There is no one more synonymous with culinary art in Bangladesh today than the master chef Alpana Habib. She personifies modern Bengali home cooking and has garnered worldwide acclaim for her talent. She is also a TV personality and writer. In fact, her latest cookbook, ‘Alpana’s Cooking’ was awarded the prestigious Gourmand International Cookbook Awards this was. The only other person from Bangladesh to win this honor was the legendary Siddqua Kabir in 2012, whom Alpana Habib considers her idol. On the latest edition of Bproperty Bites, we sat down with the culinary genius herself and got to know a bit more about her and her secret to cooking delicious food.
“I Started Reading Siddiqua Apa’s Book When I Was in 6th Grade”
Even when Ms. Habib was little, she had a keen interest in cooking and culinary. She had a habit of sneaking into the kitchen, moving things around and making a mess. When she was in the 6th grade, she bought one of Siddiqua Kabir’s books which helped her learn the fundamentals of cooking. Realizing the passion and talent of Ms. Habib, her sister suggested she should have a cooking show on TV. This motivated Alpana Habib’s to pursue her talent.
“Thanks to Sara Zaker, I had a cooking show on Desh TV for 6-7 years, which helped me share my cooking with everyone” According to Alpana Habib, she previously strived to improve her skills, but now, she strives to help others improve.
“After a While, I Started Adding One or Two Extra Ingredients to Existing Recipes”
Like most others, Alpana Habib’s early attempts at culinary involved following the established recipes. But after a while, when she had more confidence in herself and her skills, she began experimenting by deviating from the recipes. Adding a few extra ingredients to recipes resulted in creating delicious dishes. “This made me a creator in others’ eye”. She focused not on digressing away from the authenticity of the dishes, but rather put her own spin to it.
“And My Favorite Ingredient, that’s the Notorious Ghee”
To Ms. Habib knives are the most instruments in the kitchen. According to her, it is difficult to enjoy cooking without a good knife. When Bproperty Bites asked what her favorite ingredient is, she mentioned ghee. While many of her friends and family remark that Alpana Habib puts ghee on everything, she believes ghee has the ability to turn even an ordinary meal into something extraordinary.
“I Always Enjoy Cooking Oriental Food”
Even though Alpana Habib doesn’t exclusively follow any international chef, she does take inspiration from them. She tries to incorporate some of their techniques if she thinks they’ll help her improve. “Thai, Japanese, Chinese – cuisines from these countries are easy to make, take less time, and taste delicious.” She has recently found someone intriguing to follow, namely Marion Grasby, who’s a Thai-Australian cook. According to her, Ms. Grasby and herself have a similar style, mannerism, and approach to cooking, and she would love the chance to cook beside herself one day.
“When It Comes to Cooking, What I Believe with my Life is Love for Cooking”
The kind of food that can captivate someone’s heart, as well as stomach, can only be needs love in making it; it’s what Alpana Habib believes and follows. She also believes irritation nor disinterest should be present during cooking. Every meal deserves to be made with care and love, and that makes the food ten times more tasty and delicious.
The people of Bangladesh love to eat just as much as they love to cook. That is why it’s no surprise that a culinary of Alpana Habib’s talent and stature is so beloved. The time spent with Ms. Habib was an honor and educational. Watch the latest Bproperty Bites below and stay tuned for future editions of Bproperty Bites as we bring you more amazing individuals and personalities to the series.