We don’t come from a culture where we thank your mothers who sweat it out in the kitchen to make that delicious food for us every single day. I don’t even remember 5 or 10 years back that I ever asked in a restaurant or a hotel that the chef was who made the delectable dishes that were brought on our tables. But, due to the changing norms of food industry, the tradition is changing and for good.
Nishant Choubey, Executive Chef Dusit Devrana has seen this trend of common people wanting to meet him and keen on trying his recommendations. He likes the fact that the food experience these days is more interactive. On our recent visit to the 5 star luxurious property, we had a chance to chit chat with this 29 year old young and enthusiastic Chef over a scrumptious Sunday Champagne Brunch.
Career: Having done his culinary graduation from IHM Bhopal in 2002, he immediately got an opportunity to work at the Raj Vilas Jaipur and worked there for 2 years, knowing the fact that the pilgrims of the hotels are the the Taj and Oberoi Hotel villas. Then he grabbed the opportunity to work at the Taj Vizac for 2 years. Wanting to explore the world cuisine more, he then worked at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai, and in the opening team of Madinat Jumeirah. Wanting to do something for his own country, he came back to India after 4 years and the zeal to learn something more and prove himself in his culinary skills made him joined hands with Chef Sabby and they worked together to make the Olive Mehrauli a big success. Talking highly about AD singh, he stuck around with Olive group for Olive Beach and Ai for quite some years and loved the experience. Now working with Dusit Devrana for almost 3 years, he has well established a name for himself.
The expertise:Proud to be one of the chefs from the 6 chefs selected from all over world to train at the John Folse culinary Institute of America in Louisiana, modern cuisine(New world cuisine as he likes to call it) was what interested him the most. The thought of inculcating one or two different ingredients in the traditional dish was what he learnt and is always fascinated for. And we saw a glimpse of it, when what came on the table was paneer tikka with a stuffing of orange marmalade. The sweetness of the jam brought down the bland paneer and the soft juicy bites really danced on our tongues with joy. Not a fan of fusion dishes, or molecular gastronomy, he likes to maintain the traditional method of cooking and serve fresh ingredients on the plate, so to say he loves greens as compared to the canned or chemical stuff.
The person: Well, you rarely meet people who are so well established and have a negative “Know-it-all” attitude. Nishant, we felt is one such person who is humble and still has enthusiasm about learning and experimenting with different palates. We liked the fact that he feels gaining knowledge is never ending process. Talking about all his hard work and efforts, he advises the students wanting to make a career in this beautiful field the same as, “New pass outs these days look for good pay packages, but I would suggest them not to run behind money, instead work hard on learning and growing your expertise for long term”.
His favourite food:Though his favourite is western cuisine and his forte is Italian cuisine, since he has worked with a lot of European cuisine restaurant, his 3 am dish would be Rohu fish curry with mustard and rice. He loves Bengali cuisine and also enjoys the Laal saag (Red spinach) cooked with potato served with paratha. Not having so much of a sweet tooth, he also loves gorging pork belly.
His inspiration:He follows Chef Thomas Keller’s way of cooking, presentation and menu designing and the whole character on him on food developed when he visited Thomas’s restaurant in New York called Per Se where they serve a 18 course tasting menu.
His work environment: He likes to keep a small menu to make sure to give the best quality to the guests. Hiring people in the young age group who want to prove their foot in this world, he enjoys exchanging ideas with his colleagues and staff and feels efficiency comes from freedom. Bad attitude kills one’s growth and he stresses on the fact that no one speaks bad language in his kitchen. He feels any hotel/restaurant kitchen is a part of team work than individual. That itself says, he encourages his staff to experiment, google or learn about different cuisines than just be robot-employees. “Good working atmosphere brings out a lot of ability and efficiency than being bossy”, is his mantra and we absolutely loved it.
We want to wish this super dynamic personality a success in whatever future brings in for him, and hope his “secret future plans” take action soon.
Picture Courtesy : Chef Nishant Choubey