Chef with Impeccable Taste
Chef Ashish Kumar Sanyal
Executive Chef at The LaLiT Ashok Bangalore
Having a rich experience of 22 long years of learning and achievements on varied levels, Chef Ashish is handling the production brigade of chefs and cooks to churn out mesmerizing delicacies at The LaLiT Ashok Bangalore, the flagship hotel of The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group.
With his perseverance, he achieved a lot from being host to state dignitaries, handler of large social banquets, organizer of various culinary festivals, pulling off Mega event catering and culinary workshops. He has also mesmerized the pallets of world dignitaries in their air travels by heading and leading the panel of chefs creating culinary delights for the Honorable President and the Prime Minister of India and many other countries across the globe. After having shared the kitchen spaces with Chefs like Gordon Ramsay, George Blanc, Imtiyaz Qureshi, Sanjeev Kapoor, Satish Arora, Hari Nayak and many more, he celebrates being the member of acclaimed institutes like World Association of Chefs Society (WACS), Indian Federation of Culinary Association (IFCA) and South India Culinary Association (SICA).
HospiBuz: What makes you firmly believe in the quote, “Do what you love, love what you do”?
Chef Ashish : In these stressful and complex lifestyle of ours we rarely get to experience happiness and solitude. Therefore my belief is the only mantra, like oasis in the dessert, to keep myself happy, contended and self motivated. Thus increasing my appetite to create for the next level of gourmet delights.
HospiBuz: What are the core qualities that each chefs working with you at The LaLit Ashok Bangalore have in order to satisfy the guest?
Chef Ashish : We all as a TEAM work towards our only goalie. “to witness the GLEAM in the eyes of every guests that come to dine with us.”
HospiBuz: Oko is a rooftop restaurant, please tell us how does the ambiance and location effects the menu planning?
Chef Ashish : Being at the rooftop, OKO gives you a feel expanse and relaxation. Where you cherish the Bangalore’s greenbelt and the mesmerizing view of its skyline. Thus the menu has to subtle with high notes of flavours and presentation to compliment the feel. Loud and heavy recipes are avoided. An excellent place for Wine n Dine.
HospiBuz: Please tell us how different is to plan a regular buffet menu from a culinary festival menu? What are the things that should there in a culinary festival that makes the guests feel happy and refreshed?
Chef Ashish: A culinary festival menu is actually a feel of freshness and surprises that we want to create for our regular patrons. The menu has to have surprise elements like items, flavours, presentation and glamour that you generally don’t expect when you walk into a certain outlet. We need to create that WOW factor as an essential character of that menu.
HospiBuz: Please tell us about the journey while heading the panel of chefs for creating culinary delights for the President and the Prime Minister of India?
Chef Ashish : That is an era which makes me proud of myself….when you are catering to the first and second citizen of your country flying in our national carrier. Making the menu is challenging since the preferences of all the VIP’s onboard has to be taken care of. Also not to forget their dietary recommendations. Preparing, cooking, esting/tasting, packing and delivery with three layers of security and medicos all the time is a herculean task. The utmost care that is warranted is of Food Safety Norms. The stress level continues from time of takeoff to the landing at destination.
HospiBuz: There is very rare Chef that has been invited by the World’s Leading Luxury Cruise liner, Seabourn as a Guest Chef, please tell us how Cruise liner menu different from any other restaurant or fine dining?
Chef Ashish: The menu of Luxury Cruise Liner is no lesser exquisite as any other restaurant or fine dining. The setup, the equipments, the ingredients available onboard is par excellence. The best of the food to be paired with the best of the wines. As you have to live upto the expectation of the most discerning and well traveled guests. Every aspect of the menu has to be impeccable …. From layout to presentation to taste to service and last but not the least…a warm sendoff.
HospiBuz: How different is cooking in a hotel kitchen from culinary workshops? What types of receipts do you plan to teach or provide the demo at the workshop?
Chef Ashish: Culinary workshops have very limited setups to perform. Therefore the recipes are aptly chosen for such occasions. They are simple in terms of equipments used and cooking method involved. Also to consider the fact that the majority of times the viewers are not professional so the recipes are not complex which uses readily available ingredients and equipments. The story behind the dish has to be very carefully scripted to make the session interesting and captivating, like the origin and history, the nomenclature, the do’s n don’ts and or any anecdotes linked to it.
HospiBuz:You are famous as one of the finest advocates of Indian flavors, please tell us how will define “Indian flavors”?
Chef Ashish: Indian flavours is a vast subject….very difficult to pen down in a synopsis. It is panorama of great variety of spices and techniques combined to create a myriad of gastronomique experience. Every tiny region has its own definite flavours. Kashmir has rich bouquet of meats and dried vegetables, south India has coconut and tangy spicy mix, Bengal has subtle vegetables and fish and mustard, Gujarat has rich vegetarian and dairy high tones. It also talks about the marriage of different spices and their mixes that produce the variety of flavours. There are many concoction of spices that has gained popularity and even been labeled under proprietary brands, eg. chaat masala, chana masala, pavbhaji masala, sambar masala, madras curry powder, etc. Every mix of spice has its own typical character which balances the flavours of its each and every individual spice and its distinct presence. Understanding which supplements what and which compliments what is the art behind the whole magic of Indian Flavours.
HospiBuz:Sir, please tell us how Indian food different from any other cuisine does and what is your opinion on fusion food?
Chef Ashish: Indian cuisine is the most varied cuisine of the world. Its rich history and vast demographic structure is grand subject to study and research. No other cuisine has so much of variety as in Indian context the cuisine changes after every 200 miles. Its mix of spices, various consistencies of curries, different forms of cooking and equipments talks about it all. Fusion food is a very tricky subject to deal with. You really need to understand the finer nuances of the cuisine to actually come with some interesting stuff. There is a very thin line which demarks a food from being fusion to confusion; therefore you have to tread very carefully not to land yourself into the later bracket. Fusion should actually be done to accentuate the basic character of a dish… not to dethrone of its grandeur.
HospiBuz: HospiBuz is functioning on its vision to be the foremost informative journalism portal wherever industry professionals can showcase their abilities, skills and success stories. Along with your immense experience and information within the industry. Please share your feedback with us.
Chef Ashish: Its really heartening to know about forum like HospiBuz who cares to talk about those great artist, THE CHEFS, who work tirelessly, unnoticed, behind the curtains for ages to perfect their art to bring joy into people’s life by satisfying their greatest urge in life…Good Food. Since cooking is “ An Artistic Application of Science” that is how we chefs have donned the hats of being an Artist and a Scientist. I wish all the success to you to scale greater heights and keep recognizing the Chefs for what they are.
Thanks for your precious time!!