LAHORE: Known as Pakistan’s most snazzy gourmet specialist, Saadat Siddiqui is a household name in culinary world. His cooking style is innovative and simple, and explores modern variations of food from all over the world.

Saadat is one of those busy personalities who spend their time between kitchens and flying the world proudly promoting his nation’s cuisine.

In an exclusive interview with The Nation he talks about his career and success. Here is what he revealed about himself and his food world: 

What inspired you to become a chef?

I think it all came from my father who used to have passion for food. He was always on hunt for the best food that Karachi had to offer from Dampukht Bakra to Nehari and many more delights.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

Keeping everyone happy and trying to satisfy my own thrust.

With international ingredients now so easily available, how do you see the Pakistani market growing?

Pakistani food industry is growing and has a lot of potential not only because of the available ingredients, but also with the international chains coming to Pakistan and due to all the cooking shows on television and on social media platforms. People are getting more experimental these days and I think events like Karachi Eat is playing a major role in providing them awareness and I strongly recommend people to go out and try new foods and encourage new comers.

What’s your take on Pakistani TV chefs opening their own restaurants in foreign countries?

I think it is about time that chefs in general should explore new avenues and showcase authentic Pakistani cuisine.

Trust me the world hasn’t explore food from Pakistan, usually people always mistakenly compare our food with Indian, though we might have some commonalities but Pakistani food is much flavorful and with so many great recipes from different regions of Pakistan.

From our great Namkeen Boti from Peshawar, Balochi Rosh and Khaddi Kabab from Balochistan and Tawa Chicken from Lahore and great BBQ from Karachi, fish from Hyderabad and not forgetting the great food of Hunza which has not yet been explored in Pakistan.

How can food and cuisine contribute to factor such as women empowerment?

Well as we say cooking is science and financial benefits are also attached with it. We see lots of women baking great cakes and home cooked food are being sold through social media pages which are a step forward to success.

What food trends do you see catching on in Pakistan this year?

I have noticed rise in Mediterranean, Arabic food and Mexican food are making its way to our food scene. Though Mexican food is very close to our pallet but for some odd reasons it’s taking its sweet time but I’m sure it’s going to be the next big thing. Though we had Mexican restaurant in Karachi but I think it was little too early for its time.

What inspired you to travel four provinces of Pakistan during National ka Pakistan with singer Shuja Haider?

I think I had explored every corner of Pakistan in this NKP journey but one thing that was missing was the soul of our culture and music plays a major role in our society. Shuja helped me explore the beautiful music of Pakistan and I think he did his job so magnificently that people just fall in love with the local music.

Would you like to share your upcoming projects?

Since I love traveling and there is not much to explore in Pakistan, I have decided to explore the world it might sound like a big statement but yes that is the goal. 

Internet has brought the world to closer and people like to see cultures and their foods. Lucky for me to be in the era where internet is just catching up and it has so many opportunities. I received messages from countries like China, Israel, Kenya and Mexico. Surprisingly, I have huge following in India and places which I even never heard of and that gave me the strength to travel across the globe.

My upcoming project is ‘Ready for Another’. It is live on my YouTube channel. The program will highlight my cooking episodes in different countries. We have released the teaser last week and soon will be launching our first episode.