The Heavy Metal Chef: An Interview with Sahil Makhija A.K.A The Demonstealer

Picture yourself in front of a 2000 strong audience, as you intensely scream into the microphone in musical ecstasy, shredding blazing fast symphonies on the guitar as the drummer fills the atmosphere with the thundering double bass patterns, which sound like Odin’s stomach rumbling. Amidst the layers of symphonies and heavy, intensity-soaked riffs which produce a heavy metal orchestra of raw passion and abandon, Sahil Makhija acts as the connoisseur of this highly palatable performance. Being the frontman of the band Demonic Ressurection, Sahil has a long history of being associated with some of the most renowned and crucial events in the Indian metal scene, from being a part of the documentary “Global Metal” by Sam Dunn, to handling one of the biggest recording companies for metal in India, Demonstealer Records.

Sahil also has a passion in cooking, one which he attacks with an intense subtlety (heavy paradox if you ask me) not unlike his performances. This connoisseur is renowned for his ability to created well layered and palatable metal symphonies which have the power to give you enough brain food to last at least a few dozen mental dry-spells (èspecially due to the fact that the band has about 5 albums and few more EPs to its name). His skill is also evident and apparent in the way he treats cooking as a passion, treating every dish like a performance. He also has an online series to his name, called Headbanger’s Kitchen, where he combines his love for both cooking and metal music.

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THC Baba, owing to his numerous connections and exploring, got a chance to interview Sahil about his passion for cooking as well as music, including the way he treats both his passions and what they essentially embody for him. Here’s the gist of the interview that was conducted:

Baba: What does food mean to you as a person who is so passionate about the culinary arts?

DS: For me food is life. Life is food. It’s art, it’s happiness. Food is one of the wonders of the world

Baba: Could you tell us a bit about the concept of “Headbangers Kitchen” with regards to your journey and how you came up with the idea?

DS: It started with a simple food blog on Facebook in 2007 which spiralled into many recipes over 3 years. I was watching a lot more youtube recipes around 2010 and I thought instead of typing recipe blogs I should just make videos instead and that’s how the show idea was born. I guess metal is involved in everything I do so the idea of interviewing a band and feeding them the dish made perfect sense. That’s how the show came together.

Baba: Normally, people would not associate Death Metal with the culinary arts due to some weird stereotype. What do you think is the reason behind such kind of stereotyping?

DS: I guess because at least in India you don’t hear of anyone being a chef apart from chefs. You don’t expect actors, musicians, painters or artists to be a part of the culinary profession. So the genre death metal is irrelevant in this case. People stereotype because that’s just human nature.

Baba: Who are your food gurus?

DS: I think I try and learn from anyone and everyone, but some of the chefs I’ve been following are Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, Marco Pierre White, Chef John from Foodwishes and Heston. I am always on youtube watching videos and trying to learn.

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Baba: How similar or different would you say your cooking style and your performance on stage are?

DS: Hahaha. I think they are very different personalities. I am very spontaneous with my cooking and I improvise a lot and throw recipes together all the time. On stage it’s all rehearsed and I suck at any kind of improvisation musically.

Baba: Where would say your culinary interests spawned from?

DS: My love for cooking was born from my love for eating good food. My family has always enjoyed good food and it’s stemmed from there I believe. I also think on some level that I like to do things for myself, which is why I got around to cooking my own food so I could personalize it for myself to the highest level. I don’t really like spicy food and I enjoy certain flavours and textures so I guess it’s the “I know exactly what I want to eat” idea that made me get behind the stove.

Baba: Which episode of “Headbangers Kitchen” would you consider as your personal favourite?

DS: I think from a cooking perspective the Bhayanak Bacon bomb creation is one of my favourites and when it comes to interviewing artists definitely George Kollias as he was the first big superstar from the heavy metal world who I interviewed and I’m a complete fanboy!

Baba: What is your favorite dish and could you express the experience of its taste in the form of an intense lyrical ballad? 

DS: My favourite dish would be a beef steak done medium rare.  I normally hate doing such cheesy interpretations but I’ll give it a go.

“As I cut into her with the knife, oh so slow. Tearing the flesh, the blood did flow. The tender flesh did leave me in ecstasy, moist, juicy and oh so tasty.’

Here are some of the many metal musicians that Sahil interviewed and cooked for at Headbanger’s Kitchen:

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