Bill Gates tries making roti, draws praise from India's PM Modi

NEW DELHI — Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates recently tried his hand at making roti to help promote emerging technologies that allow India’s wheat farmers to raise their yields.

The resulting roti was nothing spectacular, but it was enough to draw the attention of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who called Mr Gates’ effort “superb” and then encouraged the tech titan to also try his hand at making millet dishes.

Mr Gates, founder of software giant Microsoft with a fortune estimated at over US$100 billion (S$132 billion), appeared in a video on the Instagram channel of 20-year-old celebrity chef Eitan Bernath.

Mr Bernath, an American, made the video after visiting the state of Bihar in eastern India, where he was introduced to new sowing techniques that have helped the state’s wheat farmers dramatically grow their harvests.

He also met with women from the World Bank-funded kitchen service Didi ki Rasoi who gave him a lesson on making “the perfect roti”.

It was that lesson that he shared with Mr Gates, who has lately been focusing on philanthropic efforts to reduce poverty and eradicate diseases that plague the poorest of the poor.

In the video, Mr Gates can be seen mixing and stirring in a glass bowl finely ground whole wheat flour, water and salt.

“When was the last time you cooked?” Mr Bernath asks Mr Gates.

“If heating soup counts,” Mr Gates says, “I do that regularly.”


As he stirs, he remarks: “If you start with ingredients like these, it has been a long time.”

Mr Gates manages to turn the mix into dough, but he struggles to make a perfect circle out of it with a rolling pin.

Mr Bernath heats the dough on a pan, and then Mr Gates brushes it with ghee.

The two are then seen eating the roti and basmati rice with their hands.

“Is it chef Bill approved?” Mr Bernath asks.

“Very much,” Mr Gates says.

The video has been seen nearly 100,000 on Mr Bernath Instagram channel.

Among those who commented was Mr Modi, who said, with a smiling emoji: “There are many millet dishes too which you can try making.”

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.


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