Executive Chef Sumalya Sarkar

Vivanta Guwahati

Born and brought up in Midnapur (West Bengal), Chef Sumalya Sarkar has close to ten years of culinary experience with leading Indian hospitality brands.

A merit holder from the Bengal Institute of Technology and Management, Chef Sumalya started his career with Radha Krishna Hospitality Ltd., Kolkata.

He then moved on to work with Taj Garden Retreat, Chikmagalur, as Chef De Partiewhere his key accomplishment was the launch of '‘Active Breakfast'.

Over the course of ten years, Sumalya has worked with Taj Nadesar Palace and The Gateway Hotel Ganges Varanasi as Sous Chef where he played a key role and successfully launched new menu with international and Indian dishes. Sumalya was an integral part of elevating the food eperience of the hotel.

Chef Sumalya is passionate to delight the gourmands with his inventive approach to ingredients and flavours. He loves travelling and incorporates his rich experience in the menus and recipes he creates.

Q & A with Executive Chef Sumalya Sarkar

What's your favourite dish from childhood?
My mother's Kosha Murgir Mangsho, a Bengali style chicken with Luchi, which is a Puri` made of refined flour. These days I still relish my favourite dish at home, where my wife prepares the same recipe. 

What are some of your earliest memories in the kitchen?
I remember being fascinated by the way roomali rotis were tossed into the air. I used to watch a particular Chef every day, and I desperately wanted to learn how to do it myself - so I'd go home and practice by tossing a wet handkerchief in the air! 

What or who inspired you to become a chef?
In my career, Chef Natarajan is a huge inspiration. Meeting him for the first time was like dream come true. 

What is your favourite dish to prepare?
This is a very difficult question for me to answer. It's hard to pinpoint one specific dish. Whatever I cook, I cook with passion, and I love the whole process of preparing a dish. If I'm not confident about something, I strive to learn it perfectly, else I will never cook it. 

The cuisine/dish that I aspire to learn/make/perfect
That would have to be French cuisine. It need lots of deep knowledge and perfection - a lot of attention to detail. There is so much to learn! I want to learn more and work on French cuisine. Every moment is a learning moment when you realize there are possibilities for improvement. When I first started out, I once cooked Butter Chicken over and over again - at least 15-20 times - because I felt it could be better. 

My secret tip(s)...
Know your ingredients and how to use them in the right quantity. 

My recommendations at The Gateway Hotel – Damdama Lake Gurgaon
Our menus are a mix of contemporary, traditional and healthy options. At our Oriental specialty restaurant, Sian, I recommend the Dim Sum, Duck Wrap, Crispy Conjee Lamb, Kumpao Chicken and Mapo Tofu. At our coffee shop, Buzz - the local Haryanvi homestyle Damdama Kadhi Chawal is really popular with our guests. 

My guilty pleasure snack (or dish) is...
I love kebabs. Grilled salmon with lemon butter sauce is the dish which tempts me every time. 

The last cookbook I bought was....
A beautiful book by Chef Auguste Escoffier. 

Any interesting kitchen incident, or guest request met-with...?
There are several incidents - one memorable request was to prepare a Jain Vegetable Biryani without onion and garlic. 

The cooking show I always watch is...
Whenever I get the time, I love to watch Master Chef. 

What I like to do in my free time.....
Spending time with family, playing video games or outdoor games, reading magazine and watching movies.