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Inspiration is a key ingredient in the making of any great chef: Chef Nitin Bajaj

24/08/2019

Chef, please tell us what inspired you to enter the culinary world?

Chef Nitin Bajaj:- Grown up watching the greatest chef my mom – culinary pros learn that a great meal can be more than just good food. It can be a gateway to the heart. After stepping into the professional world I followed Chef Gordon Ramsay as my inspiration. Inspiration is a key ingredient in the making of any great chef and it was the dream come true to work with him at his Michelin star restaurant.

Chef, please tell us something about ‘On the plate by Nitin Bajaj’? 

Chef Nitin Bajaj:- On my plate by Nitin Bajaj was a unique platform for me to showcase my art of platting and abilities instead of just writing a block of text to tell people about you.

Chef, please tell us about your responsibilities at Sheraton Grand Bengaluru?             

Chef Nitin Bajaj:- Sheraton was an excellent place to look after and great learning too. There I was handling four outlets even though it was a little stressful but interesting. Maintaining the food quality and viability of the food simultaneously, making sure that the food served to the guest is of top quality. Assisting in menu planning, managing the inventory and other kitchen supplies, applying safety measures for the staff, and monitoring the kitchen hygiene

In the world of social media freaks, how important it is to do a beautiful plating of the dishes?

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Chef Nitin Bajaj:- Social media and the rise of food photography is something I keep in mind when designing my dishes. There is so much information being shared every day and social media is a great tool for chefs to not only show off their work to a larger audience but also see how others are approaching food in restaurants around the world. Presentation and plating are essential ways of capturing the eyes of potential customers via social media. With attention to detail — from colors of ingredients to choice of dishware — you can help your customers eat with their eyes, and with their Smartphones, so they want to share the experience on social media.

Chef your Instagram page has a beautiful picture of a dish named steamed oysters pillow which clearly shows your plating skills. Please tell us something about that dish?

Would you like to give some insights into the plating skills to the new aspiring chefs?

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Chef Nitin Bajaj:- Steam oyster pillow was a very random dish. I love picking a random ingredient and paired with my ideas. It was the methodical approach to placement of parts of the dish. When plating a dish, I start by focusing on the main component. I want the oyster to be the first thing that catches your eye. From there, I’ll lay out the remaining ingredients, keeping in mind the importance of texture and height to create visual interest and flow. Finally, I always want there to be a strong element of color to keep the plate looking vibrant and interesting.

I would like to advise the new aspiring chefs to first stick with your basic, learn and observe as much as you can from your senior chefs. Meanwhile, keep yourself updated and do trials, choose right plates and don’t overload with more than 4-5 components (always remember- less is more)  

Chef, you hosted your own chef’s table at Sheraton Bengaluru Whitefield. Please tell us about your achievement?

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Chef Nitin Bajaj:- For that I would like to thank Mr. Faiz Alam the general manager and my exec chef for giving me this opportunity. The most important achievements was my guests who were extremely happy with my food and I was also overwhelmed to see my picture on my very own menu.

Another achievement in your life was being awarded as the Best Contemporary Chef for the presentation of forgotten recipes. Please tell us about these recipes which are diminishing from our culinary world?

Chef Nitin Bajaj:- We had given a task to recreate a dish on the forgotten recipe. The first thing crossed my mind was “MY STATE MY CHILDHOOD” So I thought of making a dish that reminds me of my childhood and also disappeared from the modern world. The dish is from the land of farmers Haryana my birthplace, I picked Bathua, Jawar, and Chaach, and also I picked another place was Pataudi (House of Nawabs) famous for hunting. Finally, the dish I came up with was:

“SHIKAAR AUR JAWAR” (Masala Quail | Jawar Aur Bathua ki khichadi | Chaach Air and Encapsulated Desi Ghee)

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Picture Taken: Visited one of the farms in Haryana to learn about agriculture. This experience really helped me out on my menu compilation during the competition.

Your food was praised by the cricket sensation Sachin Tendulkar. Please tell us about that incident.

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Chef Nitin Bajaj:- I was introduced to cricket at the age of 11. Since then for me, the cricket only revolves around him. He was the legend on the ground and one fine day got the wonderful opportunity to serve him. The kind of anxiety that puts the “butterflies in your stomach”. This was more like a hundred hummingbirds on crack fluttering about in the pit of my tummy. 

We have served him braised New Zealand lamb shank with pumpkin puree & toasted seeds. Glad to know that he seems to be as amazing in person as he is on television. What an awesome experience I had!

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