Executive Chef Sumit Kedia with Indian chef insides
Executive Chef Sumit Kedia with Indian chef insides. Read here.
Today you are a Executive Chef in India with an international track of chef jobs. Where did all start/ why did you become an Indian chef?
As far as i remember, it all started when i was very young, a kid of merely 11yrs. I used to see people taking care friends and relative whenever we used to be in family functions and the extra caring attitude during the meals were extraordinary and fascinated me. The same thing grew in me as I grew up and was always used to follow what i had been observing. Doing this, I also started understanding different varieties of food habbit and their effect on a persons satisfaction of a meal. To a point that after my Higher Secondary schooling, I wanted to do a summer course in cookery. But somehow it turned into getting admitted to a professional course in hotel management and at that point I knew that i wanted to become a Chef.
Which cooking school did you visit to become an Indian chef?
The name of the institution was INSTITUTE OF HOTEL MANAGEMENT, CATERING TECHNOLOGY & APPLIED NUTRITION and it was under the Nation Council of Hotel Management studies. It was quite difficult to get into these institutes and we had to appear for the National level Entrance Exams.
After some different chef jobs, you worked as Sous Chef for the Hilton at the Maldives. What was you experience as a chef out of this time? Are the Maldives as well a paradise for chefs?
My experience in Hilton Maldives was truly mesmerizing. I was heading a Fine Dining Mediterranean Seafood restaurant which was truly of very high standards. I was very lucky those days as it was our signature restaurant at the property and my Executive Chef wanted me to showcase my style of food with a modern presentation.
Maldives in true terms is a paradise for young and passionate chefs as there is so much varied ingredients we get to work with and due to being secluded from the rest of the world, your entire concentration is at your work which makes you learn a lot faster.
In India you worked as Indian chef for the great hotels such as Marriott, HYATT… . What was your greatest learning out of this time?
After moving back to India from Maldives, I was at a senior positions with good companies like Hyatt, Marriott, etc. This was the time for me to understand how to become a businessman. Here I understood how to bulid up business and how to build client relationships by providing best of the products and services. Also, I was exposed to a lot of volume business like big banquet events and seminars. I was responsible for the food pricing and negotiations. Eventually I learnt that to become a successful chef, you also need to be a good salesperson, a business manager and need to be good in public relations.
How would you describe your own culinary line as Indian chef today?
I’m very much particular when i choose my culinary team members. I look for passion, potential and general attitude of a person. I like the team to be balanced in terms of freshness and experience and chefs who are more ambitious.
Since India is so Hugh and with different regions/ local dishes; do you try to find a unified Indian cooking style, to make all your quests happy as Indian chef?
Not at all. India is so much diverse in terms of cuisines that it is very difficult to create a unified cooking style. So, the best thing to do is to keep a few popular dishes from popular cuisines in your menu.
The Indian kitchen is very traditional. Do you bring in some modern dishes/ receipts in your work as Indian chef, and if so, could you please share some of them with is?
I have been always known to give a modern touch to the traditional stuffs. For example, I could experiment with molecular gastronomy with a simple butter chicken sauce to make a foam and serve with chicken tikka in my menu, or serve a tandoori paneer with a infusion of Citrus Vodka.
What are the big/ new trends at the Indian chef/ kitchen / restaurant scene?
India is booming in a big way with differnet style of establishments and owners focusing more into their kitchens and chef and showcasing both to the public. The chefs are becoming more interactive and hence customize their dishes as per client requirements. So its a win win game for both the business and clients.
Any place in the world you would like to take a chef job in the future?
I would have loved to work in Europe continent but as for now would like to be settled in India.
Lots of young foreign chefs would take gain experiences and learn the real Indian kitchen/ cooking, to gain wider experiences as Indian chef. What would you recommend them?
Of course. Indian cooking is not only cooking, its a love for the different cultures prevailing in India. One needs to understand the culture and eating habits of the particular community to master the art of their cuisine.
Thank you very much, Sumit!