Pankaj Bhadouria Masterchef

How Pankaj Bhadouria A School Teacher Became India’s First Masterchef

Updated on July 5, 2024

You might have heard about Pankaj Bhadouria, a small-town girl who became the winner of India’s first Masterchef. In this article, you can find more about her success story. In the video, she says this story is not about how she became Masterchef, but the story is about second chances passion combined with preparation is what you need so that when life gives you a second chance and you want to go out and grab it you are prepared for it. So be prepared to be alive. God knows when life might give you that second chance to make your life successful.

Pankaj Bhadouria – India’s First Masterchef

Do you remember when was the last time you thought that your circumstances can never allow you to be successful in life? Have you ever got a second chance to follow your passion and make your life successful? Many people are fearful of failures. But when you look at successful people you can find that failures have always been a stepping stone for success in their life. You can have 2 options in tough times, either to crib about failing or taking it as a motivation for success and never give up. Never Stop Believing In Yourself Even For A Second. That is the secret to success.

The story of Masterchef Pankaj Bhadouria​ is one such inspirational story. In spite of living an ordinary life till 38, Pankaj Bhadouria worked her way up the world and devised her own secret recipe for success. Till the age of 38, from going to a hotel school to living an ordinary life and then clutching on to the second chance that she got, Chef Pankaj encountered many moments of despair but she rose against all the obstacles in life.

Stuffed Green Chili Pickle I Oil Free Pickle – Pankaj Bhadouria

Here is the recipe for the easiest and the best Stuffed Green Chili Pickle. The pickle takes only 3-4 days to mature and can be kept for more than a year as it dies not spoil.

Recipe: Stuffed Green Chili Pickle Preparation Time: 60 minutes Ingredients: 1/2 kg Bhavnagari Green Chilies 1 cup Black Mustard Powder 1/4 cup Salt 1/4 cup Dry Mango Powder 1 tbsp Turmeric Powder 1/4 cup Vinegar Method: Wash and wipe dry the Green Chilies. Cut off the stem and deseed the Green Chilies. Mix together the mustard powder, salt, dry mango powder, turmeric powder well. Add in the vinegar and mix well. Fill in the mixture into the hollowed green chiles and push into the chili to stuff the chili well Fill all Chilies and place in a clean glass container. Cover and keep it mature for 3-4 days. The pickle would be ready to eat.

About Pankaj Bhadouria

  • Born on 14 July 1971 in New Delhi to Vinod Khanna and Priya Khanna.
  • Pankaj is the elder of their two children with one younger brother.
  • She lost her father at the age of 13 years and her mother when she was 22.
  • She did her schooling from Kendriya Vidyalaya, New Delhi and finished her higher education in Lucknow.
  • She did her bachelor’s degree in English, Master’s degree in English literature from Lucknow University,
  • Also did her bachelor’s degree in education from Lucknow University to prepare herself for her chosen career.
  • She is married to Charu Samarth and has two children, a daughter, Sonalika Bhadouria and a son, Siddhant Bhadouria.

Pankaj Bhadouria – Television Shows

  • Masterchef India Season 1 -Star Plus (2010)
  • Chef Pankaj Ka Zayka – Star Plus (2011)
  • Rick Stein’s India, Episode 6[11] -BBC2, TLC, Discovery (2012)
  • Sales Ka Baazigar – ETV (2013)
  • Kifayati Kitchen – Zee Khana Khazana(2014-2015)
  • Rasoi Se – Pankaj Bhadouria ke Saath ETV (2015)
  • 3 Course with Pankaj- Zee Khana Khazana (2015)
  • Just Like That – Living Foodz (2015)
  • Health In 100 – Living Foodz (2016)
  • Dream Kitchen – Living Foodz (2017)

Pankaj Bhadouria – Endorsements

  • Pankaj Bhadouria’s passion for cooking has made her a personality of choice for many a brand.
  • She is a part of the Microsoft Lumia 535 Digital Campaign where she encourages people to follow their dreams in an inspiring film titled “Ashaiyen”
  • The face of the Brand Knorr- Cup a soup, Soups and Noodles and has shot an extensive TV Campaign and Print Campaigns for Knorr.
  • The Brand Ambassador for Masterchef Travels Cox and Kings Worldwide.
  • She also endorsed Eastern Masalas, a leading Spice Brand in Southern India.
  • She was also the face of Taaza Tea, HUL, activity- Huunar Apka, Pehchaan Hamaari, an effort to recognise the hidden talents in women from small towns in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Pankaj Bhadouria is chosen by the Spanish Government as an Ambassador for the promotion of Olive Oil in India for the campaign called Olive Oil Revolution.
  • Her other Brand Associations include Samsung Smart Oven, Kent Juicer & Pasta Maker, Sensodyne, Reliance Fresh, Kelloggs, and Tefal.

Pankaj Bhadouria – Awards and recognition

  • Masterchef India Winner (Season 1)
  • Featured in the list of: 9 People Who Made It Big After Participating In Reality Shows -by Indiatimes
  • Rated as one of the few TV Chefs with a great deal of integrity for her thoughtful and meticulous recipes on TV shows – Indian Express
  • Co-hosted the Knorr (brand) Master Class, with Masterchef Australia Judge Chef Gary Mehigan at the World on a Plate Food Festival, Bangalore, June 2016
  • Winner of Outlook Social Media Award- OSM Kitchen King/Queen of the Year Award by Outlook Magazine, 2016
  • Felicitated by the Honorable President of India, Shri R. N. Kovind as ‘First Ladies’ – an award given by the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Govt. of India.

Also read Sheela Kochouseph Chittilappilly House Wife Turned Woman Entrepreneur

How important is it to be prepared to follow your passion? – Pankaj Bhadouria

Back in the 80s, when Pankaj Bhadouria was growing up in Delhi, the middle class was very conservative. The profession of a chef was not considered a respectable job for a girl. Pankaj lost her father at the age of 13, before she had discussed career options or even known that a girl could pursue a career as a chef or in the hospitality industry. It was only in her later school years, during classes 11 and 12, that she became aware of alternative careers beyond banking, government jobs, engineering, or becoming a doctor.

Her mother, who was very progressive, encouraged her to pursue whatever she wanted in life. Pankaj enrolled at IHM Pusa to do a one-year diploma course in food preservation and canning technology, a field very different from the traditional career paths. This opportunity allowed her to learn about cooking in a professional manner. At the Institute of Hotel Management, she had many friends who were also passionate about the same field, which helped her improve her skills.

One thing her mother always emphasized was the importance of formal education. Her mother, who was not a graduate when she got married, struggled to find a decent job in her father’s office after he passed away. Pankaj witnessed her mother’s trauma of not being well-educated enough, which reinforced the value of education in her own life.

Also read How To Choose The Right Career Best For You?

After completing a one-year diploma course in food preservation and canning technology, Pankaj Bhadouria went on to finish her Bachelor’s in English and then a Master’s in English. Unfortunately, while pursuing her Master’s degree, she also lost her mother. At this critical time, her formal education helped her secure a decent job at a school, providing her not only with a means to earn a living but also the independence to support herself entirely.

Realizing the importance of qualifications for career advancement, Pankaj knew that despite having a Master’s degree, she needed a B.Ed. to rise in her profession. So, she pursued and completed a B.Ed., which led to her being promoted to teaching senior classes, 11th and 12th grades, within two years. She taught English for 16 years until an unexpected opportunity arose: MasterChef.

One day, she saw an advertisement on television inviting people to audition for MasterChef. She decided to audition and successfully cleared one round after another, eventually reaching what was called the boot camp. At this stage, if she qualified, she would be in the top twelve contestants and needed to commit to the competition for three months. Faced with this dilemma, she approached her school authorities for leave, which was denied. To make matters worse, she was told harshly that she was pursuing this not out of love for food but for the glamour of television.

This remark deeply hurt her. As a mother of two with significant responsibilities at home and a dedicated teacher, she found the insinuation about seeking glamour insulting. Despite making all necessary arrangements for a qualified replacement during her leave, her request was denied. Unwilling to live with regret and determined to pursue her dream, Pankaj made the bold decision to quit her stable, 16-year-long job.

She joined MasterChef with the dreams of a teenager, a strong belief in her abilities, and an unwavering desire to prove herself. Her decision was driven by a deep passion for cooking and a resolve to seize the second chance that life had presented.

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What it needs is not around you, it is within you. So let us live within you, let it stay alive, and please follow your dreams and your passions.

In the Josh Talk video, you can discover how Chef Pankaj Bhadouria worked tirelessly to seize a second chance and follow her passion, turning her life into a blockbuster movie. Her inspirational success story shows how one can pursue their dreams and achieve success. This story is a must-watch for anyone seeking motivation to turn failure into success and follow their passion.

Also read Don’t Worry About Failures Better Result Is Awaiting For You


The Masterchef show made her a household name in the country. Her charm and passion for cooking opened varied avenues around the world. Pankaj Bhadouria’s inspirational story proves that you should never miss opportunities. Age is just a number, but not a barrier to learning and taking new steps for following your passions and achieving success in life. There are many people, especially women who have skills but could not fulfill their passion in life. There can be many unavoidable reasons for this. Don’t worry about your age and problems, whenever you get the chance follow your passion at any age and achieve success and happiness in life. Never stop learning. Always update your knowledge. Be an inspiration to others and help others to achieve success in life.

Do you have any passions you’ve yet to pursue?

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References: Wikipedia Pankaj Bhadouria


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