How a reality show brought out the chef in Dimple Rose

The way to every human heart, not just that of a man, is through his or her stomach. This universal truth struck actor-“cooker” Dimple Rose not too long ago when she took a hiatus from celluloid to try her luck and skills at tickling people’s taste buds! Going by the success of her food vlogs, Dimple is quite a hit, with folks following her diligently on virtual world … lapping up every taste and trying out her specials, simple and easy as they are. Here’s the actor turned chef sharing her new-found passion with Onmanorama, peppered with spices and flavours.

A family concern

Dimple was particular about the effect of her shows on viewers. They were not to be the same old, much-viewed food videos. She had to have life infused into them. In short, they had to be live. With charity as the thought behind her attempt, Dimple opened her channel by uploading videos with meaningful content. However, contrary to expectations, they fetched hardly any viewers. But what turned the tide in her favour was a casual video featuring Dimple and her husband that made an impact … an eye-opener indeed! What brings in viewership is what people can relate to. It has to be of interest to them. So she brought in members from her family and made the outing homely. A lot of changes were made by viewers themselves who posted suggestions in the comment box. As most of her shows and interviews had pictures aplenty of her family in the background, they said the video content too could be enhanced by the presence of members from the family. Hence, the make-over, says Dimple. 

Dimple’s videos today are truly live with her family as well as that of her husband’s chipping in with their presence.

The turning point

Cooking was indeed a passion even while in school. Her time in the kitchen started when she was in class seven. She soon mastered the art of baking too. Dimple is quick to add that it’s not the presence of the camera that gets her going. She’s always at it because she loves it. 

The passion took a turn when she won a prize in a cookery reality show organized by culinary diva Lakshmi Nair. She was just a degree student then into her first year when the show fetched her the prize. That made her and gave her a sense of direction. She gives Lakshmi Nair due credit for infusing in her a true love for cooking by providing lessons and tips on how she could turn a liking into a passion. Besides, the confidence she acquired in the wake of the recognition was no small boost. It carried her to the heights of culinary joy.

Her special flavours, tastes

Dimple confesses to a yen for her mum’s cooking. Her mum too, an ardent admirer of Lakshmi Nair, used to faithfully follow Nair’s Sunday special programme called “Magic Oven”. The show would begin by the time the family got back from church and invariably, one of the dishes for lunch would be what Lakshmi Nair had demonstrated that day. Usually, no one would have a clue as to what the mid-day menu would be. But Dimple says she would get a whiff of what was cooking right from the moment she stepped into her garden. One such memory is the flavour of a Hyderabadi biryani which still lingers, she says. Her mother, a thorough foodie, loved to experiment. She used to watch all cookery shows, collect recipes and read up books. She would jot down points from the shows, give them her own twists and turns and come up with wonderful combinations, the flavours of which Dimple still remembers. 

“Ask me about food and my most vivid memories are of how I would rush home from Sunday School in all excitement and eager expectancy of mummy’s lunch. I was only in class two or three then, but I still recall every moment of that child’s longing for a plate of savoury something”, says Dimple.

Talking about life post-marriage, Dimple says she is lucky in that hubby Anson’s mom too happens to be a super cook. 

Being a native of Thrissur and having lived for the most part of her life there, Dimple is more familiar with the Thrissur style of cooking. But marriage brought in a “cookery shock” as they say of a cultural shock. The Kochi style was entirely different from that of Thrissur when it came to fish moilee, mappas, vindaloo and other fish dishes.

She’s now settled down to enjoying Kochi’s specials, especially that of Anson’s mummy.  

Simple, easy-to-cook dishes

Dimple is particular about the choice of dishes when she comes live in reality. She goes for the simple and easy ones. One need not worry about the long list of ingredients or the lack of them in the kitchen. One must be able to turn out a dish with whatever is at hand at home. Dimple says she never comes up with a demo of hard to find ingredients, nor does she shoot a video just for the sake of showing something different. She does only those dishes she is most comfortable with. Confidence is the key and hence, her choice too depends on the confidence that the dish she tries out will turn out well. 

Dimple’s mother-in-law has also appeared in a couple of her videos. She was once eloquent about a few dishes she had tried out. Later on, the comment box was filled with requests asking Dimple’s mother-in-law for the recipes to the dishes she had described. Thus came recipes for fish moilee and mappas. 

A foodie family scouting round for new dishes

Dimple admits that though she herself was a foodie, the craze for food got heightened once she came to her husband’s home. Her husband, a thoroughbred foodie, wouldn’t mind driving for miles for a taste of what was cooked in a particular place if he were to get a whiff of it from his friends. As everybody in the family genuinely loves food, it’s a pleasure to try out different tastes and flavours, she adds. The family has so far tried out all dishes turned out from thattukadas, to small eateries, restaurants and big hotels.

Chicken lovers with a palate for sadyas

Dimple prepares sadyas. Everyone in her family loves them, more so, her mummy. An expert at non-veg dishes, Dimple’s mummy was tuned more towards them and was no expert at vegetable dishes. Hence, the joy of preparing a pure vegetarian sadya would always be her lot, a task Dimple enjoyed. When Dimple is at home in Thrissur, it’s she who decides the menu and the family polishes off everything with relish. 

The joy of watching your loved ones dining happily on what you’ve cooked has no parallel, says Dimple. While her family in Thrissur find themselves more at home with just chicken dishes, it’s all things non-veg that her Kochi family loves.

Cookery videos and beauty tips

Dimple often mulls over ways to making her channel more watchable. She intends to provide maximum entertainment to catch their attention. In the wake of requests for beauty tips, Dimple began uploading videos with such content. However, she feels her cookery videos have more viewership than the ones on looks and polish.

Negative comments

Some viewers are eternally negative. She has learnt to ignore them and not take the comments to heart. Dimple replies to all the comments, both positive and negative. 

No “touching up” for video shoots

Dimple’s mother used to look into her daughter’s costumes before her marriage. She says she never dresses consciously for an occasion. The sari is her favourite attire and that’s what she would love to be seen in. “I feel I look better in a sari”, she adds. 

Dimple comes into view in her simple dress while her videos are shot. She prefers to keep that homely look and avoids “drama”, just for an effect, says the anchor.

Love at first bite - kothuporotta

This special dish again is one that pops up from memory. Dimple, then a class nine student, was busy shooting for a Tamil movie when she first encountered it. Kothuporotta as a dish was then relatively unknown in Kerala. But a hotel in Tamil Nadu they chose to dine in had kothuporotta on its menu. Curious to know what it tasted like, the dish was ordered. Packed in plantain leaf, it came with sliced porotta and salad. For Dimple, it was love at first bite. From that day on, till the shoot schedule was over, it was either an egg or chicken kothuporotta for Dimple daily. Kothuporotta made its entry into Kerala much later. Dimple says it was perhaps her tastiest childhood memory! 

Another picture from her foodie album happens to be from Dubai. Her brother was in Dubai while Dimple was in high school. That’s when she was introduced to the “finger-lickin' good” flavour of KFC, as yet an “alien” to Kerala’s food culture. When brother dear would come home, he would wax eloquent on KFC’s fried chicken. Thus was born a yearning for KFC’s special chicken. Hence, when the family decided on a Dubai trip, Dimple’s only desire was to have a bite of that delectable chicken. True to her desire, she got to eat it and lick her fingers every day, till the family came back. 

Fish on foreign trips

It’s fish and chicken for her while on jaunts abroad. On a trip to Thailand, she was more into seafood.

But not for her the country’s delicacies like soups with insects special!

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