Little Chef Kicha from India delights us with his unique talent and passion for cooking

A ten year old Grade 4 student from Kochi, Nihal Raj a.k.a Little Chef Kicha made his first cooking video when he was just 4 years and uploaded the video on his own YouTube channel KichatubeHD. His passion for cooking over the years resulted in his bagging the Global Child Prodigy Award 2020… Kicha started his culinary journey at the age of four. Now he has over 250 proven recipe videos of his own and is known as the Youngest YouTube entrepreneur of India. Kicha rose to fame when Facebook bought one of his YouTube video (Mickey Mouse mango ice-cream) for 2000 $. He became the youngest chef in the world to sell a video to Facebook. This news was covered across the world in different languages. The Ellen DeGeneres show invited Kicha in September 2016 and he was the youngest Indian to be on the show. He made Puttu (Kerala breakfast dish) for Ellen and that video was immensely popular. In 2017, Kicha was invited as a speaker for the Under 25 summit, the country’s biggest Indian youth festival. Kicha Appeared in Little Big Shots US, Little Big Shots UK and Little Big Shots Vietnam. This child prodigy was invited for Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival to demonstrate cooking for the visitors. He became the youngest speaker in Josh Talk (India’s biggest online talk show) and has already done above 5 television commercials. Kicha now visits colleges and schools for motivational speaking for students. Over the years, he has been honored by several awards such as The Indian Youth Icon by Eunnathi 2020, The Global Child Prodigy Award 2020, Digital Star Award by Impressario 2020 and so many more accolades. The Global Child Prodigy Awards was presented by Nobel Peace Laureate Shri Kailash Satyarthi and Kiran Bedi. The list includes talents from myriad backgrounds showing core competency in their area of interests such as martial art, painting, cooking, modeling, writing, entrepreneurship, social work, acting etc. Little Chef Kicha won the award in the category ‘cooking’.

 

How did you get interested in cooking, and when did you decide to start cooking?

When I was 3 and half years old I started my own unboxing YouTube channel, but it did not go well. One day I decided to make ice popsicles and my father filmed it and posted in Facebook, all his friends said it looks really interesting and that’s when I started my cooking channel.

How do you manage to pack your interest/cause into your daily schedule? Do you allot a separate time for it?

I create two videos every week and it takes only one hour each, so I have lots of free time. I also help my mom in the kitchen whenever I feel like.

Does being a prodigy make you feel special or do you feel burdened by expectations to deliver?

I don’t feel special, but many people come and take selfies with me which makes me blush. It’s not a burden because I work only two hours in a week.

What are your hobbies/interests?

I want to be an Astronaut Chef when I grow up. Cooking is my hobby and I love to play video games.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

Ruby Rajagopal, my mother has been my biggest inspiration.

What do you aspire to do with your talent when you grow up?

I want to go to space and cook. After many years there will be no space in Earth, so people will travel to Mars and on the Moon, I want to invent an oven with gravity which can cook yummy food in space.

 

What’s your next goal?

Now I am 10 years old, I want to start using knife and learn cutting and chopping.

Where do you get your recipe ideas from?

My mamma.

 

How do you keep yourselves updated about the latest cooking trends?

I watch YouTube channel and I read magazines to keep myself updated.

 

What is your advice for aspiring young chefs?

What I have to say to them is that they should follow their passion no matter what. For all those kids who have a passion of any sort I want to tell them to follow that passion all the way.

What’s your favourite comfort food?
I love puttu, it is one of my favourite dishes it can be made using meat, vegetables, chocolate and more!

Which is your favourite ingredient?

Coconut is my favourite ingredient is because kerala is the land of coconuts. It is used in many dishes and I love the taste and I also want to represent my state kerala.

What would you say is the key/winning feature of your cuisine?

It would be obviously the taste but also my recipes are very easy to make.

What do you love most about being a chef? Future plans?

I love food and one more reason is that it is like an art when you enter a kitchen there are one thousand plus possibilities you can choose from and you can even make your own little experiments to make new recipes
In the future I want to be an astronaut chef, go to space and cook. After many many years there will not be any space in earth. So people will go to moon and mars to live. How will they eat? So I want to invent an oven with gravity which can be used to cook in space.

 

What is your regular day like?

As India is under lockdown currently I read in the mornings and then I start playing with my friends in the apartment. During the evenings I play computer games or else we (family) will record my YouTube videos. Most of the days I do live shows online for many portals.

 

Has the current situation affected your schedule in any way?

As this is summer vacation time for us in Kerala, I don’t see anything different. Normally for summer vacations we go on family trip, but this time we all are stuck at home.

 

How does it feel when global personalities invite you to their shows?

It feels good, most of the time I don’t know about the personalities, only when they call me I come to know about them. I know they are very popular but I am too young to know about all of them. Before going to Ellen show I learned everything about her and Steve Harvey I have seen his videos before I appeared in his show.

 

Which dishes do you like making for your family?

I love cooking and my family loves everything I cook. I enjoy my Kitchen time with my mamma. My papa always appreciates whatever I make. My sister Nidha who is now in the US doing her Masters always points out the mistakes I make in the videos. I really enjoy cooking for my family.

 

Are you planning to train professionally as a chef after finishing school?

I am too young to answer about that, I am cooking out of my passion. I have to learn a lot. My aim is to become an astronaut chef and I want to study hard and become one.

 

Recipe of Bread Pizza Cups (Vegetarian)

Ingredients:

6 Bread slices
Grated Mozzarella Cheese – 1 cup
Pizza sauce – 2 tablespoons
Pizza Seasoning – 1 tsp
Sweet corn – 1/4 cup
Chopped bell pepper – 1/4 cup
Jalapeno chopped – 2 tbs
chopped onions – 1/4 cup
Chopped cherry tomato – 1/4 cup

Method:

1. Pre heat oven at 200 Degree C

2. Grease muffin tray with butter

3. Roll out the bread slices and cut it out into circles to fit the muffin holes.

4. Brush the edges of the bread with butter
5. Mix pizza sauce, pizza seasoning, the chopped vegetables and half of the grated mozzarella cheese. Spoon into the bread cups.
6. Top it up with the remaining cheese and bake it for 10 minutes

 

Jyoti Balani