Alpana Habib – Spreading the joy of good food


Tehreen Islam

We have always known that passion is the driving force behind success and happiness that allows us all to live better lives. Alpana Habib believed and did exactly that. She is a ‘happy homecook’ who took cooking in our country to another level of profession, passion and experience.

The journey started when she was in her sixth grade, by picking up the cooking book by Siddika Kabir. Soon cooking became her hobby and kitchen became her escape room. Appreciations and praises inspired her to cook more, be more innovative. After completing her post-graduation in Psychology and a few years of working in aviation industry, she settled in teaching. But her passion never died. She was always cooking for her colleagues, friends and family. Soon requests started to pour in for teaching others to cook and she casually started cooking classes. Side by side, she started her catering service which delivered delicious dishes for parties and events.

Passion is the energy that keeps us going, that keeps us filled with meaning, and happiness, and excitement, and anticipation. Same happened with Alpana Habib and it lead her to small screen. Besides being magical with food, she’s always been magical with words too. Thus, her to shows started to win hearts and encouraged many to cook up a storm in the kitchen.

Remembering that she said, ‘ My sister felt my attitude in my cooking classes is perfect for a TV show and approached Sara Zaker . After one show, I was signed me up for more and eventually 400 episodes followed. That is how I moved to small screen from my kitchen.’

Alpana’s reputation has reached immense popularity and has become a house hold name. It’s also taken her beyond borders. She was one of the judges in a food festival in West Bengal for Durga Puja in 2015.   She also attended ‘Food for Thought’, a Delhi based food festival organised by SAARC as a cooking instructor where she demonstrated her signature ilish pulao, shahi tukra and other items. ‘ I have always loved travelling and these experiences, involving cooking make them even more exciting,’ she adds.


Looking at the present culinary scenario, she says, ‘ People love great food and these days they are ready to spend money for it. They don’t compromise on quality. On the other hand, everyone’s

life is busy and sometimes it too busy to cook every day or go out to eat. That’s when home cooks step in. Gone are the days when only ‘baburchi’ would cook. Many homemakers, working people, both men and women are into catering business these days and it’s a refreshing change.’

She also feels the recent developments encourage people to create and share through different platforms and gives them a chance to turn their passion into profession. But she does have some advice for these passionate cooks which include – maintaining hygiene, using clean utensils and good ingredients, being honest and most importantly focusing on making  people happy.


When asked her about having a career in this field, she says ‘ Dedication is a powerful force in accomplishing anything you set your mind to, if you want it you can do it.  By turning you passion into profession, one can enjoy work and life the fullest extent possible.’ But she also emphasises on a few issues and adds that if one really want to do good in this field one has to mix business with

passion. First of all it’s important to have a helper to assist otherwise it gets difficult to manage and prepare orders. It’s also important to find sources of instruments, ingredients etc and buy them in wholesale rates. It’s also important to give people’s preferences and convenience importance. All these with had work can bring success, but with time. It is silly to expect quick success in initial days.

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What makes Alpana more special is that she is always eager to learn from everyone – let it be a 5 star hotel chef or a road side cafe owner.  She considers Siddika Kabir to be her lifetime inspiration and adds that it’s her who taught her to play around techniques with the right quantity of ingredients and right amount of time.  Alpana Habib has been involved with West Bengal’s most popular cooking show aired by Zee Bangla, ‘Rannaghor’ and cooking for local audience in ATN Bangla.

She  is currently working on a cookbook that will be published in both English and Bangla which will be a combination of 250 recipes. ‘The book will have ordinary recipes with extraordinary twists,’ she says.  Alpana’s motto, ‘ The dish has to touch your heart’ and this explains why her cooking is so delicious and warms up the heart.

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