Jiggs Kalra, Renowned Chef And Food Columnist, Dies At 72

Jiggs Kalra, a celebrated chef, has been referred as the "czar of Indian cuisine" and "taste maker to the nation" - the titles conferred upon him by eminent writer Khushwant Singh.

Jiggs Kalra, Renowned Chef And Food Columnist, Dies At 72

Jiggs Kalra, renowned chef, columnist, was not keeping well from some months.

New Delhi:

Jiggs Kalra, celebrated chef, famous food columnist, restaurateur, author and food consultant, died this morning, reportedly after a long illness. He was 72. His son, Zorawar Kalra, said, "With profound grief and sadness, I would like to announce the demise of my beloved father, Jiggs Kalra. He was my mentor, my inspiration and my biggest hero." For dedicating his four-decade-long career to Indian food, Jiggs Kalra has been referred as the "czar of Indian cuisine" and "taste maker to the nation". Known for reviving the lost regional cuisine, and introducing age-old delicacies like Galouti Kebabs, the septuagenarian was instrumental in introducing and representing Indian food on international platforms. His last rites will be performed on Thursday at 10:30 am at the Lodhi crematorium in Delhi.

"I have lost my beloved father but Indian cuisine has lost one of its great ambassadors. His death will make our resolve and sense of duty towards Indian cuisine even stronger," Zorawar Kalra told news agency PTI.

Last month, he had shared an update about his father's health on Instagram.

"Today is my father Jiggs Kalra's 72nd birthday. This is the first time unfortunately it has been celebrated in hospital, as he isn't well. Last year we celebrated it together as a family. Nothing matters more than time spent with your parents as each and every single Birthday matters. He is a toughie. Has been battling his stroke for 19 years and will be back soon. Roaring," Zorawar Kalra had posted two weeks ago.

His friend, Vir Sanghvi, a food-critic, was among the first ones to tweet about his death.

"Goodbye old friend.The great Jiggs Kalra who did so much to rediscover the lost secrets of Indian food and who gave chefs their rightful place in the sun goes off to that great kitchen in the sky to ensure that the Gods eat his wonderful food.There will never be another Jiggs," Mr Sanghvi tweeted.

"My deepest condolences to ⁦@ZorawarKalra⁩ & Dildeep.They were the best son & daughter-in-law Jiggs Kalra could ever have hoped for. At this sad time I remember how Zorawar kept his father's legacy alive and turned Jiggs's name into a global brand.I know how proud Jiggs was," he wrote in another tweet.

Several tributes followed:

Filmmaker Hansal Mehta, in a condolence message for Jiggs Kalra, wrote on Twitter, "Thank you for introducing me to Indian food and it's treasure of recipes. All your books adorn my bookshelf and the masala and oil on each page is testimony to how your recipes have shaped my passion for cooking."

Calling him a "master chef", filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri wrote, "The master chef is gone but the taste, flavours, hospitality, uniqueness and richness of #JiggsKalra cuisine will remain."

Jiggs Kalra was the first Asian to be inducted in the International Food and Beverage Gourmet Hall of Fame. He was the brain behind some of the most critically-acclaimed and best performing restaurants in the country like Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra, Made in Punjab, Farzi Cafe and Pa Pa Ya.

He also represented India at various international food festivals and summits, apart from having served the likes of British royals Prince Charles, the late Princess Diana; and former US President Bill Clinton.

Author of over 11 titles on Indian cuisine, Jiggs Kalra's book "Prashad" is considered 'the bible' for the chefs of today.

In 1997, the Government of India appointed Jiggs Kalra as advisor to the India Trade Promotion Organisation.

(With Inputs From PTI)