As a child, culinary expert, television personality and cookbook author, Shawkat Osman, used to go hunting with his father. “We used to go into the wild, hunt for our own food and learn to cook our meals,” says Shawkat. After growing up, due to sentimental reasons, he stopped hunting. What remained was his knack to cook. That is when Shawkat's love affair with the culinary arts began.
“I never had any training in cooking. I followed my instincts,” he says. During his youth, he was interested in food. He would ask the women of his family how different dishes were prepared. This curiosity ended up taking him to different parts of the world to try out different foods and learn how they were made.
“I sometimes would go abroad for business purposes and would end up trying the local cuisines and learn how they were made. There was even a time when I went to Italy and I came across a restaurant called Bologna which caught my attention more than I would expect,” says Shawkat. When he went to Bologna, he asked them if he could work there and even offered to work for no money, just free pizza. He learned how to make authentic pizza and Bolognese sauce there. Even though he has never been a professional chef, his experience and the passion for food has made him a remarkable cook with intensive knowledge in flavours.
During the 80's Shawkat Osman first appeared on television in ATN for a cooking show. After that, he moved to Kolkata and hosted a show on Tara TV for 10 years. “While I was doing my show on Tara TV, a lot of phone calls would be coming in from people interested in my cooking. One of the producers had asked me to just publish a book with all my recipes to make it easier,” says Shawkat. That is when Khunti Korai- Bangladeshi Cuisine was published. After the first publication, Shawkat went on to write 9 more books with recipes starting from Bangladeshi cuisine to Japanese and Thai cuisine. He has also been on various television channels with his own cooking shows. He also had a show on NTV called Roshui Ghor where he and his daughter, Rukhsara Osman, would both cook and share recipes.
Shawkat has been a celebrity judge in Rupchanda-Star Lifestyle Super Chef and has been an avid columnist for Star Lifestyle.
“I believe the Bangladeshi youth is very adventurous and innovative about food. They're not just excited about eating but also preparing,” says Shawkat. “And people have started realising that the best way to make money is by selling food! It's about time people realise that the restaurant is what the chef is. And the youth seems to be in complete know of that!”