Executive Chef- JW Marriott Maldives.
How should one kickstart the journey of becoming a professional chef?
the most important part of the journey is the attitude and finding the right mentor or course, education and knowledge are the foundations, inquisitiveness and passion are the catalyst and triggers
How do you retain the nutrients of a vegetable while cooking?
every ingredient has to be treated individually and needs to be added based on their cooking time, this ways you’ll avoid overcooking or undertaking which inversely has a correlation to its nutritional value
What do you do when diners don't appreciate your dish?
food as a whole is generic and it is important to understand the taste buds, if someone doesn’t like the dish it’s important to seek feedback and know their thoughts, if it’s a genuine feedback then we work on it
Is it good to dry herbs in the microwave before storing it?
drying herbs in the microwave is a popular home method that makes it convenient for use, ensure you cool the herbs thoroughly after drying before placing them in an air tight container
Can you share some cooking hacks for working women?
while there are umpteen hacks one thing that has always worked for me and my wife who also works is that we prepare the menus for the next week every Saturday( this includes all meals). post that we create air tight boxes with all the ingredients precut and prepared in the refrigerator, it’s takes sometime to prepare on a Sunday evening but will make your life easy for the rest of the week, you can choose to do this for any timeframe you wish to
Which dish do you like to cook the most?
I love indian food and you will find me preparing a lot of types of biryanis
For how many days can meat be frozen?
I professional kitchens meats can be frozen up till 2-3 months that is provided that they are stored below minus 18 to 21 degrees and under no circumstances they should be thawed and refrozen,
How do you select the dishes you want to put on your menu?
40% local favourites and 30% global favourites 30% dishes that show my skill as a chef
What is the best way to boil pasta?
simple way is 1 ratio of pasta to 4 ratios of water, add enough salt( more is ok), add any form of fat to the boiling liquid to avoid sticking, always cook to al Dante- to the bite, strain and run cold water of meant for later use
Which oil is the healthiest to cook with?
I personally prefer rice bran for cooking and olive, avocado or Argan oils for salads
Can you share a quick tip or trick that you learned in the kitchen?
during of my early days of my trainings I learned that adding vinegar while poaching eggs makes a world of difference to the creaminess of the yolk
Who is your culinary idol?
Chef Imtiaz Qureshi, Chef Madhu Krishnan, Chef Rene Redzepi, Chef Massimo Bottura
How to deal with criticism from head chefs?
if it is constructive feedback or criticism take it positively, if it’s negative criticism then seek for a candid one on one discussion and let your head chef know how you feel
Can a lumpy gravy be saved and re-cooked with?
try whisking the gravy, if it doesn’t work strain it either through a fine mesh strainer or a kitchen Muslin cloth
How can we find out if an egg is stale?
put it in a bowl of water, if it floats to the top it’s stale, if it sinks to the bottom it’s fresh
Do you cook for your family members or friends?
I do cook for my family and friends when time permits, they love my food especially the qormas and biryanis
Which butter is the best to consume?
I love Amul butter, I think it’s one of the best, if budget permits then Elle and vire is a fantastic brand
Which dish should one cook to impress someone?
the very thought of you trying to cook for someone should impress them, cook whatever you feel is their favourite or if you want to be fancy try making a quinoa chat with soya chips, it’s yumm
What is your go-to meal?
Kolkata style chicken Kathi roll
What is your favorite cuisine?
indian, thai and japanese
Which are recipe books should budding chefs refer to?
for budding chefs I would recommend Prashad by jiggs Kalra, dastarkhwan e awadh by sangeeta Bhatnagar
What are the most helpful cooking tools for quick cooking?
I personally prefer a nonstick pan, pressure cooker , microwave if you’re in a rush and don’t have time
What do you do in your spare time?
I read a lot of books and solo travel, I tend to just pick up my bag and go travel spontaneously without making any plans and let the travel guide me
How do you build innovative recipes?
any receipts should entice all the sensory organs and create a feeling of excitement when you take the first bite, once we understand that we can work around on various flavour combinations ranging from coffee crusted steaks to sauces made with dark chocolate and paired with chicken, this will only come through experience and it is also very important to understand that every dish on the menu has been rigourusly tested for weeks
Which culinary school do you recommend to budding chefs?
Culinary Academy of India- Hyderabad, that’s my college and I attribute a lot of growth to my teachers from that college
Which cookbooks are the best for beginners?
What's the most difficult dish that you have ever cooked?
How do you deal with monotony in cooking?
How do you see your job evolving in the future?
What motivated you to choose this career?
How was your experience with your first job?
How has your job evolved over the years?
What are the 3 things every successful chef must-have?
How do you not let success get the best of you?
when I feel ecstatic with my success I venture out to feed the street dogs, it helps me stay grounded and gives a purpose to my success, we all find a way to not let success get to our heads, this is my way of staying humble
What is your biggest concern at your job? How do you manage it?
How did you rise in your role as a chef, what career hacks can you share?
What role did your educational background play in your career?
Describe a typical day at work for you?
How to fix a salty dish?
How do you manage your subordinate.
it’s important to treat the associated with respect. lead by example by following practices that you expect them to follow for example not using mobiles in a meeting, listening rather than hearing, investing time in them by teaching them and grooming them, this way they tend to be more loyal and enjoy coming to work
How to fix overcooked pasta?
easiest way is to drain the hot water immediately and throw in some ice cold water or ice cubes, if this doesn’t help strain the pasta and keep it in the chiller for the starch to dry out, if it still doesn’t help try adding ingredients that’ll give a different texture like crunchiness and avoid over saucing
What keeps you going every day?
the very responsibility that I’m catering to a well travelled customer and giving him a fantastic meal experience and also the fact that a brigade of chefs are putting in their 100 percent in the kitchen under my guidance and trust
What is the key to handling a kitchen?
Everyone has a role to play and is key to a certain set of operations. this includes the buzz boys to the executive chef to the engineering teams that ensure all the equipment’s are in perfect working condition
How to fix a dish which has been over-sweetened?
if it’s a salad add tangier ingredients or fatty ingredients like orange wedges, avocados or olive oil etc, if it’s a hot dish add some lemon juice or dairy cream depending on what kind of fish you’re preparing, avoid salt at all costs
How do you manage to cook multiple dishes at once?
the most important step before the cooking even starts is the preparation, having cut and kept all your vegetables, getting all the pastes and blends ready, getting your spice boxes filled up, all cooking pans and pots with in a hand’s reach, these steps help speeded up the whole process, as a beginner it’s good to keep the list ready including the steps of cooking, light sound boring to create a list but it’ll make a worlds difference to your cooking experience