BENGALURU: What is your most favourite ingredient to work with?
My favourite ingredient would be coriander, since it’s a versatile ingredient and can change the look and feel of any dish.
Do you also cook at home? If no, why?
No. At home, I prefer to eat food that is either cooked by my mother or my wife. After all, there is nothing more satisfying than having simple home-cooked food.
Do you give cooking tips to your mother and/ or wife? How do they react?
I give tips very rarely and only when I am nagged into it by my mom, wife or mother-in-law. They are now used to not getting any tips from me and figure out what they need to know from Google or YouTube.
What are your hobbies, apart from cooking?
I enjoy reading and playing with my two-and-a-half-year old daughter whenever I get some free time.
Do you watch cooking shows/ reality shows? If yes, which shows and contestants are your favourites?
I hardly get time to watch TV and if I do, I like MasterChef Australia. The show is made very well and there are a lot of tips and tricks that we as seasoned chefs can also learn.
What is your family’s most favourite dish that you prepare?
My family loves dal tadka and a special boiled egg bhurji prepared by me.
If it were your last day on earth, where and what would you love to eat?
A well-cooked mutton biryani, because believe me when I say, 90 per cent of the biryani you get to eat is not the way it’s supposed to be.
What’s been your worst/funniest kitchen incident?
One of the funniest incidents that made me realise the importance of effective communication was when I had asked an industrial trainee to strain a pot of stock that had been simmering for a good 48 hours. The guy didn’t understand what I meant when I told him to strain, all I got back was a pan full of bones and the stock was literally strained out (in the drain).
-- Chef Neelabh Sahay, Executive Chef, Novotel Hotel & Residences