Turning disasters into delights

Turning disasters into delights

Funny scoop

Turning disasters into delights

Haven’t you been amazed by the madness on reality cooking shows and wondered what would happen if one step went wrong? Those exquisite dishes and desserts can get ruined, thanks to either a technological goofup or a small fault on the chef’s part. Culinary experts in the city share such experiences — some harrowing, some funny — that they had in their careers.

Chef Shajji Sha, an executive chef, narrates an incident when a client asked him and his team to make something out of watermelon cubes. “We had asked some trainees to chop the watermelon and they messed it up. We instantly used the watermelon pieces, which would otherwise had gone waste into a ‘watermelon celery shot’ and called it a health drink,” says Shajji. “The best part of this incident was that we used ice cubes as glasses, and this left the guests happy,” he adds.

There are times when chefs intend to create a particular flavour but ends up making a different one. Chef Karthik Swaminathan, who is into icecream development with an Italian firm, remembers trying to create a ‘walnut flavoured icecream’ once, but it turned out to be a ‘walnut brownie flavour’ instead. “This happened because the percentage of chocolate that was added was different. This  has happened again to me when I was trying to create a pistachio marzipan which was jelly-centred. So when the client tasted it, he  linked it to an Indian sweet — ‘pista katli’,” he narrates. 

There are times when the chefs have to satisfy the customer in the nick of time, even though the ingredients may not be there at that time. Chef Sanjiv Kumar, who is a Pan Asian cuisine specialist, says, “I remember the time when a guest had ordered for ‘sushi’ but the rice for it was too sticky. Thankfully, we had the particular rice that is used in ‘Teppanyaki’ cooking. I took the rice, put it into the microwave immediately, then cooled it under the fan.  All this took an additional 10 minutes,” he says.

Homebaker Kadambari Kohli says though she started off with minimal orders, she did have some hiccoughs. “A lady had placed an order with me for a particular cake and sent me images. I had told her earlier itself that it wouldn’t necessarily come out the way she had imagined as I was just a beginner. I showed her images of the work I had done. She was fine with it but when the cake was delivered, she was disappointed. However, on explaining, the client understood,” she says.

Imagine messing up a wedding cake just before the wedding?  Chef Mohammed Sameer Hussain, a pastry chef, recollects how once the effort of an entire day went waste because he and his team overlooked one detail.

 “It was a stressful day and there was a lot to do. A cake in white, gold and flowers was being made and we were taking care of the different elements. The tiers of the cake were ready and so were we for the big day.”

 But the team  left the cake in the chiller, which was a mistake. “Imagine our shock when we saw the sugar fallen on the cake. We had 8 am to 5 pm to redo the cake!” Sameer says it took a few minutes to get over the shock. Thankfully, the team did it though they were late by half-an-hour.
 “We scraped the frosting off and redid the cake. We reached just in time when the bride and groom walked in,” he adds. He says the appreciation they got made up for the stress. Indeed, all’s well that ends well!

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