From a School Teacher to Master Chef: Pankaj Bhadouria’s Incredible Journey

The host of Living Foodz's Health in 100 shares her journey with us


Chef Pankaj Bhadouria is an author, entrepreneur and winner of MasterChef India Season 1. She is a brand in herself with numerous TV shows, a well-known café in Lucknow and she has also penned some popular books. She took the leap of faith to switch careers and follow her true passion. Her inspiring journey, from being a school teacher for 16 years to carving a niche for herself on television as a celebrity chef is the kind of stuff that dreams are made of.

It has been six years since she made the bold move, and we had a quick chat with the inspiring chef to know what has changed over the years.

The journey…

Food has always been close to my heart. Needless to say, it has only grown stronger with time.

As a result, the only change that followed was me getting better with my techniques and incorporating more variety in my recipe book. Thanks to my audience who are always demanding for more and with a great deal of exposure from my travels, I have discovered numerous tricks and a treasure trove of ingredients that are globally available.

About her ventures…

I am glad to be training many passionate chefs and giving wings to their dreams. My pet project in Lucknow is a café called Tramp Tree. The name is unusual but I like it. I had envisioned it to be a cozy space for people to catch up over great food and conversation. It should capture the feeling of a chatty bunch of people sitting under a tree and completely losing track of time. So, the tree in the name is a metaphor for comfort.

The café serves Italian, continental, Thai and fast food, along with coffees and thick shakes with interesting names that are related to the days of the week. The response is amazing and we are glad that people are loving it. This has encouraged us to go back to the drawing board and chart out expansion plans.

Show talk…

Currently, I am working on an upcoming show on Living Foodz called Health in 100. The show will bust the myth of healthy food being always expensive. The audience will get a chance to learn lip-smacking healthy recipes which can be prepared in or under INR 100 only.

Thoughts on food trends…

The mainstay of current trends is about making food look beautiful and aspiring to take it to a whole new level. It has to have a sense of appeal the moment it is served, and then take you by surprise with its flavours and textures. These dishes may not qualify as comfort food, but they are aspiring. I find these things beautiful and for me there has to be beauty in everything we cook. Also, there is lot of science involved that makes it even more interesting for me.


Recently, I was felicitated at The Confederation of Women Entrepreneurs (COWE) 2016 with Womennovetor award. This award encourages women to go beyond their daily chores and follow their dreams. I felt truly honoured and it is my deepest wish to instill a sense of confidence in women to courageously follow their passion and fulfill their dreams.


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