Abhijeet Thakre – Age – 38, has been in the industry for the past 14 years. An IHM Mumbai alumnus, he holds a Diploma in Hotel Management and Catering Technology since 2001. He has been part of opening teams for three 5 star category hotels and a convention centre. He is essentially a multi cuisine chef, with interests in Italian, Indian and Oriental cuisines and can whip up a mean risotto, pastas and pizzas. He has worked in all corners of India and is a self professed expert on Indian street food and believes that one should live to eat than other wise.
Q: If you were not a chef, what you would have been?
A: A barman or sailor or actor
Q: A dish you think you still need to expert?
A: Too many dishes to list
Q: A dish you like to cook but would never consume?
A: Barbequed Pork Spare ribs – coz i am off red meat
Q: A dish you think you are best at ?
A: Wild Mushroom Risotto
Q: What other quality do you posses?
A: I can mix drinks really really well.
Q: Do you nag your wife / mother cooking?
A: I DON’T DARE…
Q: What bond do you share with your kitchen mates?
A: Cordial, friendly and respect
Q: What all can we see in your fridge?\
A: Lots of green vegetables, bottles of wine, herbs
Q: What food you are craving right now?
A: Chinese ………always
Q: What is your favourite cuisine to cook?
Q: What is your favourite dish on your menu and why?
A: Camembert Cheese Souffle at Orient Express. Easy and difficult to make at the same time.
Q: Tell us about an accomplishment you are proud of in your career?
A: Being Executive Sous Chef at Taj Palace, New Delhi
Q: What do you do to keep yourself updated about new treads?
A: Books, Blogs, Social Media, Friends, Colleagues, Television
Q: How involved are you in the beverage aspect?
A: Drinking??? WHY NOT??? Its always 7 O’clock somewhere in the world.
Q: What is the most exotic dish you ever ate?
A: Beluga Caviar
Q: Who in the food world do you most admire?
A: Chef Willi….
Q: What do you most love about your profession?
Q: What is your speciality and why do you chose it?
A: I don’t have a specialty coz I think specialty has its limitation. I love to dabble in variety of cuisines. I love being the Jack of all trades.
Q: Other than creating good food what are the most important qualities that make a successful chef?
A: Patience, Approachability, Fitness, Good digestion capabilities, Being adventurous
Q: What are your long term goals as a chef?
A: Own a restaurant with a minimal menu made with freshest possible ingredients
By Meghna Arora.
WILD MUSHROOM RISOTTO
Button Mushrooms 20 gms
Shitake mushrooms 15 gms
Arborio Rice 100 gms
Butter 50 gms
Onions 10 gms
Garlic 10 gms
White wine 30 mls
Parmesan cheese 15 gms
Heat, about a liter of water. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer. Finely chop the onions and garlic and grate the parmesan cheese. Slice the button mushrooms and soak the shitake mushrooms. When soft, slice the shitake mushrooms as well.
Add butter to a pan and melt it on a slow flame. Add onions and garlic and sauté. Add the mushrooms and sauté till soft. Add the arborio rice and sauté till all the rice is coated in butter. Add the white wine and mix till the wine is all soaked up. Add water (totally 6 times the volume of rice) in three equal batches. Let the water be soaked every time it is added to the rice before putting in the next one. Cook till rice is al dente.
Finish the rice with a blob of cold butter and parmesan cheese.