Chef Ranveer Brar was the youngest executive chef at the age of 25 to have ever worked with a five-star hotel in India. At present, he is the senior executive chef at the Novotel Mumbai, Juhu Beach and is also overseeing the Dosa Factory and Shalimar in Cambridge, as well as Mantra in Boston.
He hosts the ‘Health Bhi Taste Bhi’ show on Zee Khana Khazana that looks at healthy ways of cooking. Loved for his nice guy persona, he happily shares his food secrets, cooking experience and two quick recipes for the festive season.
Cooking at “chefs in shorts”, Boston. It is a ticketed open air event at the Wharf where more than 50 of the top chefs from Boston get together to cook their signature barbeque dishes. It’s a memorable experience with more than 3,000 people attending this event that takes place for nearly four hours.
Dorra kebab is my signature dish. It is a kebab cooked on a smoked silken thread. It is as tender as the Kakori (if not more) with tones of sandal and rose.
Long pepper (Peepli in Urdu). I use it extensively across all cuisines for the sweet sharpness that it lends to dishes. I have steeped it in milk, which I then boil and use for dessert sauces and custard bases. It comes out amazing.
Heston Blumenthal for his amazing knowledge of ingredients and even more amazing applications of those ingredients.
I start my work day at 9 am and head straight into the morning meeting from the breakfast area. Post the meeting is overviewing the day’s action (events lined up, cyclic menus, etc). Then it’s cooking a dish up for the Lunch buffet followed by a round of all kitchens. Lunch service is followed by a meeting of all chefs and then some computer time with reverts, menu creations, etc. If there is a new menu trial or trying out newer products then I cook some more. Else I spend time in the Indian kitchen with the cooks from Lucknow. The day ends with hitting the gym and I am out at ten.
The profiles are inherently same; you need to be a people-oriented, food-loving chef to be successful in either of these. However, to be a good TV chef it is also important to be a good orator and you need to be very good with cooking basics and their explanation. The skill level and the level of culinary complexity required for TV is slightly lower than that required in a professional kitchen. All in all TV is about being good with your basics and being able to explain your thought process, while restauranting is about quietly applying your knowledge to create masterpieces.
Stick to the basics, define your relationship with food and there’s no substitute to hard work (not as of yet). Being a chef isn’t about being confined to your own kitchen, you have to try the recipes that come out of a variety of kitchens. Food is all about exploring. How do you explore? By stepping out and making discoveries. An aspiring chef is a food critic, food reviewer, and a food lover, all at the same time.