I found out about Umar Mansoor through Twitter. He went on to make his own YouTube channel and I followed. I always thought his name was actually Shamsher before I approached him for an interview.
Needless to say, “Chef Shamsher” is an outstanding cook. What I like most about his recipes was that he makes everything looks so easy to make.
There is always a deep af quote hidden in the videos he makes as he narrates the recipes. When you do something different and when you do it right, there are always going to be people who will appreciate your efforts.
I have massive respect for people who have a certain passion in their lives and they pursue it. I asked him a few simple questions through Twitter because he lives all the way in the YOU ESS AYY.
Tell us a little about yourself Chef.
Well I a lot of people mistake me for an actual professional chef but that is not the case. People started calling me chef and they did not stop even after repeatedly being told that I am not an actual chef and since then “Chef Shamsher” has become a sort of brand name for me.
I am a MBA in Human Resources by qualification and I work in the Logistics industry by profession. I love reading, going to the gym 5 times a week at least, horror movies, music of complex genres such as hard rock, jazz, blues, classical, ghazals and sufi qalam.
Picked up cooking back in 2011 because it was needed at the moment and I have been cooking since then. Used to cook daily for years but then it became a weekend thing. It has been 7 years, time flies.
How and why did you start your blog?
Cooking became a hobby and I started taking pictures. I started putting out these pictures on the internet to see how the social media environment would react to it. I got a lot of different comments like “Your food might taste better but it looks pathetic.” which actually made me work a lot on my garnishing skills.
A dear friend from Twitter Syed Shumail suggested that I should stop littering the timeline with food pictures and make a blog so I took that suggestion and just like in old times my mother had her diary of recipes I made this my diary of the recipes I was about to try.
What is your all-time favorite recipe to make?
I cannot pick one at all as I enjoy making various type of foods like grilled items, Asian stir fry items and of course a number of Desi specialty recipes. It would be hard to pick just one but if you really ask then top 5 would be Peri Peri Chicken, Mutton Pulao, Almond Chicken, Pav Bhaji and Fettuccine Alfredo.
What has been your motivation?
Throughout the years my mother was my main support and motivation for doing all of this because she was the one who I made all this food for. I was a bit lost after her and at many times, for months, I took breaks in between posting recipes to find motivation.
I kept thinking that this does not matter anymore now that she is not here but to be honest the more toxic social media has become these days the more people there are who just exist to make you feel better about yourself.
I wish I could name them all but a lot of people gave me a lot of motivation which kept me going from time to time. Then there are the people who keep on reminding me how much difference my recipes have made in their lives which is one of the most moving factors for me as a food blogger and cook. I have my down time where I struggle a lot with myself which affects my creative process as well but like Winston Churchill said “if you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Do you think you’ll ever take this passion as a full-time career?
I have thought about that many times and the answer might be yes in future but right now it is no. Even though I have had considerate amount of offers from different people who were willing to invest but in all honesty I don’t know if I start cooking for money how would my food taste and I have a lot of skills to polish before I invest myself in something like that.
Your word for youngsters in Pakistan who want to start v-logging?
I don’t think I am that successful or known enough on YouTube to start advising people who want to do this but all I would say to people who want to start v-logging and are worried about content is that you guys are the greatest content for your v-logs and you can fill it up with your confidence because confidence matters a lot and it takes you and your content to places.