Food Traveler Magazine Winter 2016 - Page 100

Ali Khan FT: Tell us a bit about your childhood years. What was it like growing up? Were you always interested in food as a career path? AK: My childhood? In a phrase: straight outta the Midwest, circa the 1980s. Being a first generation child of immigrants from the Indian sub-continent, I thought every Indian kid’s parents were doctors and we (the kids) were all living out a predestined course where we were to become doctors as well. I guess, I was fighting like hell from that happening since day one. But shaking your parents’ wishes is no small task, especially when you live under their roof. I loved to eat and it showed. This was before the days where one could proudly declare themselves as a foodie and not get teased for just being overweight. Thankfully I had humor and a penchant for performing/theater to help round out my overall image. Some of my fondest memories growing up revolved around food. My mom wasn’t a great cook and my dad didn’t enjoy cooking much, but we all three loved to eat, and eat out. I picked up on cooking as soon as I was tall enough to reach a stove. One Saturday morning, when I was 10, my dad came home from work and found me cooking some eggs and heating up a grill pan. First he asked “are you cooking eggs?” I replied, “Yes.” Then his jaw dropped as I dropped three lamb loin chops onto the now scorching grill pan. “Are you cooking lamb chops?” I again replied, “Yes.” What 10-year-old kid has lamb and eggs for breakfast?! And so the world first encountered Ali Khan. There were a few times when my dad genuinely marveled at my sheer passion in cooking and suggested I go to culinary school to become a chef, but taking those steps never really took root. While I always loved to eat, cook, seek out restaurants and share the experiences, it wasn’t until well into adulthood when I would merge these passions into my career path. 98 FoodTraveler l Winter 2016