Monday, July 03, 2017

An afternoon with a Chef who makes things with Pumpkin

Yesterday was a Sunday. I decided that I needed to interview someone who's as passionate about food as I am. I landed up at Herbs n Spices. I know Chef and Restauranteur Paddy from far back. His background quickly then. Hotel Management from the Hyderabad IHM. A good career in the Taj group and with cruisers doing what he still does, cooking awesome food. Then, he with a friend, decided to set up a restaurant here in Whitefield, which back in 2000 was a sleepy village. He's seen restaurants come and go. He's still at it in the town that's Whitefield. We spoke about a lot of things. Chefs and their menus: We discussed the shallow menus being trotted out by all restaurants. Soups. Starters. Sandwiches and Burgers. Pizzas. Pastas. Indian. Italian. Chinese. An odd Mexican or Thai. Desserts high on cheese and chocolate. We then came to what he is doing different. I saw the authenticity he presents in his Continental and Indian items. We discussed sauces. I understood his passion for an original jerk sauce or an original provencale sauce. I got what he meant when he said every sauce is not creamy and cheesy. How a pasta Aglio Olio needs to be made. How olive oil is integral to authentic pizza and why he does not do pizzas at all because guests are so used to the mass branded cheesy pizzas. We shared some good thoughts on just enough sauce in pastas and nice herbs to taste. Why menus should change: Bangalore restaurants are faking it. Most of the time. There isn't much variety. Only derivatives. It's very silly. Tequila Chicken as developed by him seems to have gone to many a restaurant including a neighborhood one and he's had to change the menu. But it's good he changed. Because he could and other chefs faking it cannot. Restaurant owners should know food: We discussed the farce of having a lot of cuisines on menu. Chicken boiled and frozen in the freezer and adapting to all cuisines. Even a chicken sandwich in a very upmarket place tastes like unfrozen rubber that's leaking water. It's horrible, we agreed. He stocks for his menu. He buys fresh. He also makes food not available when it runs out. That way his Kebabs and Roasted Pumpkin soups are forever fresh and droolworthy. Desserts and their importance in menus: The main course needs to be just enough and well priced so that the guest can order a dessert. That's important for satisfaction and he tries that. And succeeds most if the time. On cue, a guest orders for one Gajar Halwa ensemble and follows that quickly with two more at the same table. I gape. That's a classy restaurant. Book it. And go ahead and enjoy. 154, Whitefield Main Road. Opposite Vijaya Bank. Whitefield 9945 420 242 12 noon to 3 pm 7 pm to 11 pm Pic: Chef Paddy with a guest

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