Who’s the city’s top chef? Each week, we will feature one of five chefs who are doing exciting things in Delhi kitchens. The American Express Chef of the Year winner will be announced on the night of the HT City Crystals People’s Choice Awards 2010
Sabyasachi Gorai (Olive restaurants - Delhi, ai and Lap)
Manish Mehrotra (Indian Accent and Tamarai)
Pitamber Dutt Satyawalli (Sartoria)
Naveen Thapa (Zanotta)
Vikramjeet Roy (Wasabi by Morimoto)
Today, we feature a one-on-one with...
Name: Pitamber Dutt Satyawalli, Executive chef, Sartoria
At what age did you realise that you wanted to be a chef?
When I was 18 years old. I saw my uncle in the same profession and that was my inspiration.
Your favourite cuisine
Undoubtedly classical Italian and Continental.
Best dish you’ve ever made
Fior-de-latte, which you will find in the new winter menu at Sartoria.
The worst dish you’ve made to date
It is yet to come... It will be my most disappointing day.
Whackiest dish you have created
Spicy Chicken Tikka in a wood-fired oven, which I made for the ambassador of a European country.
Favourite restaurant(s) in the world
Le Grill at Hotel De Paris, Monaco, for its fresh grilled meats and seafood. Even the queen of Monaco dines there.
Favourite restaurant(s) in Delhi
Travertino [The Oberoi].
Favourite street food in Delhi
Normally I don’t eat out, but I am always fascinated by Paranthe Wali Gali in Chandni Chowk.
Best thing about being a chef
The mystique and magic behind creating a masterpiece of a dish.
Worst thing about being a chef
The apprehension that the dish will not be liked by the guest.
What are the qualities that separate a good chef from a great one?
Great chefs have no reservations about imparting their knowledge and skills.
Most memorable moment
When the ex-Prime Minister of UK, Margaret Thatcher, personally came to my kitchen to compliment me and congratulated my team, after a dinner at Fiorella at The Leela Kempinski, Mumbai.
Chef(s) that have inspired you
Chef Donarto Russo, who is currently the executive chef at Carlton Tower, London. He used to be my chef at Valentino’s, Hyatt Regency, New Delhi, and would emphasise on authenticity and taste.
Best compliment you’ve received
It is from Dr Vijay Mallya of UB Group, for creating Kettuccini Amatriciana. He makes it a point to ask for the same dish whenever he is dining [at my restaurant].
Thoughts on Delhi’s current food scene
Kudos to Delhi diners, as they are now opening up to experimentation when it comes to food.
Your professional strengths
Creating a team from scratch, with very high benchmark of culinary skills.
One thing you would like to change about your profession
The temperament of young apprentices to avoid hard work and dedication.
Next big thing in Delhi
Molecular technology in food, like at elBulli in Barcelona.
Plans for the future
I want to have a dedicated culinary institute to create new chefs.