In a country like India where being a chef was something to look down upon, where people who opted for this profession had to face social stigma and remarks like 'Tu bawarchi banega', there are people who overcame all these challenges to make it big in the profession and left a mark of Indian Cuisine in the world.

1.  Sanjeev Kapoor

In 1990s, a TV show became the talk of every home, when after Bollywood and Cricket, the only thing families used to watch was this renowned chef’s cooking show, Khana Khazana, a show that ran for over 18 years and in 120 countries.

He is considered to be the pioneer of bringing change to the status of chefs in India. He is considered to be the first celebrity chef of India. Apparently, he never thought of becoming a chef but suddenly left Delhi School of Planning and Architecture to pursue Hotel Management at IHM.

He never wanted to be a part of the herd that is the reason he opted for the kitchen when all his batch-mates opted for the front desk. But all of what he has faced is completely worth it for all that he has achieved. He has 59 restaurants in his name in various parts of the world. He has written plethora of books and is the most known chef in India.

 2.  Vikas Khanna                                       

 Vikas Khanna has come a long way from pau-bhaji to Michelin Star, from small-town Punjab to New York. He gives all the credits of his success to his grandmother, but the journey was not easy. ‘Their son is sitting at home and cooking’ was one of the common things he used to hear. He quotes his grandmother’s reply to the same that people don't understand anyone's dreams and that you are the only person who is going to live with yourself.

From starting a small catering business, the capital for which was raised by knitting sweaters, from failing in the interview of Manipal but still getting admission there because of his passion for food, to getting a Michelin star and becoming the judge of Master Chef India, he was never a brilliant student but was extremely dedicated. He says the only reason why he succeeded was his love for food and his dedication to learn more about it.                                                    

3.  Anahita Dhondy

"Make sure you work around it, don’t discriminate and make it sexist for yourself. It already is sexist.” – Chef Dhondy to all aspiring female chefs.

Born into a unique and culturally rich community, Anahita Dhondy’s journey, from a girl who dreamed about cruising the world to actually realizing that dream and becoming a trendsetter, cultural mascot and youth icon on the way, is a tale of true determination.

At the age of 13, she knew she wanted to be a chef, but it was not until she was busy trying to get her Grand Diploma at the Le Cordon Bleu, London, that she found her calling in Parsi Cuisine. Hard work and passion have always been her two strongest points. So, when she took on the role as Chef Manager at the SodabottleOpenerWala in Delhi, she took the kitchen by storm and showed everyone there that she wasn’t afraid to get her hands grimy to achieve the perfect dish.

Soon she wasn’t just Anahita Dhondy, the Parsi girl from Delhi, she was Chef Anahita Dhondy, recipient of ‘The Young Chef’ award, Times Food Award, the Hospitality Sector ‘Indian of the year’, judge at the TV food show ‘Femme Foodies’ and a woman on the road to even greater heights. 

4.  Pooja Dhingr

It is often said that passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks. The same belief applies to the famous Pooja Dhingra , Founder & Pastry Chef at Le15 Patisserie. She initially wanted to become a lawyer but just in 2 weeks realized that law wasn’t what she was cut out for. After studying hospitality from Switzerland, she had the good fortune of joining one of the most prestigious baking Schools, Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.

Despite her youth, Pooja’s journey to Le15 Patisserie has been a long one. Being a young girl in a male-dominated industry, she found it difficult to find suppliers or real estate agents who could work with her. But this didn’t deter her and she strode ahead unflinchingly. In a space dominated by men, she is the first Indian Chef who brought macarons to Mumbai and has taken the city by storm. She has not only earned fame as a successful chef but also became one of India's most prominent young women entrepreneurs.

5.  Kunal Kapoor

Rose to fame with his advent at Master Chef India, he explains how belonging to a middle class family and being the only son, he was expected to be a banker. He said he was not at all good at Maths. He confessed it to his father and tried Hotel Management, realized that cooking is what appeals him.

He joined IHM, Chandigarh. He says that he used to crib initially when he had long working hours on weekends, but once he accepted it and started loving it, there was no looking back. He also says that it is very important to laugh out loud and sometimes laugh at yourself. It is a very stressful environment to work in. It’s equally important to put your head down and learn. Money shouldn’t be a concern in the beginning rather youngsters should only focus on acquiring skills.