Earlier, the food culture in hotels and restaurants was very straightforward but with time trend has changed. Now, from making or adding a twist to the dish to presenting it on a plate, to the waiter explaining the dish to the customer everything is an art and Celebrity Chef Manish Mehrotra is indeed an artist.
Born in the capital of Bihar, and later, moved to Mumbai to complete his graduation from the Institute of Hotel Management. Chef Manish Mehrotra needs no introduction to the culinary world. He is known for his USP of adding an innovative twist to Indian Cuisines.
He rose to fame for his innovative and iconic dishes blue cheese naan, and daulat ki chaat. He currently is the corporate Chef at the Indian Accent, Delhi. The restaurant bagged the award of ‘Best Restaurant in India’ at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants seven times in a row.
When it comes to immense knowledge of ingredients and their origination his knowledge is gigantic. On the second day of the 20th edition of Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, in conversation with the Editor Brunch, Jamal Sheikh briefed about his highs and lows, the inspiration behind his plating and innovation, his mentor, and his childhood.
The celebrity chef revealed his inspiration for plating came from the Sandhya Thali, Thali, or food provided by the temple on the banana leaves which add different flavours, textures, and colours to the food.
Talking about his childhood he mentioned onions and garlic were not used in his house as his father never ate them, from there he learned food can be delicious with fewer ingredients also. Speaking about his mentor and the lesson learned from him, he mentions Chef Ananda Solomon and his golden lesson which is the feedback that comes when the plate returns to the kitchen and says a lot about the food.
When asked about his first dish in the Indian Accent, he says it was Rice Crusted John Dory Moilee. Furthermore, he also narrated the story behind his iconic dish blue cheese naan which turned into a synonym for Indian Accent. His first reaction after tasting the blue cheese naan was “who hell would eat this” but eventually one develops a taste. In his idea for the dish he tried several varieties of cheese and only the blue cheese was matching his expectation but with the combination of savouriness of blue cheese and naan there was a challenge to tone down the flavour according to the Indian palate, finally, after several tries, he introduced his iconic dish to the world.
On being asked about his weird dish, he laughed and told me chyanwanprash cheesecake is one today I laughed at what was I thinking that time.
At last, recalling the low phase of his career he remembers, in his initial days of Indian Accent all he witnessed was customers walking out of the restaurant after reading the menu as they did not serve the regular dishes but with time and consistency, people soon realized what Indian Accent was trying to do, from walking out after reading the menu to coming in just to experience the food an ambience that changed the game.