In a candid chat with Franchise India, Chef Preetam talks about the evolution of Indian food connoisseurs, next big trend in the restaurant industry and his duty as a head chef at the restaurant.
Please tell us something about evolution of Indian food connoisseurs?
The Indian cuisine is almost as diverse as the entire European cuisine, because of the four different main regional styles: the North Indian cuisine (the regions Benaras, Kashmir, Mughlai, Punjab and Rajasthan), the South Indian cuisine (regions Andhra, Kannada, Kerala and Tamil), East Indian cuisine (regions Assamese and Bengali) and Western Indian cuisine (regions Gujarat, Maharashtrian and Malwani). The northern part of India is mostly rural, although it contains large cities such as Delhi and Calcutta, thus its cuisine is more agricultural than anything, wheat being a primary constituent of this region’s dishes. Southern regions however trend to be more exotic, spicier in their dishes and rice is a constant ingredient in their food. To give the taste of their main dishes, North Indians use onions and coriander whilst southerners use a more exotic coconut base for their dishes.
What according to you is the next big trend in the restaurant industry?
Next big trend in the restaurant industry could be the food court where people can get the all the cuisines easily under a single roof.
Your expertise includes Italian, Kababs and Mexican cuisines. Which among these is most preferred by the customers and which one is your favourite?
Most people prefer Italian food in comparison of kababs and Mexican cuisines; even I am also very fond of Italian cuisine.
What made you choose a career in hospitality industry? Who was your inspiration?
Cooking was my hobby when I was in school; I used to watch the show of Chef Rakesh Sethi and Chef Sanjeev Kapoor to know something new and creative from them. These two celebrities were my inspiration.
We see lots of foreign food chains coming to India. What is the reason?
Yes, a lot of foreign food chains are coming to Indian market to develop their business and to get the idea of Indian restaurant industry and to know more about Indian cuisine so that they can also easily prepare Indian food and keep the Indian dishes in the menu accordingly.
How challenging is your role as the head chef at the restaurant?
Being the head chef at the Lounge, I have to maintain the quality of food and the standard, correct portion size to be delivered to the guest, so that we can make the guest happy and satisfied, as you know “one satisfied customer brings you hundred more”.
What offers is your restaurant planning on Diwali?
We are not offering anything on diwali but we are celebrating “cheesy chicken & beer festival” which will start from 16th October to 2nd November. We are doing beer competition from 21st October to 24th October which would be a fun for beers lover, we are making gift hampers for diwali special offers and discount. We keep on trying the new things as the industry needs.
Tell us something about menu designing in a restaurant? What are you doing at your restaurant to go delicious by design?
We keep “special of the day” everyday in the menu, so that guests get to know what special we are offering apart from the ‘a la carte menu’, and to design the menu we always keep the nutritious and healthy food in the chart and of course it should be according to the need of the restaurant.
How to maintain value and position within the market place?
To maintain the value and position within the market you have to maintain good standard, you should not compromise with your quality, should keep the things right and according to the needs and demand of the guest. If you follow these, you will automatically start rising and people will also appreciate you.
How has been the journey working as a kitchen trainee with TAJ President, Mumbai till now?
I started my carrier as a kitchen trainee with Taj President, Mumbai. I must say it was not a cake walk. I remember I used to work 20 hours a day. But then I realise if you are working to learn something then you have to be strong enough, I worked for Karma Restaurant in Mumbai, Olive Bar and Kitchen Delhi, Hotel Diplomat, Manree and Zest managed by DLF in a different position. I am fully satisfied with my carrier till now.