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Vineet Yadav: Bridging Tradition and Innovation in Lucknow’s Culinary Legacy

This phone has sent by Vineet Yadav

Meet Vineet Yadav, a culinary enthusiast whose passion for food has propelled him to national recognition. In 2022, Vineet auditioned for MasterChef India and was selected, marking the beginning of his journey as a MasterChef. With a deep appreciation for the traditional Awadhi cuisine of Lucknow, Vineet has dedicated himself to preserving and innovating the rich culinary heritage of the region. His cooking not only reflects the historical influences that have shaped Lucknow’s food culture but also adapts to contemporary tastes and health considerations, ensuring that the essence of classic recipes is never lost.

This photo has been given by Vineet Yadav to use on article
Vineet Yadav Cooking dish at MasterChef

Vineet Yadav started his journey as an MasterChef

In 2022 I’ve given audition for MasterChef India and got selected and started my journey as
an MasterChef.

How has the migration of various communities into Lucknow during the Nawabi era influenced
the traditional Awadhi cuisine, and how are these influences reflected in the modern culinary
landscape of the region?

Even though Lucknow or Awadh was a part of old Ayodhya, it was influenced by
some exotic food around 3-4 hundred years ago with the arrival of nawabs who made this
ancient city their capital. Along with them their culture, tradition and food also came whose
influence still can be seen widely in this city. Infact Lucknow is known for kabaab only. But along
with nawabi food there were some other small influences also which didn’t fail to influence its


The picture has given by Cooking dish at MasterChef
Vineet Yadav made Durian ka Taaj


Hindu Kayasth food also can be seen in the menu of Lucknow as in the royal families of
Lucknow Kayasth communities played a very important role so their influence touched nawab’s
kitchen also.

Things are rather similar with some basic differences. In nawabi food we feel and
taste the touch of central Asia but in hindu Kayasth food we can feel full indiansim. One more
influence was added into it when the British started taking over this city of parks . So today
Lucknow food is a strange combo of nawabi, hindu Kayasth and British food .

What are the traditional cooking techniques unique to Nawabi cuisine that you still use today,
and how do they contribute to the distinctiveness of Awadhi dishes?

As per nawabs are known for their super royal grandeur. People used to tease nawabs by
saying that they were eliminate as they ate too soft and melting food but nawabs were proud of
their food. As per nawabi food is influenced by central Asia, in it the methods of cooking also are
likely which are still used .

This dishmade by Vineet Yadav
Paan thandai Made by Vineet Yadav

Kababs are still cooked in the same manner as they were made in
nawab’s period. Particularly seink kabaab and its method hasn’t changed still . Galawti kabaab ,
different kind of pulaows are far from any new changes. They are still prepared in the very way
as they were made hundreds years back.

How do you balance innovation with tradition in your cooking, particularly when adapting classic
Nawabi dishes to suit contemporary palates and health considerations without losing the
essence of the original recipes?

Vineet Yadav Dish
Desert: Sweet Bliss

It is said that Change is the only constant. Dishes are our heritage. It is we people only who
are supposed to carry them on and transfer to the coming generation so that they may not be
just lost recipe. I too like to do some innovative with my cooking and as far as Nawabi cousin is

I take care of one thing very attentively that I should not lose its real identity or taste
.Yes I put a few new things just for an experiment but only to give it a new soft twist . I try my
best to keep the genuine form of the recipe without disturbing its real form and flavour. My
experiment can’t be identified without tasting it because it is in its taste not in look .

In what ways do the specific spices used in Lucknow’s cuisine enhance both the flavor profile
and the nutritional value of the dishes? How is the knowledge of these spices preserved and
passed down through generations?

Yes, nawabs and specially nawabs of Lucknow whether of purana Lucknow or
kakori nawabs were too much fond of wouldn’t be wrong to say that they lived only to
eat . In nawab’s period cooking food was like a big competition.Their chefs used to challenge for
their dishes. I have heard that in some of the nawabi foods more than 100 types of spices were
added and to balance them a lot of ghee was poured . And to digest so much , nawabs used to
have pan . By and by these spices kept decreasing in number. Now we have a few spices in
nawabi cousin.

Nawabs used to get the food cooked in their particular pots even . They believed
that taste of any food depends on many things and one of them is weight of the pot also. So I
would like to say that today people are not so much concerned about food like nawabs . They
just want good taste , doesn’t matter how many spices are there in the dish . And when we start
accepting changes with lose of things , the things keep disappearing by degrees.

How does Lucknowi cuisine reflect the social and communal identity of Lucknow, and in what
ways does it act as a medium for cultural expression among different communities within the

As we know Lucknow is famous for its chicken . This is the city where chicken is worn as
well as eaten. Now as far as eating is concerned, kabaab and Lucknow both are the
complement to each other.

If any outsider comes to visit this city after the imaambara the very
first thing he wants to have is kabaab if he is non-vegetarian. So far and wide Lucknow is known
only for its kabab. Though nawabs left this city after the British took over it but kabaab , pulaao
and other unique nawabi cuisines kept lingering here.

How have neighboring regional cuisines influenced the culinary practices in Lucknow, and vice
versa, especially in terms of techniques and ingredients?

Being the capital of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow became the centre of everyone’s attention.
Here other neighbouring touch also can be seen. No doubt today Lucknow is known for its
nawabi food and etiquette but it was otherwise influenced by some neighbours influences also.

Today we don’t only see or eat only nawabi food here but some more dishes also. Kanpur,
Prayagraj, Hardoi, Sitapur etc kept influencing it. Today in Lucknow food menu is a proof of this
fact that here only nawabi traditional food isn’t available but it has much more also which came
as a guest but now it’s a family member


News Shot 24
Author: News Shot 24

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