If Gwyneth Paltrow can, so can Shilpa Shetty. You see, Shilpa Shetty, much like Paltrow, has decided that if the acting doesn’t get you far, fret not. Actors can teach you how to exercise, cook, eat, live. Paltrow, through her lifestyle website Goop, launched herself as the ultimate wholesome diva—eating and cooking wholesome quick meals while standing on her head. Similarly, Shetty has launched a YouTube channel called The Shilpa Shetty.com—which seems to follow the same vein of knowledge impartment.
On this channel, earlier you used to learn how to do yoga and exercise. And now you learn how to cook. And eat healthy.
To give Shetty her due, practically no other actress before and after she entered the film industry, has managed to take the spotlight off Shetty’s truly hourglass and never-too-thin figure. So it makes perfect business sense if she wants to make a buck out of her celebrity and her very envious physical persona. But do the recipes make sense? And do they include Goop like kimchi shakes and quinoa burgers?
The promo of the show left you wanting a lot. The promo features Shetty not cooking anything—other than when she places some unseasoned pieces of paneer on an oil-less pan, followed by unseasoned cherry tomatoes in another pan. What it does feature is Shetty wearing tiny shorts and a lovely linen top with blowdried hair, holding different vegetables and cutlery and crockery and making faces at the items and into the camera. The tagline is Swast Raho, Mast Raho. Which is a worthy motto for all of us to follow. Thankfully, since the promo, there has been less acting and more cooking.
Unlike Paltrow’s cookbooks, which have a co-author, nowhere on Shetty’s site or in the credits is there mention of a co-author, so let’s assume she’s developed these recipes herself. As of now, there are five videos which have been uploaded on the site. Oats Chilla, Moong Dal Ka Paayasam, Beetroot and Carrot Soup, Jeera Chicken and Sunny Side Eggs. So do the recipes make sense?
The Oats Chilla recipe started with Shetty prancing around on-camera with vegetables again. But just hold your horses, because the recipe and the format isn’t half-bad. A calorie count is provided for the quantity of food the recipe is for. You’re told the nutritional benefits of oats in detail, in writing. There’s a neat trick to save on oil usage, by using a half-cut onion to swab the oil onto your frying pan. The recipe makes sense, but looked highly unappetizing to me. But then I’m not a great chilla fan. What’s nice is that Shetty seems to know what she’s cooking, it’s not very difficult, and she’s very camera-friendly. Instructions are given in Hinglish, with her speaking more of English. Also, she’s togged out in light makeup, perfectly blowdried hair and has around 4 diamond rings on her fingers, massive solitaires in her ears and a diamond pendant. So there’s a lot to aspire to, other than her cooking skills.
There’s a video of her husband Raj Kundra’s recipe for Sunny Side Eggs—which is a lot like being given a fried egg recipe in Paltrow’s book. But hey, any of us who cook know that getting eggs right isn’t all that easy. Kundra’s recipe is basically fried eggs with unseasoned grilled tomatoes and asparagus. There is a tip thrown in on how cook fried eggs without overcooking them, which does work. I tried it. (It’s also great to hear someone related to Bollywood, pronouncing “opportunity” correctly.) The Beetroot and Carrot Soup recipe looks like it would taste gruesome, so I’m guessing you have to be a die-hard fan of beetroots or have no tastebuds. The fact that a bottle of Kayam Churan is advertised to relieve constipation, on the side of the frame, doesn’t help.
There’s a Mangalorean recipe for an oil-less Moong Dal Payasam. And a Jeera Chicken recipe which uses five tablespoons of ghee! The recipes make sense and Shetty really does seem at ease while cooking and talking about the nutritional value of the ingredients being used. I’ve watched cooking shows with celebrities where they either look surprised at the end product or their recipes make absolutely no sense—such as being told your mutton will cook in 10 minutes. The other positive is that none of the videos are longer than five minutes in duration.
The strange part, and again anyone who cooks will know this, is that Shetty never once tastes what she’s cooking. It’s an integral part of cooking, even for trained chefs. You have to keep checking your seasoning. You never see Shetty even take a bite of the food once she finishes cooking. Chefs who don’t eat their own food, always make me suspicious.
But that aside, I have to give it to Shetty. She seems to be one of the few actresses who has shown she’s savvy as a businesswoman, totally on her own steam. I’m sure Raj Kundra’s money helps, but she was a celebrity much before he came into the picture and did Big Brother pre-Kundra. The celebrity power and the ability to position herself as a health expert is all hers. And most importantly, she’s got recipes which work. I would cut down the five tablespoons of ghee to two at best, but give the recipes a shot for sure.
You can see her recipes here.