Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Power of Taste

Nearly every cook’s primary intent is to satiate others thereby satisfying his own desire to make them happy. In the process however, he must sacrifice the hunger to consume his own creation.

This is perhaps the biggest irony of cooking. That the cook seldom has the appetite to eat what he has just prepared. The more difficult, prolonged or meticulous the cooking, the lesser is the appetite. This is the cook’s curse of selfless selfishness.

Nevertheless, professional chefs need to believe in the power of tasting during the cooking process as often as is needed or is possible. Something as simple as a plate of pasta can taste completely different even when made by the same cook during the same night. The difference between a good dish and a great one could be just a pinch of salt. So it's important to taste, taste, and yes you guessed it, taste again.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Brave New Foods : Excerpts from my Culinary Workshop at Kala Ghoda Fest 2013

"How many of you are guilty of ordering the same dishes over and over again at the favorite restaurants that you frequent?"

This was the opening line at the culinary workshop I conducted as part of the Kala Ghoda Fest on 8th February this year. Out of a crowd of about 100 people, only a handful refrained from raising their hands as if to validate their status in society as true foodies. I wasn’t surprised. As a chef who stands behind the kitchen doors of a fine dining Mediterranean restaurant night in and night out, I am well aware that even with the sophisticated clientele that we get, an appetite for something new is a rarity.

Pan Seared Foie Gras with Homemade Brioche and Spiced Strawberry Compote 
So when the Kala Ghoda Fest organizers informed me that the central theme for this year is 'Appetite for Change', I decided immediately to use it as a platform to make my plea to the public at large—and with this blog post, to you as well.

Brave new foods.

Yes, that’s my plea. Brave in this context is a verb and not an adjective. By which I mean that I am not referring to the food being adventurous but making an appeal for customers to be willing to try something different.

The mantra I suggest for this exercise is--“I will always try something at least twice.”