Food. A word that brings a smile to everyone’s face. Be it a cheesy pizza or a plate of pani puri from your local street vendor. Who can say no to food? Vaibhav Tejrana decided to take his love for food to another level when he pursued hotel management and later decided to become a food blogger. He is one of the most renowned food bloggers of Delhi, who made people fall in love with his own authentic recipes.
Vaibhav in conversation with Storiyaan, takes us through his journey of food blogging, his love for street food, and how he gives the regular dishes his own personal touch and makes them special. Have a look at this amazing interview to learn some more about authentic and delicious street food.
Questions and answers
When did you first realize your interest in diversifying your palate with different cuisines?
I’ve been into cooking since school. I went on to pursue hotel management and worked at some five-star hotels. I started with food blogging in different sectors to show people that there is much more to food blogging than we know. I also wanted to show them some underrated yet great cuisines.
In the initial days of starting your blog, what measures did you take to increase your readership and how did you finance yourself?
I started by posting pictures in 2017 on my Instagram account but soon realised that there is much more scope of growth in YouTube. I realised that I have to explore so I started travelling and posted on Instagram and YouTube. There weren’t many followers in the beginning but being consistent helped. I did not give up and now I receive a lot of support from my followers that have increased over the time and that is how i finance myself.
In the modern era, with a greater inclination towards fitness, where do you think street food stands in the food hierarchical order and why?
In my opinion, we get authentic dishes are made immediately in street food. Sometimes, the quality of street food is good but a hotel is more hygienic. India is very diverse in terms of cuisines and it all depends on your pocket. I personally prefer street food because it is self-made and involves a lot of hard work.
How do you strike a balance between healthy-eating and pleasure-food?
Your calorie intake is high when you eat outside and therefore, you have to take care of your body. After entering this field, I got invited to a lot of restaurants and it was difficult for me to keep my calorie intake in check. Therefore, I had to focus on my fitness to ensure a balance and this what I tell others. Keeping a balance is very important.
As a food blogger, are always moving around the city for new experiences. How big a role does sitting together to eat with your family play in your life?
Having a meal together with your family holds a very important significance in the Indian culture and it is something I cherish as well. While I go out for lunch to explore various places, I always ensure that I have dinner with my family.
What is your method for creating a new recipe and how do you test it before you launch it on your channel?
I had pursued hotel management so I know how to cook. I love to cook and sometimes I like to experiment and come up with new recipes with the same ingredients which can be a little difficult at times but I love it. I post these recipes on YouTube because they are my own and they are authentic. Usually, I prefer khada masala instead of blended masala which brings about a lot of difference in the dish.
You once uploaded a Dalgona coffee recipe which was a craze during the lockdown. How did you first decide to create and upload a recipe for it?
I’m not a coffee freak, but whenever something is trending, I jump at it with a little twist of my own. I used condensed milk and I started beating it with the coffee powder. I also used it to mix it with the milk which gave it a perfect taste of a Dalgona coffee. Dalgona originated from Greece, it is the traditional Greece Nescafe Frappe that had taken over the social media.
What are the strategies that you adopt to make your recipes unique from the pre-existing or similar recipes for the foods you create?
The dishes you cook daily also give you a way to play with them and to bring your own twist into them. You can twist and mould it in your own way. That’s what you do when you know how to cook and there’s always something to learn from every mistake you make. As I told before, i usually use khada masala instead of the blended masala. It gives a better aroma and a unique taste to the dish.
What are some of the things that attract you to low-profile eateries over the high-end ones and vice versa?
The point is that price doesn’t matter. Five-star restaurants have professional chefs who need to get paid, therefore the price is immediately hiked. When you go to a street vendor, there are only a couple of people working. I always take foreigners friends to Old Delhi where they can taste the oldest and authentic recipes. They have a much more unique touch than restaurants and that is what makes them better.
Tell us a bit about your camera crew and how to you shoot the videos for your own recipes?
Initially, when I started, I used my phone to shoot videos and only my voice was there. I did not reveal myself. Gradually, people started asking me to show my face and I decided to use camera for my videos because it also brought improved quality and experience.
Can you tell us about the qualities you look for before you accept a collaboration offer and about one of your favourite collaborations?
I collaborated with an American YouTuber in 2019. It was about Indian Cuisine and we also did a challenge which turned out to be great. It was an amazing collaboration ad I had a great time. We also received great responses from the audience. I like the people who are challenging themselves everyday and don’t give up on their dreams. People coming from different backgrounds sitting on a table sharing food together is a perfect evening for me.
What would be your message to the readers who are trying to make a career out of food blogging as well?
- Be consistent.
- Find your hashtags.
- Post what people like.
- Keep your audience engaged.
- Dont give up. one day it will all make sense.
a. Weirdest dish you have tried: Weird Red Ants Chutney from Chattisgarh
b. Organic food for you is?: It’s good for health but don’t expect good taste everytime.
c. Favourite MasterChef?: Gaggan Anand
d. One thing you detest about cooking shows?: Working for hours on a dish , only to find out it tastes shitty.
e. Your favourite street-food: Chicken chettinad, Tamil Nadu.