India’s finest restaurants, signature menus, and the Head Chefs behind those at your table- Chef’s Table Week is back with its one of its kind dining experience in the country!
Founded by Nachiket Shetye (Chef & Co-Founder, Cellar Door Hospitality) and Mangal Dalal (Food Writer & Co-Founder, Cellar Door Hospitality), CTW is a spin-off of Restaurant Week, and follows its footsteps in re-introducing the culture of formal fine dining among the people-these being two of the largest pan-India culinary events. Served up across Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore, the 10-day event brings you customised six course, prix fixe menus from the cities’ top restaurants- relieving you of your ‘which signature dish to choose’ duties, and a chance to meet the person who curates your appetising meal- the Head Chefs- and all that without putting a dent in your wallet. The Week seeks to bridge the culinary gap and get the patrons closer to those who create their smashing suppers while helping the chefs exhibit the best their restaurant has to offer.
With the post-Diwali cleanses behind us, we were ready to indulge and decided to explore the Delhi chapter of Chef’s Table Week, and their stellar line-up had us booking one too many spots (you know where to spot us this week). Say hello to the chefs whose culinary art beckons us like bees to honey.
Chef Manish Mehrotra of Indian Accent, The Manor
Taking Indian cuisine global is Chef Manish Mehrotra, who single handedly put Indian Accent on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants (2016)- the only restaurant from India to make it to the list. Graduating from IHM, Mumbai in 1996, he went on a culinary journey with the Taj hotels in Mumbai, Old World Hospitality for India Habitat Centre in Delhi and Tamarai in London. A little shy of a decade in his gastronomic journey, he returned to Delhi to set up this celebrated modern Indian fare restaurant in 2009. Getting the traditional and adventurous sides of food together on one plate, he combines traditional Indian palates with ingredients and techniques from across the world. He derives inspiration from events of day to day life, childhood memories, and travelling to different parts of the world to experience their culture as fodder for ideas.
A fan of fusion, he says what makes his day as a chef is people showing appreciation for his work & food, and the success of the restaurant, and seeing people enjoy his cuisine.
Chef Corey E. Asato of Akira Back, JW Marriott
Regular sessions of standing in front of the grill & cooking for everyone, and a childhood dream to run his own restaurant & lounge- Chef Corey was never in doubt about his calling in life. Following his passion led to him being the Sous Chef at Island Sushi and Hawaiian Grill at Plaza Hotel, working with Kumi Japanese Bar & Restaurant by Akira Back at Mandalay Bay Hotel, Las Vegas, and finally channeling Delhi’s affair with Japanese cuisine at Akira Back, JW Marriott, Aerocity. The goal of opening his own space will be achieved solely through hard work, he says, adding that every day of his journey has been a constant and progressive change. Each new step taken in the direction of becoming a better chef has also helped him learn about himself & grow as a person, he tells us. At the Chef’s Table Week he will highlight Chef Akira’s international dishes that have influenced his career, helping diners select dishes that compliment each dish for each course.
Sharing his most memorable behind-the-kitchen-counter experience, he says, “There is no single moment, but to see the guests smile, chat with them and hear amazing compliments makes me feel that the food on the plate was actually their memorable moment, not mine. From working with TV star chefs to Michelin Star chefs nothing has changed but being humble to the customers’ wants and needs.”
Chef Carlo Agodi of Artusi Ristorante e Bar
Known for its mastery of the cuisine from Emilia Romagna region of Italy, Artusi brought to its kitchen a gem from those very lands, Chef Carlo. Growing up with the Adriatic sea on one side and hills on the other, he had a selection of incredible seafood, farm animals, and vegetable produce to explore at all times. He believes in serving the patrons the real deal, and doesn’t tread down the path of fusion food or trendy twists- so you can pick up that fork for some authentic Italian regional cuisine. At the Chef’s Table Week he looks forward to serving dishes that are, “Both, innovative and traditional at the same time and fully represent the cuisine of our native region, i.e., Emilia Romagna.”
He quips about his favourite dining experience, “Those shared with friends & family back home- simple settings but absolutely incredible food, both in terms of quality and quantity. Recently I had a memorable day while sharing a few beers with the whole Artusi team over a relaxed dinner.”
Chef Anooj Wadhawan of DEL, Roseate House
An IHM graduate, Chef Anooj began his journey as a trainee with ITC before moving to the UK. Completing his post graduation at West London College he started work at a Strand Palace Hotel in London and took up day jobs at restaurants across the city to gain exposure and expertise. With that experience under his belt, he flew back and landed on the stove at Olive Bar & Kitchen, where he worked for five years, before moving on to Tresind, a modern Indian restaurant in Dubai. From there he dug his flag in Singapore, with a stagiaire programme at the two-Michelin Star restaurant André. And now, he’s creating magic at DEL. With CTW he intends to bring to the tables a burst of flavours and a nouveau culinary experience.
Telling us about his most iconic behind-the-kitchen-counter experience, he says, “While I was training at the restaurant Andre, I got a chance to explore the namesake’s culinary art and that was the best experience of my life!”
Chef Vikramjit Roy of Tian, ITC Maurya
Giving Delhi its Asian fix is Chef Vikramjit at Tian, ITC Maurya. With IIHM, Kolkata and Queen Margaret University College, UK degrees with him, he found his happy place with East Asian cuisine. Trained under the renowned Chef Morimoto, he worked at Wasabi, Taj Mahal Hotel (Mumbai) and Pan Asian in Chennai before making Delhi his home. He loves to fascinate our palate with the mix of Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Korean and East Asian influences and elements he creates. With the belief that good food should appeal to all our senses and make a connect with the diner, Chef Vikramjit prepares each dish with the concept of taste, creativity and presentation in mind. Creating flavours while retaining the originality of a dish, he is re-introducing modern Asian cuisine in the city.
Chef Dhruv Oberoi of Olive Bar & Kitchen
This Punjabi boy has the love for food running in his veins. A Sous Chef to his mother during childhood, Chef Dhruv realised young that cooking is “the most innovative and important job in the world, as everyone just lives for that one meal that can satisfy the soul completely.” After graduation he moved from Chandigarh to Delhi, to become a part of Olive, which he believes remains an institution for some of the best chefs of the country. Talking about his journey so far, he says, “It has been wonderful learning and practising with gastronomical experiments under some of the legendary chefs of India and Europe. It has helped motivate me to continue to influence the country’s food journey in a big way.” This Week he’s showcasing meals that are a melange of a passionate team, hard work & practice, simplicity of cuisine, modernism of an artist, and ingredients from different corners of India.
Talking about his most cherished behind-the-kitchen-counter experience, he says, “My most memorable dining experiences have always been at home, where every aspect is presented with love and respect. As for the professional kitchens, it has to be Tickets in Barcelona! The restaurant of the culinary Gods of the decade, the Adrià brothers, they are re-inventing classics with their own special touch.”
Chef Vittorio Greco of Ottimo at West View, ITC Maurya
Seeing a family Sunday brunch put together at age 14 was the moment when everything in Chef Vittorio’s life clicked together and he knew he was destined to be a chef. Pursuing a diploma in culinary sciences, he worked with restaurants all across Italy before moving to Australia to continue his association with 1-Michelin Star restaurants. The next step after his adventures down under was to relocate to India and bring with him simple & authentic Italian cuisine. He follows the philosophy of using fresh seasonal produce to create international dishes. A member of the Italian Worldwide Chef’s Association, he’s served the likes of George Clooney, yet a stranger complimenting his food never fails to put a smile on his face! Chef ensures that Ottimo, which means excellent in Italian, lives up to its name in every which way.
We know we’ve put you in deep contemplation, as to which restaurant to pick first- but who doesn’t like being spoilt for choice- 7 restaurants and 10 days, we say feast at ‘em all!
Featured Image Courtesy: whatsuplife.in