An Expat Chef at Hand

If it isn’t quite what the guest ordered, so what’s the value addition? What started as an exception 10 years ago is now the norm. Almost every large hotel in the metros and in popular holiday destinations today has at least one expatriate chef in the kitchen. Some exist in executive capacities: they do minimal…

The Ethnic And The Rustic

Vishalla, evolved out of a passionate desire to live away from urban centres, is a little haven outside Ahmedabad. The rustic surroundings of this complex house an ethnic restaurant, a utensils museum and a few handicrafts shops. An evening here is a memorable experience. The ethnic boom of the 1980s spawned a crop of furniture,…

Ranveer Brar

For the sixteen or so years that I have known Chef Ranveer Brar, I have always exhorted him to go in for plastic surgery. As soon as his contours are re-moulded to incorporate a pot-belly and his eyes have acquired bags underneath them, he will be taken seriously as a chef. Until then, he will…

The Sim-ple Things in Life

I’ve always wondered exactly what an expatriate chef de cuisine does in his kitchen. Does he himself cook? Really? Every order? And here we are talking about 200 orders per day, so is it humanly possible? Or does he stand languidly by, rapping the occasional knuckle, while his beleagured team sweats it out at the…

The Elite Club of Chefs des Chefs

In the days before Google burst upon the scene, I used to have a Dutch friend who was the second violinist in the National Philharmonic Orchestra in The Hague. He once recounted a hilarious story of an elderly Russian conductor who came to conduct a concert with the Dutch orchestra and needed to rehearse for…

Chef Raymond Sim

The infamous cuisine known variously as Indian-Chinese or Sino-Ludhianvi is not alone in the world. It is but part of a continuum that extends all over the world, except in China itself. Chinese cuisine is not only the most popular choice worldwide, but has the inbuilt capacity to adapt itself to local tastes. Don’t believe…

Chef Raymond Sim – Crab Tales

It´s the norm that most hotels have expatriate chefs that arrive on two-year contracts. Some contracts are renewed once, which means that the chef stays with the hotel for four years. So, what would you say about a chef who has been with one hotel for an astonishing 15 years? That chef is Raymond Sim…

Manish Mehrotra goes to Tel Aviv

Mustard oil Haakh Jaggery Banarasi aloo papad Sabudana papad Kolhapuri masala Whole aamchur Any guesses what these ingredients could be doing in Chef Manish Mehrotra’s diminutive office at Indian Accent? They’re getting ready to be shipped to Tel Aviv where Mehrotra is getting set to participate in a food festival. As festivals go, this one…

The Austerity of Maharashtrian Food

Don’t underestimate Chef Prakash Pawaskar of Trident, Nariman Point, Mumbai. In the outwardly unassuming Executive Sous Chef lurks a connoisseur of the cuisine of Maharashtra in all its Spartan glory. Pawaskar’s links with the food of his home state go back to the time of Shivaji as a matter of fact: his father-in-law, from the…

The Kashmir Book Shop

The Kashmir Book Shop In the heyday of tourism in Kashmir, books were the last thing that visitors thought of buying. The 1970s and ‘80s were when silk carpets and woollen shawls constituted the main shopping of the tens of thousands of tourists that holidayed in the Valley. So, the two bookshops that stood opposite…