The conversations with Chefs are just…well, in simple terms, mind-blowing! I’d have to closely agree with a friend of mine when he told me that Chefs are one of the most respected professionals in the world. And for a certain obvious reason, isn’t it? Breaking it down into the very core of human existence, the fact that we are survivors – our primary objective in life is to do whatever it takes to keep Oxygen in our lungs and nutrition in our blood. Chefs are gifted with the skillful art of converting everyday ingredients into something magical. One such personality I happened to meet from Nassima Royal Hotel is Chef Ravi. He is currently in-charge of the Lounge, In-Room Dining as well as the Pool Bar (on Level 7) at the hotel.
Coffee to help us chat…
Chef Ravi started his culinary adventure over 10 years respecting every challenge he was presented with at every hotel. At this point in his career, he takes care of the Lounge at the Hotel (The Lounge). With a casual yet formal setting, it definitely is the perfect venue to sit down for a quick cup of coffee, and a chat (which we had). He goes on to explain that he tries to implement a Bistro feel to the place; offering premium Caviar to dishes like Fish `n Chips. Personally speaking, I think it would be a great place to relax for a bit just before the next big meeting or so. Completely understanding the need for “staying updated with the trends”, Chef Ravi explains how he tries to incorporate fast, yet good quality food into his menu. Moreover, for example, its not just about using Liquid Nitrogen to put on a fancy show on the table, but to use it for its purpose – of freezing an ingredient to a subzero temperature instantly. And I couldn’t agree more!
Taking the aspect of creativity in the dishes, Chef Ravi explains how he has the freedom to express the same. With the opportunity to adjust every à la carte menu in the hotel, he believes that constant innovation, creativity and uniqueness are what makes a good Chef! He expresses the one-line statement of staying Rustic with a Modern twist – and he definitely boasts of the taste in those dishes! Focusing on quick `n easy food (like a good and well-presented steak in 20 minutes), he keeps his food classy, delicious and appetizing!
The cliché question…
Quite rarely you hear a Chef who works in his profession, and doesn’t love food (it just doesn’t go does it!). Chef Ravi goes on to explain how his passion and love for food keeps him going on behind the stove, every day. His experiences from childhood with helping out his mother in the kitchen, fueled his passion and that is primarily what brought him to his current post. Sure it started out as a “Trainee Chef” in the house-kitchen, but that’s where we all start don’t we? Constantly tasting food is another skill that he defines as “significantly important” in this industry.
The question of motivation is answered with hard work and the appreciation of every second of time. Without giving up and calling it quits, the idea of staying “up there” and soaring at a level that is defined by dedication is what pushes him to keep doing what he does. From the minuscule amount of experience, I can wholeheartedly agree to this!
As for the hypothetical question (that I always ask), Chef Ravi selected a varied and fresh spread of Breakfast (that he would cook for the family) and an 18/19 course meal for his friends. Well 18/19, the number was surprising honestly. But he justified this as calling it that “last meal” or the “last ounce of spotlight” to put a very good impression for the people he would cook for – a last best memory, in a way. One dish he would definitely include would be a Ramen. Reasoning it out from his experiences (rather, travel experiences) from everything he has tasted (and outstanding dishes in that regard), a Japanese Ramen is one dish that stood out. Rather, it captured his heart in some way!
Chef Ravi took the time out to display an extravagant dish. He calls it a Watermelon Carpaccio with soft (almost frozen) Feta Cheese and a Chimichurri dressing. When I say lightly frozen, I do mean that is is dipped into Liquid Nitrogen for a few seconds, and then torched. Well its definitely the first time I have ever seen a “Watermelon” Carpaccio. I think its a good alternative to the traditional take on Beef.