How far can you push yourself for your passion? Setting ambitious targets is easy, but getting up every day and sticking to it is tough. We start out with much gusto, but somewhere down the line the fire fizzles out, the target becomes an insurmountable peak, and we just quit. How about setting yourself a target of preparing a new breakfast every morning, throughout the year? Sounds ambitious? Well Pratishtha Khan, has set herself this ambitious and rather unique target. Discovering Mumbai presents Pratishtha who has started ‘The Breakfast Projekt', through which she aims to cook up 356 different breakfast recipes in 365 days!
“I am a writer by profession, and a passionate cook by choice”, says Pratishtha. She juggles her day job with cooking, blogging, designing accessories and travelling. She is juggling a lot of balls; however, cooking is what really drives her. “I cook to unwind, to celebrate, to relax, to heal”, she says. Cooking, however, was a love that came in very late in her life; she started cooking at 27, till then she just ate. But once she discovered the joys of chopping, slicing, dicing, baking, grilling and plating, there was no looking back. She feels that not being formally trained in cooking makes her fearless to do her own thing in the kitchen.
So how did ‘The Breakfast Projeckt’ come to life? Pratishtha says that she has always loved a good breakfast. It was in 2010, when she moved to a new apartment, alone, that the project began to take shape. “The highlight of every day was the breakfast I cooked for myself”, she says. She started posting pictures on the net; the pictures received amazing response, people started asking for recipes. That’s where the germ of the idea started from. “I knew I could make something new for almost every day of the month. But a year? Now that seemed like a challenge worth taking!” she says. She feels she has learned more about cooking in these few months than any institute could have taught her.
Breakfast Projekt is a simple but fun project. Pratishtha intends to eat a new dish every single day, for an entire year. Out of these almost 90 per cent will be cooked by her, the rest will be eaten at a café or restaurant. “For 356 days out of a year’s 365 days, I will click pictures of the breakfasts cooked and eaten by me and my family”, she says. It definitely is a monumental task as no recipe is to be repeated. The project also involves a lot work like researching recipes, innovating and creating new recipes out of old ones. She is also honest enough to share any cooking disaster that happens in her kitchen. “It’s a collaborative journey, and many people have been an integral part of it. They have shared their family recipes, tried mine, given feedback, praise, and sometimes, brickbats”, says Pratishtha.
Challenges are plenty, but the biggest one is to try to come up with a new recipe every day, and it only gets tougher with each passing day. “Some fruits and vegetables are not available, some recipes are too elaborate and time consuming for a weekday, and I like to keep my breakfast recipes quick and simple”, says Pratishtha. Boredom and fatigue are the other challenges that she has to fight. Sometimes keeping herself excited about the project is itself a big task. On such days her support system i.e. her husband and mother in law ensure that she stays on track. “We have driven miles to get a particular ingredient. But I guess these challenges are what ensure that I stay with the project. They keep things alive and exciting” she says.
Breakfast Projekt is almost 200 breakfasts old now and there are many beautiful memories that she has to share, like the 100th day of the project. “I record the breakfast list every day, and I almost did not register that I was about to complete the 100th breakfast! I was jumping with joy and screaming”, says Pratishtha. They celebrated it with a bunch of friends over a celebratory brunch. Many a times people have come up to her to tell that they follow the project on the blog or the Facebook page, this she believes is a great reward. The journey has also been with many small but significant things which meant a lot to her. “One sweet, memorable moment was when I discovered fresh red currants at a retail chain. I saw them in India for the first time, and I was clutching the small packet in my hands, all the way home! I was like a little girl who had found a chest full of gems”, she says.
Every journey has an end and Breakfast Projekt too will have its own. But for now she is totally focussed on the present without thinking too much about what the future holds. “Maybe more recipes, some cooking classes. I might even go abroad for an extensive cookery course”, she says about her future plans. The journey has taught her many lessons, lessons that we all can learn from. “Be fearless, be a bit reckless. You will never know what you can come up with if you stick to the familiar and the safe, your self-doubts will clear up once to start playing with the unfamiliar. My passion is cooking. Yours could be drawing, or writing, or stitching, or colouring eggs! Don’t be afraid of being judged. Have fun with what you have. Believe me, someday, you will thank yourself for having taken on a difficult challenge”, says Pratishtha.
To conclude we asked her to describe what Mumbai means to her. Here’s what she had to say, “Mumbai, to me, really is a place where dreams come true. Where else can I walk into a store and pick up fruits from across the globe, or just that perfect brand of Sea Salt? Strive hard, push the envelope, and everything is possible in this Maximum City! “