Like everyone else in the world, the spread of the COVID- 19 pandemic spoiled a lot of plans for chef Akanksha Dean. She was all set to go to Spain to begin a Masters in culinary arts and hotel management when COVID-19 began to spread around the planet. That being said though, Akanksha already has an enviable pedigree in all things dining related.
The daughter of celebrated chef Bakshish Dean and lifestyle columnist and photographer Rupali Dean, in 2017, Akanksha beame the first Indian to train at Osteria Francescana, a three-Michelin-star restaurant based in Modena, Italy, which is considered one of the best restaurants in the world.
While there, she worked closely under the tutelage of its owner, legendary Italian chef Massimo Bottura, whom she says is “a genius and a rockstar.” “Being a woman in the kitchen is always hard, and because of my parents I’ve worked under chefs and managers who would say that whatever I’ve gotten has been because of their influence. That just makes me more determined to prove that I’ve got necessary chops, pun totally intended,” she says, with a chuckle.
A graduate of the Institute of Hotel Management-Aurangabad, Akanksha is an old hand at the kitchen, having first aproned up as a child of six, when she demanded to be allowed to help her father in the home kitchen. “My father has been my inspiration, both inside and outside the kitchen. From his food to the way he is with other people to the way he approaches work, he has taught me so much,” shares the 24-year-old.
After college, Akanksha became one of the youngest chef managers in Delhi-NCR, when she joined Imperfecto SHOR cafewhere she was lucky to work under another inspiring woman chef, Nuria Rodriguez Parra. At the moment, with her study plans on the back burner and with most restaurants in the city still not open for business, Akanksha is perfecting her jhaadu-pocha skills, spending time with her parents and keeping up her culinary learning whether it’s by watching food shows and documentaries to practicing her skills in the home kitchen, with her parents being her culinary guinea pigs