There’s gender bias, the industry is male-dominated: Shipra Khanna on why there are not many female Chefs | The Financial Express

There’s gender bias, the industry is male-dominated: Shipra Khanna on why there are not many female Chefs

For Shipra Khanna, winning MasterChef India Season 2 was a validation of her tireless dedication. In this exclusive interview with, she talks about her journey, gender bias in the hospitality industry, and more:

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MasterChef India's Shipra Khanna

The season 2 winner of MasterChef India, Shipra Khanna, believes in hard work. She feels ‘balance’ is the most important thing in life both on a personal and professional level. In an exclusive interview with’s Eshita Bhargava, Chef Shipra Khanna talks about her journey, gender bias in the hospitality industry, and more. She also gives us quick tips that we should keep in mind while cooking. Excerpts from the interview:

We saw you for the first time on MasterChef. How has the journey since MasterChef 2 been so far?

Amazing journey and looking forward to more! Winning MasterChef definitely gave me the platform to turn my passion into my profession. It was something that I always wanted but I also knew it was just the beginning of my career.

As the Ambassador of “MasterChef Travel,” my distinctive culinary contributions to the world stage are inspired by my extensive travels to more than 50 countries around the globe, where I have worked with Michelin-and locally-acclaimed chefs and sampled a wide variety of regional and international cuisines.

What has been your biggest learning when it comes to food and cooking?

Take charge and make your own Curry!

What is that one ingredient that you absolutely swear by?


If you have to share with us your five cooking hacks what would they be?

1. When tomatoes are in season make tomato purée at home and freeze it in ice trays and enjoy it all year round!

2. Add 1 tsp of oil & salt while kneading dough for rotis/ chapatis.

3. Always preheat the oven for 10 mins before baking.

4. Always add hot water to adjust the consistency of the curry.

5. Fry onions and keep them in a container in the fridge for a longer shelf life. Use as and when required for curries and sauces.

What’s that one thing that connects both Indian and International cuisine?

The Spice route… History has it! It’s also the name of my first Cookbook, recipes which you’ll enjoy as it’s from all across the globe wherever I’ve traveled and learned from other chefs globally!

Shipra, you are probably the best person to answer this. Why don’t we see many female Chefs in the kitchens of these luxurious hotels? What do you think are the reasons?

The ratio of females is definitely less in the kitchen. There’s definitely gender bias as the industry is male-dominated, where men always get preference over women but now, I see a lot changing otherwise internationally there are always females working in the kitchen but glad to say that India is not too far behind.

What’s your take on Vegan food/diet? Is it a fad or does it really help?

Vegan food is plant-based food/diet. It’s a wonderful way of living. I would advise anyone who is looking at turning Vegan to try it out for 10 days and if it suits you then go ahead with it.

Tell us about your journey from a kitchen in Agra to global fame.

Cooking for my daughter is what I always loved the most in the world, and she’s the sole reason I was more creative and experimental at it that I won the title of MasterChef India.

You travel a lot, you have written cookbooks, and manage other work-related activities. How do you maintain a work-life balance?

Balance, you know, is the most important thing in life and one needs to prioritize and make choices accordingly.

Any quick tips for office-going people who find it difficult to cook?

You need to grab my new cookbook #healthunlimited it’s a perfect book to take care of healthy meals quickly and easily so you can be more productive!

What’s your comfort meal?

French Fries

What’s next?

Shooting for some new shows (India and International), my 9th cookbook, and a new restaurant.

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First published on: 20-01-2023 at 11:00 IST