BENGALURU: When are you happiest at work?
I am happiest at work when my guests are content and I am being able to surpass their expectations with all-round hospitality.
What trends are you noticing regarding wine and food pairings?
Food and wine pairings allow guests to feel like they are making an informed selection that enables them to make a choice that fits their own unique tastes. Over the years, colourful combinations have lit up everywhere and hoteliers are constantly trying to include an expertly crafted food and wine pairing aimed at improving the atmosphere and pleasing the palate. However, today beer pairings have become the next big thing. Especially for the millennial population, beer is a great match for food because of the complexity of its flavours.
What was your biggest disappointment as a chef?
I believe that each guest should be treated the way you wish to be treated when the tables are turned. Hence, the biggest disappointment for me as a chef is when I do not feel welcome at a restaurant.
What do you always avoid ordering on a menu?
I don’t think there is anything specific I avoid ordering from a restaurant’s menu. In fact, it is difficult to choose one dish over other. However, at the same time, it’s all about where I am dining. For instance, I won’t order sea-food in a country-side restaurant or vice versa.
Of the dishes you prepare, which one would you never eat yourself? Why?
I have a personal mantra, never serve food you wouldn’t eat yourself! However, I am allergic to pineapples. So, you will never catch me eating Lemon carpaccio with lemon basil sorbet.
Which is your favourite restaurant? What would you prefer to eat there?
Laem Charoen Seafood Restaurant in Bangkok is definitely my favourite restaurant. The dish is extremely popular amongst locals and foreigner alike.
Describe one incident when you messed up a recipe real bad?
There is this one particular incident that remains crystal clear in my mind. I had to prepare a gluten free chocolate cake for a very special guest. We were not aware, but one of my teammates had replaced the sugar box with salt. The entire dessert was prepared using salt! Although the presentation of the dish was outstanding, the guest left the place quite disheartened with the overall experience. After this incident, I prefer tasting anything and everything that goes from my kitchen.
What is the best recent food trend?
Whole-wheat pizza without yeast with 48 hours of levitation. Who doesn’t like a healthy whole wheat pizza with a crust that comes out soft on the inside and crisp on the outside? Being in the business for quite some time now, I have seen this trend catching up real fast in the last few years.
– Marouane Rahali, Head Chef - Alto Vino, Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield