1) Your earliest memories of food?
In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “There is no love more sincere than the love of food.” Lin Yutang, a Chinese philosopher, tells us that “Patriotism is the love of the dishes of our childhood.” Yes, the dishes of our childhood stay with us forever. The first thing I ever remember eating was sugar candy when I was two, maybe three, as a special treat — my parents let me eat a cloud of spun sugar that was easily the size of my own head — this is the memory I can recall which even today brings a smile to my face.
2) Has there ever been a dish you tried at a fancy restaurant that tasted really funny when you prepared it at home?
Oh yes! Earlier in the days, I once made Chicken Cordon Bleu with Mushroom Ragout which my wife liked – however when I made it at home, it did not come out as well.
3) If you had 15 minutes to whip up one cuisine, which one would it be?
I would any day like cooking anything French.
4) Your ultimate comfort food
I am big fan of classic French cuisine, which is my comfort food as well.
5) With so many renowned chefs being men, do you believe men make better chefs than women?
Gender has nothing to do with whether you are a brilliant or a successful chef. Interest, dedication, open to learning in any profession makes you successful.
6) Tell us a bit about your journey.
In 2004, a young student of 22, I was studying hard to be a part of the Computer Hardware Industry in Chennai. Like most students I shared a room with a friend who worked as a Trainee Commi Chef at the Taj Coromandel who fascinated me whenever I watched my friend whip up different kinds of dishes. This fascination soon turned into avid interest and eventually led to me giving up on computer hardware and joining the catering course at IHM Chennai. After rigorous training and an internship I got my first break in The Park Plaza, Mumbai as a Commi 2 in July 2005, winning the best employee award, and thus being promoted within six months to be a garde manger of the Cold Kitchen, handling Continental dishes and salads. I got an opportunity with a renowned cruise line. At one time, I handled cooking for over 4,000 people!
After being out of India for more than a decade, in 2015, I returned to be with my family, with a stint at a leading Italian restaurant in Bengaluru, doing what I did best. The stint there was short as I joined Eatfresh where now I am responsible for creating the menu to serving exotic recipes.
7) Have you observed any stark difference in the gourmet culture abroad as compared to India?
Yes, sadly there are a few things where we need to improve and work on. They are:
1) Scheduled working hours
2) Structure in day to day operations
3) Hygiene and cleanliness
4) Safety procedures
5) Education / knowledge about food
— As told to Pooja Prabhan...