Here’s proof that God is a gourmet. If he had not been a chef, Davinder Kumar would have been either a doctor or an actor. “Man proposes, God disposes,” says the Dilliwala with a laugh. Kumar, F&B vice-president at Le Meridien hotel, and president of the Indian Culinary Forum, has been crowned the best five-star chef in the country for 2007-2008 by the ministry of tourism at the recent National Tourism Awards.
It has been a long journey from his first dish — stir-fried mushroom and peas — as a child to a three-decade career that includes a mention in the Limca Book of Records for baking Asia’s tallest ornamental cake, and serving the likes of Indira Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, APJ Abdul Kalam and Bill Gates. His culinary philosophy: “You can cook the best food in the world with the simplest of ingredients, if you just combine it with love and passion.”
French cuisine, he believes, is the mother of all cuisines, and taking a leaf out of their book, he has researched 365 types of kebabs! “If the French can have 365 cheeses, why not kebabs?”
Mrs Gandhi sampled Kumar’s motiya biryani in 1982, and a framed sheet that reads ‘Excellent, superb cuisine’ is signed by Gates. “This is the special honour,” he says. “When no one else can reach them, it’s the chef who serves the guest.”