Having been exposed to the myriad arts of cooking, photography and writing from a very young age, Chef Michael Swamy goes beyond being just a chef. The experience coupled with his culinary expertise has enabled Michael to take Food Styling & Photography in India to a new level of refinement and global appeal. His own cooking style has further evolved into Progressive Indian cuisine’s bringing together the best of classic French culinary techniques and traditional Indian flavours. In an interaction with Restaurant India he shares some untold stories. Here are the excerpts:
Taking Customer’s on a Foodlicious Journey
Earlier it was very perfectionery; one went to a restaurant for birth day party and celebrations of sorts. But today’s day and age they want something more. They want the experience from right they entered into a restaurant. Especially in chef owned restaurants we are trying to guide them at the entrance to taking them on the experience right through the restaurant explaining the decor, crockery, the cutlery. For instance, in my restaurant we have got very high end crockery and when people see that kind of crockery they know that they are eating at a very niche place and irrespective of the budget they want the experience. Chefs do their own dishes and creativity and when you do your own creativity it is very essential to explain it to the guest. Taking the guest on a journey, an experience is very important because customers should know what’s coming on its plate. And, it’s an entire work right from the menu card to the coasters and the art work and eventually the food.
Making Connect with Food
You need to educate your staff at first. If your staff is not educated enough then the whole experience is down the doors. I trained my staff to even explain the three kinds of bread that comes in the basket; the customer relates to it. I have got a dish called walk in the woods and it’s all about pickle mushroom, cauliflower puree which has got date puree on it and when I take them on the journey of explaining what is on the plate; the centre of the plate is represented as earth, I have got red currant puree on the side representing the Sun, I have got cheese wrapped in herbs representing the satellites around the planet and when they see that they mesmerise. The whole experience of seeing those in plate is what connects you to customer and that’s how they come back again and again.
Vietnamese Food Can be the Next Trend Maker
We are going to see lots of food trends happening in the country. The current trend is South American. The next trend could be about Vietnamese food as the food is very homely, comforting and at the same time it’s very spicy. So, the Indian market will relate to it. It’s a very personally related cuisine; from the sitting experience to the way they present the food. These are the kind of experience that people like because Indian food is all about community and it’s about eating from same bowl, thaal, sharing food. And, when you bring that to customer on a very refined sort of way they relate to it. And, progressive Indian cuisine is also doing great and that’s going to be the next trend.
Local is the New World
We are using Amaranth, Aloevera in our food and recipes. Though, we are using Quinoa but we are using less of food which is travelling. We are using our local produce and it’s very important to use the local produce because then you are not over producing.