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“I Repeat, Kitchen Is Not A Woman Only Workplace”

Many men in the world credit all of their success to their fathers but every now and then you come across a rare jewel who credits his all to his mother. In the past, we have interviewed Chef Shamsher but we thought we would revisit him and see if he would join us for yet another interview. This time, the questions get a bit personal.

What has been the inspiration behind all that you have accomplished so far in your life?

My mother is my first inspiration. She was perfect and on-point with her food. She was a master in making desserts and baking. Other inspirations include Seonkyoung Longest a YouTuber who has also worked with Tastemade. She is an Asian chef and she masters the art of Asian food like no other. Laura Vitale, her channel was the first one I ever explored for foreign recipes. Laura is beautiful and makes learning very easy. Gordon Ramsey, I don’t even need to say anything about him. Nigella Lawson who does cooking shows on BBC, my all-time biggest celebrity chef crush and an exceptional teacher.

Has anyone from the Twitter family been an inspiration?

I wouldn’t be honest if I said I never asked for help. I would like to mention Lahori Housewife Tweets account from Twitter as I got to learn a great deal from her. I would constantly bug her for recipes and she always helped me out.

Would you say you are self-taught or did someone teach you how to cook?

My mom taught me all the basics of cooking. My grandmother has also taught me a couple of things and then, of course, different blogs and YouTube channels have played a huge part in my learning curve.

Tell us the story of the first dish you ever made.

The first dish I ever made was Murgh Channa. I can never forget that day because my mother was unwell. She could not cook because she was heavily sedated. I remember her waking up for 2 minutes and telling me to make her Murgh Channa. At that point, I could only make an omelet, instant noodles and tea. So, by chance a friend visited and he helped me with cutting the onions and tomatoes. Mom would get up every 5 minutes and would give me instructions on how to make the dish and that is how I ended up making my first recipe. From this point onwards, I cooked every single day for the next 4 years.

Do you see yourself opening a Pakistani restaurant anytime soon?

I have a lot of things to learn before I even think about that. I have a steady 9-5 now but obviously, I want to start my own thing but not anytime soon, maybe in 5-10 years. I am just 30. So, I think I have some time to learn and gather more knowledge before jumping into food professionally.

Which Pakistani dish would you say is your comfort food?

Balochi Mutton and Chicken Sajji is my comfort food. I will eat it every day for the rest of my life if I had to.

Has there ever been a person who didn’t enjoy your food?

My mother was my best critique. She was completely honest about everything I made. She never used to sugarcoat me with false appreciation. In fact, she would downright tell me if my food isn’t up to her standards and then she’d order me to bring her food from her favorite burger or sandwich place. I still mess up sometimes, I am not perfect and nobody is.

In Pakistan, the kitchen is mostly considered a place where a woman works. Yes, we are referring to the sexist demographic of Pakistan. What do you have to say to those who feel that you are a man in a woman’s world?

In Pakistan, the kitchen being considered as a woman only domain is a huge issue that and I want to address. I want all the patriarchy in this society to leave their homes and see the kitchens of all these restaurants they dine at. It is men working mostly in kitchens from small dhabas to five star hotels. So why treat women be it wives, mothers, and sisters any different? Men at home should participate in kitchen activities and even with grocery and chores outside. I know many people who participate or have started to participate more which is amazing, but I have no respect for any person who sits around home all-day ordering around women of their house and can’t even fetch a glass of water for themselves. The kitchen is not a woman only workplace I REPEAT, KITCHEN IS NOT A WOMEN ONLY WORKPLACE.

Chef Shamsher tweets, vlogs and breathes Pakistani cuisine. If you are a newbie who doesn’t know how to cook, he helps out like many who helped him once. He too believes that a woman’s place isn’t in a kitchen, but rather everywhere a man can be. And in the same way, a man can be in a kitchen if that is where he wishes to be. We are constantly striving to leave behind ideas and values to make us believe people have a certain place in this life.

Would you break free of the stereotypes with us?

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