But through all the accolades he has earned, there’s one distinction that the 53-year-old kitchen veteran is most proud of.
“For the time being, it has to be the prestigious Padma Shri Award, one of the highest civilian awards in India,” he proudly tells us, recalling the ceremony held this year with none other than the country’s president in attendance.
As the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine, Sanjeev is being looked up to as the man who helped champion South Asian cuisine’s image both on the domestic and international front.
“Indian food is not just about butter chicken or chicken tikka masala anymore,” he raves.
“Today, many Indian chefs and restaurants have done well and through their innovative and experimental offerings, the international audience is getting educated on Indian food beyond the usual and is appreciating it as well, ultimately leading to a massive acceptance.”
One of the places that possesses a wide fondness for Indian cuisine is the UAE, something that Sanjeev himself acknowledges as evidenced by the number of restaurants here that carry his name.
“The UAE has become quite the paradise for gourmands and chefs. It is truly cosmopolitan in nature with people of many nationalities settling here. It is excellent in infrastructure and is futuristic. People have good taste and appreciation of the finer things. Eating out is the norm here.”
Given his many accomplishments in the field, Sanjeev says he’s still learning and has no plans of hanging up his many hats anytime soon.
“I get inspired from not only professional chefs around the world, but also anyone and everyone who is related to food and is constantly innovating to bring in creations that are modern yet grounded,” he remarks.
“I have always believed in simplicity and that’s one key ingredient in all my innovations. I’m an avid traveller. So, I keep my eyes, ears, nose and palate open to all kinds of food at any corner of the world.
“I invest in books. I meet different people, interact and learn from them. All these surely help.”
Catch Sanjeev Kapoor at Taste of Abu Dhabi from 9th to 11th November at du Arena, Yas Island. Read all about Taste of Abu Dhabi here.
WORDS Ferdinand Godinez