‘Believe in yourself to enhance your life every day’: Pankaj Gupta, restaurateur

The Proust Questionnaire is a questionnaire about one’s personality. It has its origins in a parlour game popularised by Marcel Proust, the French novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.

Pankaj Gupta founder of Taftoon Bar and Kitchen fell in love with cooking, just by watching his mother cook as a boy. He made his first mark in the F&B industry by launching a restaurant called Oye Kake followed by Café Haqq Se in Mumbai. His next big venture was Taftoon Bar and Kitchen, a one-of-a-kind restaurant that covers the cuisine along the Grand Trunk Road extending from Kabul to Chittagong. Pankaj’s dreams are like his appetite for good food: big.

Here are his answers to our Proust questionnaire…

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Barbecuing for your loved ones at a beach villa.

What is your greatest fear?

Fear of confined spaces, also called Claustrophobia.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?


What is the trait you most deplore in others?


Which living person do you most admire?

My father.

What is your greatest extravagance?

My footwear.

What is your current state of mind?


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What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Owning Michelin Star restaurants.

On what occasion do you lie?

When I am running late for a meeting.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

My uneven beard growth and receding hairline.

What is the quality you most like in a man?


What is the quality you most like in a woman?


Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

‘Correct’, ‘Perfect’, ‘Jai Mata Di’.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My family.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Professional dancing skills.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Be less emotional.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

The ability to accept and not to expect.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

I would like to be an eagle or a whale or a banyan tree.

Where would you most like to live?

Without a doubt, Amsterdam.

What is your most treasured possession?

My watch, my letters and my greeting cards.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Being unable to help your loved ones when they need you the most.

What is your favourite occupation? 

Cooking, serving, cleaning, entertaining and creating more spaces for doing the above.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Inspiring people and the ability to stay immune to any kind of toxicity around.

What do you most value in your friends?

Their existence in my life.

Who are your favourite writers?

I like Hussain Zaidi’s non-fiction and James Patterson’s novels.

Who is your hero of fiction?


Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Bhagat Singh.

Who are your heroes in real life?

My father, Virat Kohli, Sadhguru and Arvind Kejriwal.

What is your favourite name?


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What is it that you most dislike?

Stubbornness and lack of commitment.

What is your greatest regret?

That I didn’t go abroad for my studies.

What is your favourite journey?

My journey as a chawl boy to a Restaurateur in the beautiful city of Mumbai.

What is your motto?

Live and Learn from every moment you spend in this world! Believe in yourself and enhance your life every day.

Also read: ‘A good cook must taste, taste, taste and keep a clean workstation’: Chef Rakhee Vaswani-Owner, Founder, Palate Culinary Studio and Academy


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