Perizaad Zorabian on how food rules her life

Perizaad Zorabian who made her film debut with Nagesh Kukunoor’s Bollywood Calling, gained international recognition for her role as Jenny in Subhash Ghai’s Joggers’ Park, She is now handling one of the biggest poultry chains of the country. A foodie at heart, she shares with us nuggets from her interesting journey.

From being an actor to turning into an entrepreneur, what has been the most exciting thing about your journey?
The Single most exciting thing about my journey from an actor to an entrepreneur is the joy and freedom that one feels at being able to contribute and understand two such diverse worlds. Whilst I absolutely love performing and being on stage and I’ve enjoyed it ever since I was 8 years old. I never really thought of it as a career choice. I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur even before I could even pronounce the word! Which is why before I began acting in films, I went to the US to do my MBA. I have always dreamt of building a niche brand like Perdue Chicken in USA and wanted to work with my dad to take Zorabian Chicken to the next level. Life played out a completely different tune with the whole acting thing and I decided to go with the flow.

I was really fortunate to be there at a time when offbeat independent cinema took off. I managed to get an opportunity to work with some great actors and be a part of memorable cinema.
Post Marriage and Kids – I decided to start working with Zorabian Chicken and concentrate on pursuing my dream of taking the brand the next level. To be able to build on my Father’s legacy and seeing the brand grow has been exhilarating and I find it amazing that we’ve managed to grow a brand pan India and also excelled at it. I still balance two worlds. I am currently working on Feroz Khans Pulitzer Award winning play Dinner with Friends. I just spent two seasons judging MTV Colours of Youth at Business Schools across India. I still get a high playing both roles, so it really hasn’t been a journey from one world to another world.

I am sure you love your chicken. But other culinary delights that bowl you over? I am a huge foodie. I love food and good food gives me a high. Whenever I am low or down, sharing my favouirte sev puri or a samosa pav with my team, just manages to bring the zing back into my step and life just feels so much better. I love my chicken because I know how pure and uncompromised upon it is. I know the kind of stuff that can go so horribly wrong with meat and I am so proud of Zorabian’s commitment to food and quality. I love Thai Cuisine and I love rice! All through my MTV shoot across 15 cities of India all I ate was Biryani with Nikhil Chinnapa. So much so that my production crew knew that they did not need to even ask me what I want to eat. My Love for Biryani is just unconditional!

I also love eating my mother’s Prawn Biryani and John Dory from Saltwater grill.
Food that keeps you going….
I keep a jar of nuts at my desk. With the amount of work and running around I have to do, coupled with increasing stress levels, I need all the energy I can get. Besides my regular source of protein that I get in house at Zorabian Chicken, walnuts and almonds work amazingly well in boosting my energy and keeping it stable through the day. This keeps me going and ensures that I focus on my work.
How do you maintain your diet?

To be honest, I’ve not been very committed to my diet for the past couple of months. But now I’ve decided to get back on track and work towards a healthier lifestyle for which my husband is my biggest inspiration and is an incredible mentor. Currently, my diet is rigorous. I eat egg whites and brown toast for breakfast, a handful of nuts or fruits mid-day, dal, chicken and a nachni roti for lunch, walnuts and fruit juice at tea time, some cold cuts later in the evening, and soup and chicken salad for dinner. My diet gives me heaps of energy through the day but also keeps me feeling light and fit all day!

Food that you must have in your fridge?
Lime and chilies – I need them with all my meals because I don’t eat pickle to avoid unnecessary preservatives.
-Zorabian’s Seekh Kebabs are my go to snack whenever I am hungry because it is Baked, preservative free, healthy and low in calories
-A bowl of tamarind chutney and green chutney – I mix this in my sprouts, crush some crispy nachni roti and eat it whenever I’m craving for chaat. -A bowl of my favorite chilled fruits -Eggs – Because eggs are a must in every Parsi’s fridge!

Your must have daily staple?
Cucumber and green chilies! I can snack on cucumber all day, every day. It’s the healthiest snack because you can eat any amount of cucumber and it won’t have a negative impact on your body. Plus it keeps my skin glowing and keeps me full. Also, two green chilies with every meal is an absolute must for me. My meals feel incomplete without chilies.

When you enter the kitchen, you end up making….
I am a far better at enjoying someone else’s cooking than making the effort. But on the very rare occasions that I do – I must say my cooking is awesome…all my food always tastes fresh and looks appetizing and healthy.

You often pamper your sweet tooth by…..
I do not have a sweet tooth. If I had to indulge in anything that was high in calories, I’d rather eat something fried and spicy instead of something sweet. So I would pick a Samosa and Sev Puri over a Chocolate Cake To impress your man, you would cook….

I’d make him a bowl of salad with a light healthy dressing. Boman loves salads that have nuts and fruits in them. Boman and I have zero compatibility when it comes to food. I was horrified to find out that he enjoys eating satvik food! Nothing I cook would impress him more than a healthy bowl of salad with some grilled chicken.
What are your non-food passions….?

I enjoy reading great books that inspire and motivate me to become the best version of myself. I am passionate about my role as a mother which I do take very seriously.

One memorable food experience that you would like to share with us.
Bomans birthday when we were dating remains etched in my memory. We went to his farm house, Idecided to make him some chicken and pasta and salad. I haven’t ever made this kind of effort for anyone before and my mum obviously realized that this was it.

I had found my life partner. Of course when Boman decided to come into the kitchen and show that he was a better cook was really annoying. So we landed up fighting and cooking a disastrous meal together that we both had to eat.. :):)
Eating joints you are never tired of visiting.

I absolutely love Saltwater Cafe and can never get tired of going there. Greek salad, John Dory, a glass of red wine and I am in bliss. I go there so often that even the waiters there know what I’m going to order! Apart from that, I love Wasabi at the Taj and Peshawari at the ITC Grand Maratha for their Raan and Dal Makhani .

Published on Times of India