Renowned chef, author, food columnist and food consultant Jiggs Kalra passed away on Tuesday, June 4. He was 72, and was suffering from a prolonged illness.
His son, restaurateur and TV personality Zorawar Kalra, informed his followers on Instagram on Tuesday evening of his father’s demise.
He wrote: “With profound grief and sadness, I would like to announce the passing of my father, Jiggs Kalra.”
Kalra’s mortal remains will be cremated at 10:30 am on Friday at the Lodhi Crematorium on Lala Lajpat Rai Road in New Delhi.
Who is Jiggs Kalra?
Jaspal Inder Singh Kalra, popularly known as Jiggs Kalra, was a gastronome known for reviving forgotten or neglected cuisines, including the galouti kabab.
Kalra started his professional life as a journalist with The Times of India and later went on to work under Khushwant Singh. Then, when he traded his pen for kitchen utensils, Singh bestowed on him the title “Tastemaker of India.”
The food he cooked tingled the tastebuds of people like Princess Diana and Prince Charles of the UK, former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former US president Bill Clinton.
He was also the first Asian to be inducted to the International Food and Beverage Gourmet Hall of Fame.
He even was a pioneer in food television of India. After all, he hosted Daawat on Doordarshan, travelling the length and breadth of India in search of hidden-gem recipes.
In 1997, he was appointed advisor to the India Trade Promotion Organisation by the Central government.
The official website of his restaurant Masala Library credits him with being “the man behind the culinary success of numerous Hotels like The Oberoi Group, ITC Hotels, The Park Group and some international properties.”
Of the 11 books he has written, Prashad is considered a bible for budding chefs and cooks. He also opened restaurants like Farzi Café with his son Zorawar.
Condolences pour in
As news of Kalra’s demise spread, there was an outpouring of grief from the foodie and restaurateur community in the country.
His son Zorawar told news agency PTI: “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.”
Journalist and food-critic Vir Sanghvi said in a tweet: “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. [sic]”
Filmmaker Hansal Mehta also took to the microblogging platform to condole Kalra’s death. He wrote: “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.”
Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri tweeted: “The master chef is gone but the taste, flavours, hospitality, uniqueness and richness of #JiggsKalra cuisine will remain.”