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Shireen Anwar One-on-One with KhanaPakana.com
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What cooking or chef inspires you & who is your favourite Pakistani chef?
Actually I’m really inspired by Zubeida Appa and Chef Mehboob, I think he is very good.
What do you think is the hardest & the easiest dish to cook?
For me, Alhumdolillah nothing is hard, and the easiest, I feel, is salad. There's nothing to it really. Mocktails, drinks, punches are very easy to make as well. Yes you can say that mithai making and puff pastry are time consuming but not really difficult.
Are cooking schools worth attending/who do u think they are most suitable for?
Yes it's definitely worth attending cooking classes. When I was attending a course in Wilton USA, I was very impressed by they way they would teach. They are so organized, it was totally amazing. Courses are suitable for everyone, especially for young girls. Cooking is somting that everyone should know as you can’t get away with not knowing it, because when you get married you have to cook. I have received so many emails and messages from young girls saying: "ever since you have come onto Masala TV we have been trying all your recipes; and have been getting so much appreciation from our husbands because we never knew how to cook before and after watching you cooking has become easier."
Which is the best method to learn cooking?
I feel easiest that you have to be sincere and loyal, and give proper time in whatever you do, it’s not about something that takes an hour to cook and you want to get out of the kitchen in ten minutes, you will ruin the whole thing. Cooking classes are very helpful, demonstration is done right in front of you whatever is made and then you taste whatever is made and then when you try to making it home and taste what you have made you definitely find the difference that in class it tasted like so, and my dish taste like this. I would advise young girls to try attending a few classes.
Those who are hesitant in making desserts or in baking what tips/advice would you give them?
In baking you cannot skip any step or ingredient, or if you lessen 1 oz of butter the whole thing will be gone, you have to be perfect, in desi khana you can do your own variation but never in baking, and similar in mithai, and have to use exact ingredients. You should never be scared of baking, baking is the simplest thing, and more interesting, if you follow an easy recipe you won’t go wrong.
What tip would you give an unmarried or newlywed wife?
With whatever they do they must do with love, if you cook in a hurry it usually goes wrong so always try and cook with passion and patience. I would advise everyone every single person that when they go into the kitchen to start with Bismillah and read Darood shareef before starting, I have been cooking for past 33 years, never have I ever burnt anything, not one thing has been less in the dish, and never has been left short, whether I am cooking for 50-60 people.
Please give a full description of how you would host a large dinner party?
My husband is a honouree council for Chile, and he loves entertaining, since last 25 years, and I cook each and everything myself even if it’s for 200 people I lay out table. I make a menu beforehand, menu should be well balanced, you should keep one seafood, one salad, one vegetarian, and one dhal (no shame) one meat one chicken, I plan a 7-9 course meal, and keep 3 desserts as people always love desserts and 2 salads. I arrange everything with flowers, and little food and vegetable carvings of your dish as you cannot just simply put food on the table. To make it a bit presentable
Can you offer a word of advice for the chef/expert cook of tomorrow?
Whoever has a passion in cooking should go into this field its amazing, there is no end and the deeper you go you learn more and more. And there is no age limit even if I was to learn something new at this age I would. If you want to become chef, then join classes, do short courses, I believe Singapore, have very good courses, or go abroad and join cooking schools as it changes whole life pattern.
Do you have any other hobbies?
You should see my collection of books! I have a collection of perhaps more than 5000 cooking books, and I have a whole collection of kitchen gadgets to pots and pans, I love collecting different toothpicks and decorative straws, and I love collecting magnets, I have thousands of magnets and every month I keep changing them, and each time I have 100 of them on my fridge, whenever I go abroad and first I buy fridge magnets.
What are your future plans, any new projects in the pipeline?
I have two cooking books already on the market by my name (An invitation to Pakistani Cooking, and The world on your table – a continental cookbook. I plan to take out a third book on Oriental cooking I plan to call it Beijing to Bangkok.
Do you agree to the point that media, internet food web sites and Facebook have played an important role in bringing chefs forward? i.e. how has internet and media influenced cooking experts/chefs?
Yes, definitely, with electricity problems in Pakistan, and because of KhanaPakana.com they can watch missed programs over the internet and this is a wonderful thing. Throughout the world people are watching us, and though internet everyone knowings about Masala Chennel, and getting to know about me too and that helps a lot.
Do you wish you had done anything in particular differently?
I am very very satisfied for what I am today. I feel very proud of myself, seeing what I am doing today and what I have done in the past. I happy (Alhamdulillah) that I am helping a lot of people. I am very proud of myself and feel that it's an honour for me. And whatever I am doing I am getting rewarded for it in the form of prayers. And I am doing all of this with the pure intention to please Allah SWT.
Can you tell how KhanaPakana.Com has effected/influenced you and your fans?
A lot, I want khanapakana.com to upload my programs daily as everyone is complaining about electricity and fans are requesting to upload recipes.
What is the best thing you like about KhanaPakana.Com?
I like that your bringing the latest recipes, you are writing the method, ingredients, and everything is so well-done with pictures, with videos KhanaPakana.com are doing a wonderful job.
What else would you like to see on KhanaPakana.Com to make it even better?
I would like to see international chefs, and international shows.
Is there any message you would like to give KhanaPakana.Com readers and your Facebook fans?
I love them all, and I love how you all love me.
On Behalf of KhanaPakana.Com, we would like to thank you for your valuable time that you have taken out. We wish you the best of luck with all of your current and future projects, and hope for a healthy and ever-growing relationship between KhanaPakana and yourself InshAllah.

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