Having added a touch of finesse to the bustling food scene of Millennium City Mumbai, Chef Kelvin Cheung, Corporate Chef and Food & Beverage Director of Aallia Hospitality, has launched a stellar new project for the group. With Whole and then Some, the ebullient chef delights those on the lookout for personalised meals to meet their nutritional needs and culinary goals. After winning the culinary cognoscenti with his sumptuous creations at One Street, and doling out seafood beyond the loved but clichéd butter garlic preparations at Bastian, Cheung’s new journey resonates with his personal philosophy of nutrition and movement. When not in the kitchen, the newly minted father can be spotted exercising, while baby Bodhi snoozes away in the carrier clung close to his chest. DSSC gets candid with the maverick chef about his salubrious new sojourn.
You have successfully built two restaurants, One Street and Bastian. What led to the inception of Whole And then Some?
I was receiving many requests for personalized meal plans from clients who were looking to achieve their nutrition and fitness goals. When we had quite a full roster, we decided that these meal plans required a dedicated team, and the next step was setting up a brand. Whole and then Some is completely different from what we do at Bastian and One Street, and we decided to treat it that way.
What are your personal favourites from the menu? Something, you’d definitely recommend us to order.
From Whole and then Some – Pro Style Burgers, Keto Crackers, Sweet Potato Boats, Fat Bombs, and Tiramisu Protein Bars are what I like most. To be able to recommend something for you, I’ll need to know your goals first!
Do the meals at Whole and then Some cater to those with food allergies and specific dietary preferences?
Oh, we absolutely cater to any and every dietary restriction. At Whole and then Some, we provide custom meal plans that are tailored specifically for each client’s goals and nutritional needs.
Where do you source the ingredients for the new kitchen from?
That depends on what’s in season and what we are sourcing. I’ve worked extremely hard to build relationships with farmers and suppliers who have provided us quality ingredients over the course of my seven-year stint in Mumbai.
Your profession demands long hours in the kitchen. How do you ensure wholesome, nutritious, and delicious food on your platter every day?
I’m on my meal plan too. My team is in charge of my nutritional needs at the moment. This has been such a blessing, especially with a newborn!
Congratulations on the new addition to your family, Bodhi Rye! Whilst awaiting the little one, what changes did you and Andrea make to your diets and lifestyle?
Thank you! As a matter of fact, we made more changes in the way we eat and live after the arrival of Bodhi. During Andrea’s pregnancy, little else changed for her, except such dietary restrictions as swearing off crispy spicy tuna, something that she earlier ate every day, and switching to decaffeinated coffee. I took to cooking traditional Chinese food and medicine for her postnatal recovery. Such preparations are not always delicious, but the herbal concoctions are extremely healing. Nutrition and movement are the two areas which we greatly focus on as a family.
After understanding the dine-in format, how was the experience of understanding the logistics and operations side of a new business?
For me, they both go hand in hand. I applied much of the same format including service charge to the new business! Whatever the format, there is a lot of work that goes behind the scenes.
From what we gather, you have a clean aesthetic towards design. How important was that whilst building the brand narrative?
We always try to keep things as simple and clean as possible which matches my cooking and plating style. This sensibility also stems from my goal to create brands and spaces that are approachable.
How would you sum up your professional journey for 2018? What were the big goals that were ticked off, and were there any constructive learnings?
If I had to sum up 2018 in a word I’d say it was a whirlwind. The big goals that I managed to meet this year were — learning to take on a less hands-on position in the day-to-day operations and remaining focussed, instead, on the leadership aspect. I invested time in my senior staff so that they grow to fill my shoes. Every day there’s something big that I learn. My biggest take away from this year would be, not to expend all my energy on just one team member. Everyone is craving to learn and my duty is to teach every single team member everything I know, and more.
How does 2019 look for Chef Cheung? What is next on the anvil?
Exciting! There are more (secret) projects up my sleeve.
As we end our tête-à-tête with the impassioned chef, we indulge in yet another round of the signature DSSC Rapid Fire:
What according to you would be the top dining trends for 2019?
Hopefully, not Keto!
Do you see any changes in the preferences of the Indian diner in the past year?
Yes, health has been a major focus.
When it comes to food, what are your guilty indulgences?
Bacon, chocolate, and doughnuts.
What is a healthy meal/snack you like to dig into?
Eggs topped with nutritional yeast.
A food trend that shouldn’t see the light of day in 2019?
An underrated nutritious dish that everyone must include in their diets?