Always Keep Your Dream High, Goals Clear, Plan Perfect and Work Through People - Chef Avin Thaliath

The main difference between a chef and a cook is the technique, skill and the knowledge of food one possesses. Professional cooking is all about getting these three things right irrespective of cooking at home or in a restaurant.

1. Tell us about your background and journey.

After my first-year hotel management, I got a scholarship to France. While I was studying in France, that is the time I had a specialized training competency mapping to check what would be a great department to work for me.

So, they analysed my brain and they told that “you know what, your brain is more on the artistic perspective. Why can’t you get into Cuisine or Bakery and Confectionery?” Post the result they put me for training in Bakery and Confectionery for a week, and there is no looking back after that.

I loved each and every moment I spent in the Bakery and I figured out that this is something that I would want to do for the rest of my life. However, I trained in other departments as well but I was more comfortable and more productive towards Bakery and Confectionery.

I never had any second thought in my mind, since childhood I had a flair towards baking and cooking, so I was very clear that I would want to be a chef.

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

Since my childhood, I have seen my mother and grandmother cooking food for everyone in my family. My inspiration has always been my mother. Though she is not a pastry artist I still believe that her baking and cooking could even go up against most talented chefs in the industry. I always had the support of my parents towards my career and they always uplift me to pursue my dreams.

3. What does your typical day look like?

My day starts around 5 in the morning with a 3km jog followed by 20 minutes of meditation. Post which I plan my day, jot down how my day looks like and prepare my self for it. Constant research on a regular basis on the ongoing trends in hospitality is also in the highlight.

Once I reach the Academy, I brush up the topics for the day as I strongly believe in the unlearning and relearning concept. I involve myself in planning and operational management of academy and café. I get back home around 8 in the evening after which I spend some time painting or with music.

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

Cooking at home and cooking at the restaurant have a huge difference in them, environment, people, types of equipment, ingredients etc. play a very important role in compiling the end product. The main difference between a chef and a cook is the technique, skill and the knowledge of food one possesses.

Professional cooking is all about getting these three things right irrespective of cooking at home or in a restaurant. At times there are few ingredients and equipment that are not easily available at home making the best use of available resources and bringing out the best product is also as good as being professional.

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

I believe it is croissants that had Bengal Tiger prints over them. The great Bengal Tiger is not only the national animal of India but also an epitome of Royalty, heritage, culture and pride. India accommodates almost half the population of Tigers in the world.

The magnificent Animal walks with the pride and honour when it walks into the jungle and therefore called as the lord of the jungle. Tiger is one of the species that are at the verge of becoming extinct if proper measures are not taken in conserving them. This is my tribute to the majestic creature of nature, depicting the beautiful and natural look and feel of the tiger in the form of croissant.

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

I would rather use the words passion, desire and interest instead of the word natural talent. It is impossible for any individual to inherit a skill, however, it can be only acquired only if there is passion, desire and interest towards it.

Cooking is one such skill which requires a lot of involvement in it, natural talent is nothing but a developed skill over practising it for a long period of time. Cooking can be learnt by anyone from anyone if the above-mentioned qualities are present. However, the concept of learning in culinary school has a wider aspect to it.

Apart from coking several other aspects which directly or indirectly involves cooking are taught which differentiate a good chef from a great chef, apart from the art, the science of cooking, plating, managing cooking skills, costing, pricing etc. are an integral part of the curriculum which helps an individual not only to develop the culinary skills but also entrepreneurial skills.

7. Which is your favourite book and why?

Wings of Fire by Dr Kalam, a very detailed description of how great things can be achieved through simple thoughts. Always keep your dream high, goals clear, plan perfect and work through people, after all, it is people who matter and inspire them through exceptional human touch.

Interview By - Benil Joseph

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