Know Your Chef
What inspired you to become a chef? Tell us your story!
I remember using our small kitchen stool in an effort to reach my mother's carefully kept ingredients, on the kitchen platform. I was not even old enough to reach the condiments kept out of my reach, at this point, but I was already experiencing a natural pull towards cooking. I come from a family of food lovers and with an awesome grandfather who has a penchant for cooking different cuisines and recipes. Spending time with him was just a thrill, as he thoroughly enjoyed what he did and this definitely rubbed off on me. He was my first ever role model and I was inspired to cook at home. I remember this is how my cooking journey started and I consider myself really lucky to have experienced that.
Which celebrity chefs do you admire the most?
Julia Child has single handedly changed the way Americans eat. She helped an entire generation move from canned frozen food to fresh homemade meals. Her style is both easy and thorough.
What entertains you?
My current favourite movie is Joy which stars Jennifer Lawrence. It’s an inspirational portrayal of a woman named Joy Mangano, who overcame her personal obstacles and became a self made millionaire.
Do you like to travel? What are your favorite travel destinations?
Last year I ate the juiciest apple of my life in Himachal Pradesh. It is the most beautiful place I have been to so far. This year I wish to see the natural tree root bridges in Meghalaya. India has a long list of national treasures spread across the country and I want to experience each one of them.
Have you tried food from Holachef? How was your experience?
Everytime I miss Andhra food, I inevitably order chef Ramani’s meals. She is from my home town, so her food makes me feel closer to the place I grew up in. Also, Chef Sonica Khanna has me hooked onto her authentic home cooked Punjabi meals.
Which dishes do you love to cook and why?
I am currently feeding myself and my family with a lot of freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juices. I personally love the taste of vegetables and fruits in their raw form. Their natural and fresh taste has amazed me since childhood. No cooking method, no spice, no condiment can come closer to nature.
A cooking tip that you always follow.
Here are some basic rules of cooking:
Make sure salt is added in the right amounts
Always taste your dish at each important step of the cooking process
What's your favorite kitchen tool?
The meat cleaver that I use at Holachef is my favourite at the moment. What I like about it is its versatility. I can use it for chopping or for certain types of cutting.
If you weren't a chef, or in the food business, what would you be?
Before I started cooking professionally, I was working as an analyst at a bank. I probably would have continued in the same line of work, till I retired.
When it comes to food and cooking, what is your greatest achievement to date?
Serving hundreds of portions of food pan Mumbai, that too on a daily basis, is an achievement I am proud of. I could have never imagined this when I started as a home chef.
What is that one ingredient you cannot cook without?
Potato has to be my favourite ingredient. It goes into most of my dishes.
Someone famous you would like to cook for?
I don’t know about famous, but someone important I would like to cook for, more often, is my husband. Cooking for him and my kids regularly would make me really happy.
What would one expect to find in your refrigerator?
Fresh ginger, garlic, preserved fruits including marmalade and lots and lots of desserts.
Which quality should a person definitely possess in order to become a professional chef?
A strong mind is required to handle your job well. This is the only way you can prepare a meal to remember - every time. Providing a memorable meal to your customer has to be something that you are aiming for, when you start cooking.