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Celeb chef offers tip to host parties like stars

If you’re tired of spending money on party planners, Chef Shilarn Vaze, a favourite among the biggest of Bollywood stars, share all the checklists and details you need to pay attention to whil hosting a party for family, friends or colleagues

Celeb chef offers tip to host parties like stars
Photos: Cyrus Dalal


While planning a party for friends or family, it is common to have a barrage of questions cross one’s mind — what can be the right theme? What cuisine can impress all the guests? What would be the best setting, cutlery and drinks? Celebrity chef and host of cooking shows on television, Shilarna Vaze, fondly known as chef Chinu, is no alien to such questions. She faces and aces such challenges on a daily basis as the founder of a Mumbai-based gourmet catering house Gaia Gourmet, and as a chef who has planned some of the biggest parties for several leading Bollywood stars, including Priyanka Chopra, Alia Bhatt, Sonam Kapoor, Aamir Khan and Shahid Kapoor.

In her recent book Party Like A Star (published by Penguin), Shilarna divulges the recipes, the preparation and the checklists that are involved in planning parties for Bollywood A-listers. In an interview with DT Next, Shilarna says, “All the recipes I’ve shared in the book are keeping in mind home cooks, and the dishes that I personally like to serve at home when we have people over. The mezze platter is always a surefire hit as a starter, it also looks great and can be prepared in advance. I also love my grandmum’s lamb parsundi recipe with baked eggs. Nothing beats the kahlua coffee dark chocolate cake for sheer decadence.”

The book, interspersed with several pictures from the intimate gatherings hosted for some of the most loved actors, also offers tips on how to make the venue you’re hosting the party at look pretty. Whether it is for a birthday party, a wedding celebration or a huge office party — Shilarna’s tricks of the trade can come in handy for everyone. Asked if hosting parties for stars comes with challenges in impressing them, she admits, “Not sure if it is hard or easy. We have mostly done parties for people who have tried our food somewhere and loved it. So, we don’t really need to advertise. Our taco station is always a huge hit as are some of our healthier salads.” The parties curated sometimes would also involve “cheat days” for the stars, she says.

“The food is usually a mix because most celebrities also want to let their hair down at their parties and enjoy their ‘cheat days’ like Alia mentions in her excerpt in the book. Although, we usually do have a couple of keto/vegan items for guests who don’t want to break their diets,” shares Shilarna, who loves cooking with coastal ingredients like seafood, coconut, fresh herbs and spices.

The chef looks for her culinary inspiration not just from her professional training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, but also from memories of good food eaten throughout her life. For instance, if she had to create a dish out of simple ingredients like tomatoes, cheese and some bread, Shilarna says she would recreate her mother’s good old pizza sandwich — which was always her favourite after-school snack.

“It is exciting to see a focus on local and regional food after many years of looking elsewhere for inspiration. We love our French techniques and Japanese aesthetics, but what excites me the most is reinventing Maharashtrian classics, which have a special place in my heart as world-class, almost intellectual dishes,” she remarks.

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