Of course, there are plenty of those times when Chef de Cuisine Chef Sujan S at the Olive Qutub underestimates his strengths. But everytime the man is challenged to do something different, his sharp sense of competition awakens his casual judgments, propelling him to prove himself wrong. Recently, the challenge came in the form of a new summer menu that he was asked to introduce at the restaurant. It had to be fresh, appealing and different. Having heard the same brief far too many times in the past, he now understands its meaning well. In a few days, all his knowledge would be packaged in the form of dishes created with an abundance of summer produce such as heirloom tomatoes, heirloom raddish, summer squash, salad, bitter greens such as endives, kale, sorrel and the spicy mizuna mustard leaves, apricot, peach, plum, avocado, chilli peppers and more. “We’ve used a lot of aromatic herbs and fresh palm hearts. We also pickle a lot of vegetables during the summer time to induce a citric and tangy flavour,” says Sujan, who has incorporated a lot of yellow in his food this year. Most of the dishes are in the hues of yellow and orange—from Seasonal Squash, Medallion of Salmon to Vanilla and Mango Semi-Fredo—all repersent the vibrancy of the season.
Summer time for the chef, he tell us, is the best time to explore sweet and sour flavour. He personally likes his food light but flavourful at the same time. Clean flavours, high on citric notes are great for him. Sour and citrus is also new trend in world food today, he shares with us. “For our salads we use a lot of vinaigrettes with the infusion of fresh and aromatic herbs. From Tarragon Mimosa Vinaigrette (made of fresh orange juice, zest, champagne vinegar and fresh tarragon sprigs), water vinaigrette (white balsamic is the main ingredient) to fresh and younger cheese such as burrata, home made ricotta, young goat cheese, we like to keep things light for the summer.” A fresh stock of tuna comes from the Andamans and scallop and octopus from Japan, lamb from New Zealand and White asparagus from Holland. Poultry such as duck, chicken and quail eggs, duck eggs are sourced from local farms across the country.
For a man who always had a keen eye for fashion and wanted to pursue it as a career, it amazes him how he’s creating food instead of fashion today. “Earlier I used to eat a lot and now I make people eat a lot,” he says laughing.
Along with food, some interesting summers drinks are also being offered by him. A refreshing tomato and Gooseberry Gazpacho, and Chilled Tomato Consomme awaits you. There is a lot more too but this is what Sujan recommends. There’s also a selection of diary free desserts.
Guess things at Olive Qutub seem to be really heating up.