For a chef who loves to always experiment with food and learn new food techniques, there is no greater fortune than working on a cruise ship. In that sense, Chef Siva Gurunathan has been having the best of times for the most part of his career. The executive chef of Carnival Cruise, one of the largest cruise lines in the world, he tries to visit the finest restaurants in the world to upgrade his knowledge. “I really want to explore myself and travel across the world. There is no compromise on quality of food. I visit different markets and select the right quality items. I often try different foods and sometimes need to research on the taste as the culture and taste habits across the globe are different. And you know, learning is a never-ending process and I am constantly working to explore new tastes,” he says.
Chef Siva was inspired from his mother who loved to try new dishes. After graduating from the Institute of Hotel Management in Thiruvananthapuram, he worked with many finest hotels in Mumbai and Bengaluru for seven years. Since joining Carnival in 2011 as Demi Chef, he has travelled all over the world. Working on a cruise ship has instilled in him a passion for fresh ingredients and local cuisine from the ports he visits.
“Every day is different in sea and ports with many new challenges; therefore, I meet with all my chefs every morning. We make a plan of action for the day; prior to every meal service I pass by all galleys, talk with the head chefs, observe work flow, and of course, taste many dishes as part of quality control. And, that is certainly a reason why I am not skinny!” he laughs.
What is his favourite item on Carnival menu, we ask. “There are many, each dish has been carefully selected.” But, what he loves to cook most is fish curry and tapioca. “Nothing can’t beat that. I hardly go to any hotels here,” he says. However, his family loves his biriyani best.
What does he like to do when he’s not working? “Spending time with my three boys; the eldest one, Pavan, is 13 and the younger ones, Aarush and Aarav, are three and half years old. I have a small house at Pallichal. My wife, Jaya, is a homemaker. My mom and my two sisters are living with us. My family is always connected to me, thanks to technology.”
Even handling knife is an art. Everyday a lot of food items are to be prepared for the guest and crew, but still Chef Siva is very much enthusiastic to explore new dishes. Somewhere on his mind, he plans to start a venture in Thiruvananthapuram and let’s hope to taste his dishes soon.