I Wanted to Be a Part of This Magical Culinary World - Chef. Ashish Kumar

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1. Tell us about your background and journey.

I have done Hotel Management from Institute of Hotel Management, Gurdaspur, Punjab in 2010. My culinary journey is all about learning in kitchens, with strong determination under the master chefs of cuisines. My first job was kitchen trainee in Hotel Le Meridien, New Delhi. 

Then I jumped to several positions in different hotels. Currently, I am working as Sous Chef In charge of Italian Restaurant which is called SI in Saadiyat Rotana & Villa, Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates).

2. What led you to take up this career path?

I can say, because of my father who is a great support to me till date. He is not a chef, but he is also not less than a chef. He has a catering business but he never forced me to join him may be because of blood, I used to take interest in this magical world where the great meal can bring joy and happiness to the lives of people and I wanted to be a part of this magical culinary world and my father supports all my decisions.

3. What does your typical day look like?

I start my day around 8 am in the morning, some exercise, a cup of coffee then I check my mails, if any important mail I need to revert back, watching news to see what is happening around the world, get ready for my work, greet everyone, meet up with my team, plan for the day, ordering the products, receiving the products, briefings and then the main part is Kitchen Operation and end up my day around 11 pm from the work .

4. Does one's approach change when cooking professionally and at home?

I think Yes, because cooking in industrial kitchen and cooking at home are different. Yes, taste matters on both the sides, but still one should more casually cook the food at home rather than the cooking professionally. 

In hotels sometimes we measure the ingredients but at home no one should bother about this and then the ingredients, whatever you have at home you will complete your dish in that but in hotels if you need to add rosemary in a particular dish then you have to be.

5. Is there a dish you particularly associate yourself with?

My mother’s made Rajma Chawal, I love to eat that, it simply denotes the love from my mother. Years passed, but the taste is still the same to which I used to have in my childhood days.

6. Can cooking be learnt at culinary schools or a natural talent is required?

Talent is the key ingredient in success, everyone has a unique talent, just you need to understand. Everything can be learnt in the schools but yes, if you make your talent your profession then the success in not far away. 

Culinary schools are the way to brush up the technical skills, which we need in the professional hotels, but yes one has to be filled with complete interest in cooking otherwise its very hard for the people who come up without interest .

7. Which is your favorite book and why?

There are lot of good books like Professional chef on Cooking which I used to refer in college times and still do. One of my favorite books I used to read to clear my basics is "Food Production Operations" by Chef Parvinder S. Bali. 

I like this book because one can easily understand what the author wants to describe, and you will get most of the answer to your question in this book.

Interview by - Sanjana Jain

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