Life's Lessons from Jiggs Kalra
Life’s Lessons from Jiggs Kalra

Veteran restauranteur Jiggs Kalra talks about his achievements, failures and everything in between

THE WORD ‘success’ is completely humbling and means that it is God’s will. I have been blessed to have worked with some of the most talented and finest minds in the business over the past 40 years, and they have been very kind and generous with their support for me, for which I’m truly thankful.


THE MOST unforgettable and probably one of the high points in my career was to have served Prince Charles and Lady Diana, where the Lady rose up to put my hand on her shoulder and do a ballet kind of pirouette step with me in praise of the cuisine served to them that fine evening in Jaipur.


I DON’T look upon missteps as failures, but as a learning for me to remember not to repeat something in the future. I try to forget about it immediately and focus my energies toward another goal in front of me and to make another victory possible.


I CAN’T think of even one other thing that I could have done, if not this. This is what I was made for and it was the Lord’s will; I’m only executing it.


I HAVE no regrets. I have had a fulfilling life and there is nothing more I could have asked for. I do wish, though, that in those days, the professional kitchens worked, well, more professionally and that our forefathers did allow their respective Khansaamas to keep written records of the marvellous dishes made in ancient India.


MONEY WAS never a problem for me. I have been blessed that way, although there have been countless instances where I have come down to the last penny in my wallet, not knowing where the next hundred would come from, but it always came in. That is why I say I have been blessed.


I THINK about death all the time; I’ve become very morbid, I guess age does that to you (laughs). I see it in front of me every day, you can’t fight it. It is, after all, the ultimate reality.


I BELIEVE in God; it is a gene that comes from my parents.


THE BIGGEST decision I’ve ever made in my life was a tough one, as it had to do with me leaving my guru and a man I have looked up to my whole life, and a dear friend, the late Khushwant Singh. It was a decision that I took of leaving a comfortable job with the Times of India, without having another job in hand, in search of something exciting.

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