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The man and his menu: Jiggs Kalra

Pioneer food writer, gastronome, restaurateur, Kalra did much more than tickle India’s taste buds.

ET Bureau|
Jun 06, 2019, 11.08 AM IST
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Kalra was India’s best known and arguably finest ‘tastemaker’, plying his trade of writing about food, curating cuisines and reviving almost vanished palates for more than 40 years.
The passing of Jaspal Inder Singh ‘Jiggs’ Kalra on Tuesday at the age of 72 is not unlike the end of a lavish, great meal. Kalra was India’s best known and arguably finest ‘tastemaker’, plying his trade of writing about food, curating cuisines and reviving almost vanished palates for more than 40 years, at a time when most people in India still had to look up the meaning of ‘gastronome’.

Food columnist, food consultant and restaurateur are tags we will remember him by. But, fundamentally, Kalra was a lover of food, a true ashiq of khana. His food columns not only provided Indians, especially in the more frugal 1970s-80s knowledge, about their own rich cooking and eating traditions, but made it more than acceptable to dine at restaurants for more than ‘Chinese food’ and ‘continental’ eating-out. Eating, and eating out, desi khana was no longer a silly luxury but something to relish. And, in his writings, Kalra was also instrumental in the making of many an establishment’s and chef ’s reputation.

For a world now saturated with cooking shows, food programmes and tasting events, Kalra was the original tandoori. From ‘reviving’ the grandness of galouti kebabs to bringing food shows on Doordarshan as well as making Indian haute cuisine — and, indeed, basse cuisine — ‘international’ for the first time, a four-course salute to the man and his menu.

Celebrity Deaths Of 2018: Looking Back At The Stars We Lost

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​In Memoriam

12 Dec, 2018
The world lost more than a few stars in 2018. Many celebrities died this year, breaking millions of hearts. From the ‘90s heart-throb, Sridevi to Anthony Bourdain, there were some legends that left us this year. Here's a look at all the people we lost. (In Pic: From left, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Sridevi, VS Naipaul.)
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