CHENNAI: I t’s been a long and wonderful journey with food, making a lot of people happy. There are a lot of things in the world that you might want to buy at a high price whereas food brings joy and happiness to everyone, so I have really been blessed to have worked in such an industry. I’ve had the opportunity to work in several cities including Visakhapatnam, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, and Goa, which brought a lot of culinary exposure. This helped me get clarity on the palatability and expectations of people.
My area of specialty is Western cuisine, mostly Mediterranean and Italian. However have good understanding of Southern and North Indian as well. Having been part of several groups I’ve also learnt Oriental and Thai cuisine.
I did not really have a mentor. We couldn’t learn through trial and error because the food had to be perfect.
Many things I learned myself. I happened to buy a lot of books and magazines related to food and read them to incorporate certain elements. It was mostly like R&D. This is the one thing I followed religiously for the last ten years and it is paying back. In turn I definitely pay attention to people under me.
I train them and nurture the team I have because cuisine is the one thing you can build up over a period, but building a relationship with the team and inculcating proactiveness is also important. If there is a problem with a guest, we need to be proactive in dealing with them so that they leave with a smile on their face. Creativity is also important because there are so many brands, so many kitchens, and to stand apart from the others is important.
I have tried fusion food, but at the moment I believe it should be simple, fresh and straight. Because I believe there are too many commercial elements in today’s cuisine, and these elements are missing. If you don’t understand all the elements in the fusion dish, my fusion can be confusion for you! So I do use it, but in certain segments.
I like pasta and grilled items myself. Grilling looks simple, but as a meat lover, there’s certain perfection to it that I love. To aspiring chefs, I would say that patience and passion, discipline and commitment are
the non-technical qualities to succeed; these are actually true across all fields.