I think the amount of passion my mom put into the food we had, played a major role in me taking up cooking as a career. Apart from that, there were a host of TV shows and travel channels which focused around chefs like Gordon Ramsey, Anthony Bourdain etc. which I was influenced by. These shows portrayed the glamorous side of the profession which were very enticing to me as a young teenager. That is the time I decided that I would like to become a chef.
My earliest memories revolve around my mom grinding fresh masalas in the kitchen daily to make her fish curry. There wouldn’t be a day when there wasn’t a balanced meal put on the table. Plus dinner would be different daily - ranging from pasta, curries (accompanied with that perfect ‘phulka’), grilled meat or fish. It was not only the effort to do this daily but the endeavour to do it with no shortcuts involved! I wasn’t the kind of person who used to get my hands dirty in the kitchen. I would rather run away for a game of football!
I love the crab curry made at home and a spicy South Indian style crab stir fry made along with it. I used to spend hours on the table breaking down the crab and gorging it down.
There are a lot really! But if I had to choose I like cooking with off cuts - Ox tail, beef cheeks. Cooking at low temperatures for longer periods of time till the meat becomes tender and literally melts in your mouth.
Beef cheeks with sweet potato puree and honey glazed parsnips which features on our menu is a favourite for sure.
Over the past few years, South American cuisine has been gaining a lot of traction. I would love to delve deeper and understand it better.
Seasoning. There is an art to having just the right amount of seasoning to a dish.
The Larousse Book of Bread by Eric Kayser.
Chefs table on Netflix - it takes you through the experiences, trials and tribulations of the best chefs in the world. At times, it motivates you towards the profession.
Day’s off always fly by. I play a sport - depending on the day, it’s either squash or football. Find time to practice the guitar. Catch up with friends for a meal or a movie. Being a big TV buff - I lag behind on most of the TV shows and need to catch up.
Dishes are balanced by treating the ingredients with respect. At The Eloquent Elephant, we have a lot of international influences. e.g. Japanese, Spanish and Italian. We also experiment with techniques both traditional and modern, and always try to maximise the flavour in each and every dish and endeavour to make it as tasty as possible. Our tuna tartare is a perfect example of this.
A double cheeseburger from McDonalds and 70% dark chocolate.
A home away from home.
The menu at The Eloquent Elephant is broadly classified into five categories. Nibbles, Starters, Mains, Sides and Dessert.
A lot of effort has been put into the recent menu change at the restaurant which has taken months. I went around London to dine at various Michelin starred restaurants, gastro pubs and street food stalls to know what food our customers might be looking for and what is on offer at some of the culinary hubs around the world.
We found locally sustainable and organic farmers in Dubai, visited their farm and built our menu around what we would like to use.
We do a tasting with our management team. Then, Invite our regular guests and take feedback from them as well.
This time, not only did we focus on ingredients, we incorporated a lot of interesting cooking techniques as well like using a Himalayan salt block to crisp up the chicken skin which is earlier cooked sous vide, our hand cut chips are triple cooked.
Slow cooked beef cheeks at The Eloquent Elephant, our gastropub.
Malabar crab at Bombay Brasserie, our Indian designer kitchen.
Crispy sticky beef at Tesoro, our global eatery.
Respect your ingredients. Season it well and that is all you need for a great dish.
Experiment - keep trying till you succeed.
Trust your instinct.
Burj Khalifa Street, Business Bay, PO Box 8489, Dubai, - UAE