There are so many mentors and chefs whom Chef Amol of Hyatt Pune looks up to but he really admires and sees chef Vikas Khanna as his role model. Talking to Restaurant India he shares his food tips. Excerpts from the interview:
How it all began?
It is definitely from my childhood memories as my mom use to cook at home and I like to help her. It was during my school days when we had small house parties at home and that’s how I began cooking. These were the few memories that inspired me to become a chef.
How do you see the industry changing over the time?
There is a huge gap in the last 20 years when I joined the industry. There are changes in food trend, plating trend as well as ecological trend. Chefs used to work in a different way as it is today. They used to cook food but were never appreciated and awarded for it. They were much at the backend but today they are in limelight. They have changed the whole dining scenario in India. Chefs are interacting with customers a lot. They go to each table and asks customer about their preference creating a personalized experience for each of the guests. Today it is more about personalized service, customized menu and restaurants have become more guests oriented.
What is your forte?
I love Italian cooking. I have worked with some of the best Italian chefs both in India and abroad. Italian food is very simple and at the same time it has good flavours wherein you can use local ingredients.
What new you can see at the restaurant front?
Now with people travelling a lot, going around the globe and then coming back also trying the same kind of food and explore all those cuisine has become a major trend and this is one of the great things for the hospitality industry.
What trend we can see happening in the next few years?
It will be the customized food. It will be healthy food as people are looking at healthy options on the menu. If I would have to add something on my menu I would add organic, healthy, unique and more customized food which is guest oriented and guest centric food.
Guests have become very demanding today. How do you address such kind of customers?
I must say that there are challenges everywhere. I may cook a sambhar which a tamilian like but a keralite may dislike depending on their change in palate. Hence, I must say that customization is the way forward for the industry. Go to the guest, talk to them and make food accordingly. That’s what we do at Hyatt aswell. We also explain customer that what food would act in which way if someone has some allergy.
How do you work on delivering high quality food?
Quality starts from procurement. It depends on a chef on what kind of ingredient they want to use. We give 3-4 kind of samples to the team to get it from the best suppliers. If we have to get prawns the food tasting happens wherein we check the quality and decide on it. We try to get it from local vendors and farms by supporting the local community. We also do daily training to serve the best.
What tips do you give to the younger chefs?
I always say my chefs to keep learning. There are so many things that I also learn. Go out, learn from new trends and keep yourself updated on global trends. You should learn one new thing every day as a chef.