Known as the ‘Czar of Indian Cuisine’, Jaspal Inder Singh Kalra (Jiggs Kalra), passed away on Tuesday. He was reportedly suffering from a long illness and finally succumbed on the morning of June 4 at the age of 71. Being a pioneering food columnist, author, and food consultant, Kalra in his career, was instrumental in introducing Indian cuisine to the international audience as well as setting standards of the same. He was best known for his role as a culinary revivalist and was also called the 'Nation’s Tastemaker'.
He represented India at various international food festivals and summits and his culinary journey consists of serving the members of the royal family to renowned political figures like former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Princess Diana and Prince Charles, and former US President Bill Clinton. His career began as a journalist at the Times of India, later moving on to the Illustrated Weekly of India, where he flourished under the editorial eye of the late Khushwant Singh. He was one of the first Indian connoisseurs to achieve various milestones and accolades in his lifetime and was also appointed as an advisor to the India Trade Promotion Organization in 1997.
His brilliance and vision opened several avenues for Indian cuisine. He has authored over 11 books on Indian cuisine among which 'Prashad' is considered one of his great works - a sort-of manuscript for chefs in India. Known as a pioneer in food television, with the hugely popular Doordarshan show 'Daawat', he along with his food historian Pushpesh Pant, travelled the length and breadth of the country, talking to chefs, bawarchis, khansaamas, and other professional cooks and bringing to light a mind-boggling range of recipes.
Many people from India offered their condolences to the family of Jiggs Kalra.
Here are some of their tweets:
The food columnist was the first Asian to be inducted in the highly prestigious society of International Food and Beverage Gourmet Hall of Fame. His culinary journey paved way for the Indian cuisine to gain recognition in the International platform. He was the first one to conceptualize and host a food-oriented television series. Some of the delicacies he introduced were the kebabs served in the erstwhile royal kitchens of India, most notable being the Galouti. He has introduced a chain of restaurants like Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra, Made in Punjab and Farzi Café and Pa Pa Ya. His endeavors in recreating the culinary heritage have shaped the Indian cuisine, giving it a touch of modernity.
He has been instrumental in reviving the age-old delicacies from the treasure trove of the Royal Kitchens of India. Some of the delicacies that Kalra introduced were the kebabs served in the erstwhile royal kitchens of India, most notable being the Galouti. Kalra’s last rites will be performed on Thursday at 10:30 am at the Lodhi crematorium. He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Zorawar and Dildeep Kalra.