Chef Michael Swamy has travelled across world and is well known for his cookery books and Food Photography. In an exclusive interaction with Restaurant India, he shares his experience of being a chef, food consultant and a food stylist.
How is cuisine in India taking a new edge?
Cuisine in India is moving towards progressive Indian cuisine trend. Chefs and restaurateurs are today focusing more on food plating, food techniques and more creative cuisine. Today, it is very important to involve senses and deliver new experiences to people. You need to take them out of restaurants to understand the culture and cuisine of this country. Chefs like me are now moving from traditional restaurants. In this regard, we have associated with Jungle Retreat, where we are taking people to the cuisine and not cuisine to people.
What are the things that you incorporate as a chef in your menu?
I focus on providing authentic food at my restaurant, providing a good one month of training to my staff especially the kitchen staff so that they bring best of their experience.
Being a chef how difficult/ easy for you to manage a restaurant?
It is very difficult to operate a restaurant by being a chef because you need to come out of the certain area at the same time you have to handle the kitchen also. So, handling both the jobs at the same time gets tougher. A restaurateur needs to balance everything from grooming the staff to managing the accounts to shop for the essential ingredients. And I find these things very difficult to manage.
How the tastes differ from city to city talking about Delhi to Mumbai?
I think taste mainly differs due to the quality of water, the ingredient found in the region and the attitude of the people towards a particular choice or eating habits. A Mumbaikar likes very hot and spicy food and are open to experiment but still Delhiites prefer North Indian food over others.
What are the topmost strategies that you apply in delivering a high class food in a contemporary ambience?
Quality ingredients, good marketing practices and serving value for money food are the topmost strategy that I apply in catering to my customer.
Your restaurants are known for serving South east and East Asian cuisine. How do you maintain the authenticity of the cuisine?
To serve the authentic cuisine at my restaurant I focus on using the right kind of ingredients sourced from different South East and East Asian countries like Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.
What according to you is the latest food trend and what can we see in the years to come?
North American cuisine is the latest trend in India as it is easy to cook and eat. However, Norwegian, Swedish and South American foods are on their way coming to India.
You have handled the team for MasterChef India. How do you train the contestant and judges for the same?
We groom the contestants on the types of cuisine, the techniques of cooking and presenting the food at the show. As a food Stylist, I also train them how to make the food appealing to the senses and presentable to the customers and the judges.