Chef Shaun Kenworthy has worked with Restaurant like Bibendum, Quaglino’s, The Great Eastern Hotel in London, Alcazar in Paris, Bern’s in Stockholm and Gustavino’s in New York beforing moving to India in 2000. Thw British chef was working with The Park Hotel when he fell in love with Pinky, an artist and former model in Calcutta, and married her. And, till then India had become his second home. Talking to Restaurant India, Chef Shaun unfolds his culinary story.
If you look at India in last four years, there have been some enormous changes. Looking at Delhi few years back, it was way behind Mumbai and Bengaluru in eating out culture. But, in the last two years the city has welcomed over 500 restaurants. . I think that’s what we are looking at and the growth is huge.
Hospitality as career
Hospitality overall is growing extensively. Creating great programme, English Speaking and grooming the talent is what Indian hospitality industry is focusing on. IIHM has been in the education sector for the last 25 years and I have been involved with them for last 11 years and it was 7 years back that we wanted to create a platform for youngsters who can compete with each other at national level. And, a lot of people are taking hospitality as career with fascination from TV shows, which are promoting the industry.
His culinary stint
I started my culinary journey as a child with my mother and Grandma in the kitchen. Then, I started as a 14-year-old part-time chef for pocket money. Today, I cook, consults, write popular food and travel columns, keeping myself firmly on the learning curve. I began my Indian journey in 2000, when Indian taste buds were witnessing international cuisines.
Through a series of prestigious assignments in some of the most celebrated kitchens of India, I introduced the ethereal charms of European desserts, gradually whipping individualistic magic in the main courses. When "fusion" was de rigueur, I stirred the ladle against contemporary cooking etiquette.
American V/S Indian food
It is completely different. I think there are major differences in each cooking styles globally. Western believes in pan cooking, grilling, roasting and steaming. However, Indians love kadahi cooking, tandoor etc.
His love for food
Good food is my favourite food. I like Delhi food, and am bit fascinated with Kashmiri food which has multiple flavours in it.
Experimenting with Restaurant biz
I had three restaurants and all of them have closed now. I have never made money opening restaurant because one needs to be much more than a chef. And, I think am not the best person to run the business. Bakery in the UK, couple of cookeries in Calcutta, more than 50 consulted products in India. And, I think I can be a good chef and not restaurateurs.
I think casual dining is here to stay. India is a country where people love to taste many different things. I would love to see North African foods, Korean foods making a way to Indian market. And, Indians love some good, hearty flavours. Online food business is going to rise, more QSR or the kiosk.
And, suddenly the Indian chefs are coming to the limelight.