Master chefs reveal secrets

INSIDE LIVES

Master chefs reveal secrets

When it is about the first year, be it anniversary or birthday, the digit makes the occassion special and food eventually gets associated with this celebration. Enjoying this occassion over drinks and meals, Delhiites are served with their favourite dishes by renowned chef’s across the City.

But it hardly crosses anybody’s mind that even the chef would have had such experiences.On the occassion of Metrolife’s first anniversary, the Chef’s who usually relent their recipes, share their memories of first year in their profession. The nascent stage of any individual leaves behind memories that one cherishes throughout their lives. For few, such moments start accumulating from the very first day.

“I still remember my first day,” shares Chef Manjit Gill, Corporate Chef ITC, who started his career with Oberoi group in 1974. “We used to be sent to the butcher’s shop. Incidently, I am a vegetarian and to see so much meat around me at that time was a nightmare. Others working in that area were casually enjoying their tea while butchering meat, which I simply could not digest,” says the renowned chef who later became accustomed to tasting non veg but is still a proud vegetarian.

“I remember having vomited when I had to beat egg for the first time. But like the senses of physically challenged become strong, similarly I practised persistently to make a non perfect vegetarian dish without tasting it.”

Chef Manjit still doesn’t take non-vegetarian but seems lucky to have escaped the wrath of his seniors unlike Chef Manish Mehrotra, Executive Chef at Indian Accent, who washed woks and grated 70 coconuts in a day for months but was taken to task for colouring ducks! Chef Manish says, “The lesson I have learnt is to experiment but at a small scale.” This learning came hard when, “As a new brain straight out of hotel management college, I thought if red colour is not available, I will mix two colours to be added for marination of ducks.

This was in 1996 when ducks used to be imported from China and were well-guarded due to their high price. But instead of red, the ducks came out as baby pink and the chef went mad at me as I had coloured all 20 ducks of two and a half kilo each!” Hilarious but a lesson indeed and so was it for Chef Kunal Kapoor, who was shaken beneath his skin.
“The first year was very wild but the incident that taught me the most is still fresh in my mind. After six months of kitchen training, I was supposed to present a three course meal to my senior chef.

I put in 10-12 hours to produce that meal which had a soup, a main course and a dessert. As I presented dahi ka shorba to my senior, the chef looked at me and the soup and threw it on the floor in front of me. While I was wondering what happened, he shouted at me ‘Where is the spoon’. Initially I thought he is out of his mind but it taught me that my job as a chef doesn’t end at just cooking but I am supposed to serve it properly to my guests.” Tough lesson but still Chef Kunal assures that his guests are comfortable.

And such concern was shown by Chef Sabyasachi (Saby) Gorai’s  senior who was impressed with his hard work. So becoming the Director of Kitchen, Olive Bar & Kitchen wasn’t easy for him. Chef Saby shares, “I worked for two shifts for 13 months which made me stand in front of my senior with red eyes in early morning.

He used to ask me to go back home but I kept pushing myself so as to gain maximum training experience. Since it used to rain heavily in Mumbai, I developed a skin infection which lead to high fever still I kept working. One day my senior chef called me and said ‘I am fed up of seeing you everyday in kitchen’ which made me think that he wants to fire me but he instead sent me on a paid holiday for 15 days which was not allowed yest got consented by him.”

Thus all incidents were not bad but the experiences remain close to these Chefs as their cherished moments of first year.   

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