My journey towards becoming JW Marriott Bengaluru’s executive chef began with being placed as a hot kitchen management trainee at a renowned hotel in Mumbai. While in training, I underwent instruction across all areas of the kitchen, but found my true calling in the bakery, and was lucky to have found employment in the area when I graduated. As a pastry chef, I committed my time to not just perfecting the ropes of the game, but also honing a spirit dedicated to innovation on the ingredients, textures and form front.
The hotel I was at, when I began my career in the 90s, used to import consignments of perishables from other countries every week, and the ingredient I stumbled upon and found very novel at this time was the
Kumquat is a small, seedless, citrus fruit that resembles oranges on the inside and out. It is often mistaken for a ‘baby Orange,’ and mostly found in parts of Holland, Germany, Korea, Middle East, Japan and the US, among others.
I discovered the Kumquat back in the 90s when it was still a very rare and exotic ingredient in India. The sweet rind and the acidic, sour flesh of the Kumquat cast a certain spell on me while I was young, beginning a romance that continues to this day.
On a day you’re feeling particularly adventurous, Kumquat eaten raw and by itself will bring you an incredible shock of bittersweet, acid induced freshness. Kumquat added to regular leafy salads, asparagus, and other greens can make what is often considered a ‘boring and healthy’ course come alive on the palate.
My favourite use of the Kumquat in non-desserts, however, is when it is diced and added to Salsa (additionally flavoured with salt and lemon) complementing orangeCointreau marinated grilled chicken.
Kumquat is still seen as the norm for desserts, and has never quite made it to sides or the main course. The best recipes are created when a keen sense of flavour meets the nerve to experiment.
Chef Daniel Koshy, executive chef, JW Marriott Hotel