Celebrity chef Amrita Raichand is a name synonymous with the Indian culinary scene. But she got her start by acting for advertisements, working with brands like Ponds, Parle, Maggi Noodles, and what not. Remember the Whirlpool mom? Yes, that’s Raichand for you. Fast forward to 2024 and you’ll find her hosting cooking shows and sharing simple recipes on social media, which she says has been a boon during the Covid-19 pandemic, “when traditional avenues like television shows were missing”.

With around half a million followers on Instagram, Raichand has now ventured into philanthropy by collaborating with the Salaam Bombay Foundation, where she conducts special recipe sessions to provide nutrition education to “resource-challenged adolescents” and their communities. “Malnutrition is a serious issue in our country,” she says. “As someone who changed careers for the health of my child, I felt compelled to address it,” Raichand speaks about the collaboration.

In an interview with indianexpress.com, chef Amrita Raichand shares insights into her culinary journey, the role of social media in fuelling her passion for cooking, her love for regional cuisine, the heartwarming influence of her mum’s home-cooked meals, and more.

Q: Can you tell us about your transition from acting to becoming a chef?

Raichand: It all started because of my son. Frankly, I was never a hardcore actor. I was more into modelling for many, many years, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I did numerous ads and was even the face of Whirlpool Home Appliances, serving as the brand ambassador for six years. I endorsed many ads during that time, and it was something I loved doing.

Afterward, I ventured into hosting TV shows, including game shows and travel shows. That was more my space — I enjoyed speaking freely on stage, whether it was a live event or a TV programme. Following my marriage, I began receiving offers for films and television serials. I dabbled in some of that work, but I quickly realised the time commitment required. Shooting for 18 hours straight was common, and after having my baby, it became challenging.

Festive offer

I took a two-year sabbatical after having my child, as I had longed for motherhood since I was 19. But when I decided to return to work, I knew I couldn’t commit to acting seriously while prioritising my child. I’m from the old school of thought — I give my best to everything I do. I enrolled in Anupam Kher’s acting academy and delved deep into the craft. But I couldn’t compromise on my time with my child.

I made a calculated decision to find a career where I could be with my child and still be on screen, doing what I loved. That’s when “Mummy Ka Magic” happened. Initially, I viewed it as just another show I was hosting, but it turned out to be much more. It gave me the opportunity to be myself — to share my journey of experimenting with exciting and healthy food for my son, Agastya, who was struggling with mealtime boredom.

I researched extensively about nutrition for children and put a lot of effort into the presentation of meals. Food became an integral part of our day, and I enjoyed sharing this journey on the show. As ‘Mummy Ka Magic’ gained popularity, I realised I could do more with this platform. I didn’t want to limit this valuable information to one show — I wanted to make it my life’s work.

Around three to four years into hosting ‘Mummy Ka Magic’, I decided to pursue advanced culinary training in Singapore. I wanted to understand the culinary world better if I was going to be a professional chef. I worked in an intercontinental hotel for six months to gain experience in a commercial kitchen.

Combining my experiences, I found my true calling. I could do what I loved — cooking — while being with my child. I had the freedom to choose when and how I worked, which was empowering. I wasn’t answerable to anyone — I owned the space.

Now, I have my own YouTube channel, a dedicated team, and an active presence on social media. Each day brings new opportunities, and I’m grateful for this journey that allows me to do what I love while being with my son.

Q: How has social media helped you as a chef? What are the current social media culinary trends you are particularly fond of?

Raichand: Social media has definitely helped me, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic when traditional avenues like television shows were missing. My show ‘Mummy Ka Magic’ was not happening during that time, so I turned to social media to stay connected with my audience. I started a live show called ‘Mere Ghar Ka Khana’, which has now become a YouTube property of mine. This one-hour live cooking session allowed me to reach out to people who had never cooked before or who were forced to cook due to the circumstances. The response was overwhelming, with thousands tuning in every Friday, and sharing it on Instagram garnered even more views. Social media provided me with the platform to connect with people on a deeper level and offer them help and guidance during challenging times.

As for cooking trends, I must admit I’m not one to follow trends closely. While I understand their appeal and effectiveness, I prefer to pave my own path. However, I do enjoy experimenting with fun elements like incorporating songs, dances, or reels into my content. Being a natural actor, I find joy in adding these playful touches to my work.

That said, I focus on creating meaningful content that caters to different audiences, through themed playlists and genres. For instance, I have themed playlists for children’s recipes, immunity-boosting recipes, play date meal ideas, and more. Overall, I strive to make my content as meaningful and helpful as possible to the diverse audiences I cater to.

Q: Who do you take inspiration from in your culinary journey?

Raichand: It has always been my mom. She lost her husband when she was only 32 years old, and she was one of those traditional women of her time. My father was apparently very fond of cooking and had a keen sense of style in the kitchen. He preferred ingredients to be cut in a particular way, meticulously and uniformly. He even insisted that my mother, despite her already impressive culinary skills, take a gourmet cooking course to further refine her techniques. Our family became known for the best food, but unfortunately, my father passed away, leaving my mother with three kids to raise. I have two older brothers, and I was only three years old when my dad passed away. Despite the loss, my mother continued to create amazing meals, often single-handedly. She would cook in the kitchen while I watched from a stool, learning from her and absorbing her love for cooking.

My mom taught me the little nuances of cooking, and I witnessed first hand how she used food to bond with us. I learned that food has the power to bring people together and create lasting connections. From my mother, I learned that tasty food is essential for satisfaction. Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring; it should satisfy both the body and the soul. My mother’s cooking was so delicious that I never once complained about eating vegetables or wished for outside food like burgers or pizza. She transformed simple vegetables into delectable dishes, instilling in me a love for homemade meals.

I often tell my son that I could eat bitter gourds made by her hands because her cooking was so flavourful and satisfying. She inspired me to cook beautiful, tasty food that not only promotes good health but also nourishes the soul. Cooking a lovely meal for yourself after a tough day can be incredibly fulfilling, and that’s a lesson I learned from my mother. I strive to inspire others to appreciate the joy of cooking simple yet delicious meals at home, just like my mother did for our family.

Q: Which is your favourite cuisine and dish?

Raichand: My favourite dish has to be Bihari dal chawal, tomato chutney, and aloo ka chokha. That’s my comfort food.

My favourite cuisine is Japanese food and funnily and strangely and ironically, that’s the only cuisine I don’t cook. So, when I have to go out and splurge, I love going to a good Japanese restaurant and enjoying sushi and tempura.

Otherwise, I am a foodie. I enjoy all kinds of food. I love regional cuisine and homemade dishes. If someone offers me a Maharashtrian thali, I’d prefer to visit a Maharashtrian friend’s home and enjoy their homemade thali rather than dining at a restaurant.

However, I also enjoy dining out at great restaurants. I can eat anything and everything.

Q: Which place(s) have you visited that you think have great food?

Raichand: There are so many places. I can’t name one. My home has great food. But all over the world, I’ve gone to so many countries.

As much as we travel, we definitely go out and try all the popular so-called restaurants. But I have a serious habit of trying to find a very good local restaurant. So whenever I reach a new country, I always talk to the locals there and ask them, what is that authentic local place? Because I just love local flavours and I feel those restaurants serve something which fancy restaurants can’t or don’t.

So, if I had to pick one thing — I would say the local restaurants of every different country or every different city — the smaller, the quieter, the better for me.

Q: If there was one meal you had to eat for the rest of your life, which would it be?

Raichand: Dal chawal, hands down. Maybe with a few additions, sometimes with a little fried fish, sometimes with a little chicken chilli, which my mother used to make with an Indian style twist. But my basic rice and lentils, tomato chutney, and potato stir-fry, I think if you give me that every day, I’ll survive just fine.

Q: If you wanted anyone in the world to cook one meal for you, who would you pick?

Raichand: It would only be my mother. Especially now, because my mom’s not well and for the last four or five years, she hasn’t been cooking. So if I could ask for one thing from God, it would be to make her well again so she could cook for me, because I really miss her food.

Q. Can you share a healthy yet tasty recipe a parent could cook for their child?

Raichand: I would recommend a delicious pancake made with oats. It was my first experiment with my son.

Oats Pancake recipe

*1 cup oats flour
*1 tsp baking powder
*½ tsp baking soda
*1 tsp sugar
*2 tbsp melted butter
*1 tbsp curd
*½ tsp vanilla
*¾ cup milk
*1 banana


1. To make the flour, grind quick oats into a fine powder.
2. Now add the baking powder and baking soda.
3. Mix in the sugar, melted butter, curd, vanilla extract, milk and banana and grind everything together to make a smooth batter.
4. Rest the batter for an hour and adjust the consistency using more milk when ready to make the pancakes.
5. Heat a pan on medium heat, grease with a dash of butter and then wipe off the pan.
6. Now pour a small ladle of the batter (1/4 measuring cup is perfect for this).
7. Cover and cook on low flame for 2-3 mins and then flip carefully. You should see an even golden colour on the side that turns up. Then cook for another minute or so on the other side and take it off the flame.
8. Dust some powdered sugar for garnish or serve with maple syrup or honey on the side, along with chocolate spread and fruits of choice.

Q: What is your advice to aspiring chefs?

Raichand: Follow your heart and your passion will drive you to success. When you love what you do, success is usually easy.