I am from an era where parents wanted their children to either become a doctor or an Engineer and I wasn’t different. But on other side I wasn’t keen on doing it rather I wanted to do something “fatang” and different which no1 had done it in family.
My family use to have lot of get together’s and being from a gujju family food was always in abundance. Each family would get their own food and share the same with others. This food use to fascinate me a lot and finally that fascination evolved into profession .I pursued my hotel management from Anjuman I Islam and always had an dream of working in the kitchen at one of the Taj. Mumbaikar’s might not know other places but as soon as you say Taj everyone Knows it’s THE TAJ.
After lot of hard work and patience yes it was time to live my dream. I got through and was selected for management trainee program at Taj Lands End, Bandra. The job seemed very easy at start but trust me with time it just doubled in terms of physical workout as well as mental stress but it couldn’t break my will of becoming one of the successful chef in future. Everyday was a new experience for me, learning things which I never thought existed. One thing which all the hoteliers will agree with me, ” things which are taught at college are completely different to what we actually do in hotel”.
2 years down and I was completely a different person. keeping yourself calm in worst possible situation is what I mastered with time. My hard work, social life sacrifice and determination was soon recognised which placed me into different Job role, yes was promoted as chef de partie – a step closer to my goal. I started experimenting with lot of ingredients and soon started inventing my own recipes. The question was where to record? So one of my friend told me why dont u start a blog and post your recipes there which would benefit me in 2 ways, one it will stay there for future reference and second you might spread your branches longer. So I soon started noting down my recipes on a blog. And to my luck the response was immense when food was just reaching it’s peak.
I was always hungry about learning new things, that’s the reason I planned to move to another well known hospitality brand – Oberoi. My 3rd chapter started at Trident BKC on high notes as I got placed in Bottocino – an outlet which serves one of the best Italian spread. Taj helped me to create a strong base but Oberoi helped me to design my future over it. I started understanding how flavours play an important role, how 2 different ingredients are matched and how different cooking methods can enhance flavours. Understanding was followed by immense day and night practice which ensured that I master the art of flavours. Today I take pride in saying that I pass down all minute details that I have learnt to the new crop/batch of students. I do menu planing for various festivals, buffets and A la carte dishes. Guest interaction really helps me in understanding the behaviour of a particular guest and thus meet his/her expectations.
I started visiting restaurants with unique concepts to understand the different food trends in demand. And again had a thought of where to record my experiences, and the answer to it was my blog. Soon my reviews on zomato and Facebook got traction which encouraged lot of other restaurants to call me and share my feedback about the food they serve. I being a chef always had different angle towards a dish which would mostly include presentation, ingredient, flavour matching, texture and taste. À detailed feed back ensured that the owners would consider changes to make their food better. Soon with blogging my interest for photography also increased. I make people feel how the dish is with my photography which is not something which you are born with but it’s surely something which u have acquired with practice. Soon was awarded with the runnersup for best food photo blog by FBAI that is food blogger association of India which meant people had started recognizing me. Today I do food photography for various restaurants , write about food and share few interesting recipes.
My favourite ingredient has always been beetroot. Reason is simple it can be used it any form, it adds colour to the dish, it can be served in any course and is undoubtedly a healthy option. My signature dish is beetroot stack which is a simple dish but with lot of flavours. A baked dish made from boiled beetroot sliced (marinated with dil, honey, balsamic vinegar, chopped shallots, salt and pepper ) layered with Goat cheese and finally topped with fresh orange segment. Another one is beetroot carpaccio with feta cheese mousse, vanilla bean ice Cream, fennel and orange reduction, candied sugar and cookie crumble.y
Food in India has changed immensely but is still 10 years back to what other countries are doing. But trust me India is the biggest market segment which will soon be one of the biggest hunting ground for foreign companies. People have started moving out more frequently as compared to before and are ready to experiment things to a different level. The acceptance percentage of foreign trends have been increasing every day. The concept of restaurant chain is at its peak and has ensured 5 years down the line 5 star hotels will stop generating the amount of money they are generating today. About trends everyone is going back to basics where they started from -simple food, healthy and with immense flavours.