Cooking for fitness icon, actor Sanjay Dutt

Cooking for fitness icon, actor Sanjay Dutt

Consultant culinary nutritionist Varun Shivdasani spills the beans about his first day on the job in Bollywood movie star Sanjay Dutt's kitchen

Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt's new super chef Varun Shivdasani has got his work cut out -- cooking for a legend who's renowned for his imposing physique.

On the set of the remake of gangster flick "Agneepath" this week, Dutt (who plays the villain, naturally) was dispensing fitness training advice, to the amazement of the crew.

"For us, it is Sanju sir who inspired many people to build a fabulous physique with films like 'Adharm,' 'Jurm,' and 'Khauff.' We were thrilled when he offered to train us," the assistant director told the Hindustan Times. The story promptly made the front page of the lifestyle supplement.

It's a measure of how Dutt's fame combines with his image as a ripped, lovable rascal. But his nutritionist Varun Shivdasani is not so impressed.

Shivdasani comes to India after stints at top notch spas like Chiva Som and Six Senses in Thailand.

His first job in Mumbai was head of food and nutrition on the hit television show "Biggest Loser," and these days he manages nutrition for a handful of Bollywood stars and Indian Premier League cricketers, figuring out bespoke culinary nutrition solutions.

"The thing about film stars in India is that they're doing five to six movies a year," says Shivdasani. "They're on set a lot, snacking on junk like samosas and other deep fried foods with no nutrients. I'm now developing a range of hand-held snacks specifically for Bollywood stars on set."

Shivdasani also handles the nutritional needs of actor Suniel Shetty and his family, who in turn recommended him to Dutt.

Day one in Dutt's kitchen; chef Shivdasani prepares a bespoke lunch:

1. Fresh garden salad, with a sun-dried tomato dressing and mushroom caviar garnish.

"We used summer squash, zucchini, rocket and bell pepper -- very soon we will be growing these hydroponically in Dutt's garden," says Shivdasani.

2. Caramelized lemon grass and kaffir lime grilled chicken breast

3. A fat-free, sugar-free, citrus and fresh vanilla bean panna cotta cheesecake

Sanjay Dutt's diet

1. He doesn't drink alcohol. "Being off alcohol means you're clear headed, know what you're doing, what you're saying. It's difficult when you go out or entertain, but I'm not the type to stick to two glasses of wine so it is best to avoid it completely," says the actor. 

2. He doesn't touch local tomatoes, having once eaten a dish of tomatoes at the Peter Luger Steakhouse in New York that was so good it altered his tastes for ever. At Shivdasani's recommendation, Dutt is looking into growing his own tomatoes in a hydroponic garden.

3. Dutt's favorite way to feed friends is a barbecue at home.


Elvis DSilva is a storyteller, first and foremost. His preferred medium of storytelling is moving pictures, for the moment.
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