from a small town to a city. It's gathered over a million views in a very short time 

Speaking about the research and planning process, Brar said: "The idea was to understand the life journey and cuisine. So, we had some random conversations with moms and figured out some amazing life journeys. The process of selection was a mix of their life journeys and understanding the food they cooked."

"We've covered a wide range. There's Sindhi cuisine, South Indian Brahmin cuisine, UP Kayastha cuisine and many more. More will be revealed as the episodes roll out," said Brar, who has cooked in the natural way in the hot desert sands of Rajasthan, was featured among the Top 50 Chefs in the Indian Culinary Forum Book, has opened fine diners in the US and Canada - as also Mumbai, hes curates gourmet Indian food on two cruise liners on their Singapore sailings.

Scouting nationwide for guest cooks for the show, Brar has invited mothers nationwide to participate and send in their videos through which they are selected to cook on the show. The upcoming episodes will be featuring mothers from Kerala, Bangalore, Tamil Nadu, and North India.

"After I got back from the US and judged Masterchef India, I realised that there is a huge stream of Indian cooking that I (in fact many of us) haven't appreciated enough, and that is 'home-cooking'. I was touched, moved and inspired by the food and the character of a home-maker who is the Chef of the household, and it drove me to go back and re-live parts of my life to understand how my mother and grandmother used to cook and what was their relationship to food, which essentially was how the first idea of the show occurred. 

"The idea was simple - bring out the power of the homemaker and start a conversation about the ancestral recipes that Indian home kitchens carry forward. The personality and the character of the Indian mother are that of immense love, selflessness and inner beauty, which she brings to the table along with her food. As an Indian son, this show is my way of giving respect and credit to all Indian mothers from whom my biggest learning was that mothers never let anything go to waste, they even use the simplest of things like 'Chaawal Ka Paani'. I wanted to understand what are the likes and dislikes of a mother," Brar added.

He has featured both on the small screen and in a web show. Which medium is he more comfortable with?

"I enjoy both and feel equally comfortable. Having been trained in the Television school of visual media, so to speak, it takes a little bit of adjustment but that said, I love the spontaneity of the medium. There's no right or wrong really when you are creating content for the digital medium. The focus is to get the message out in the most effective way. We wanted to make this both effective and fun, for the moms as well as the viewers," Brar explained.

What of the future?

"We'll keep trying to explore Indian cuisine through various lenses, be it the streets of India, local and hyperlocal regions, to royal families.. This is just the beginning," Brar concluded. IANS