They may work in some of the topnotch establishments in the city, creating mouth-watering gourmet fare using exotic ingredients and collecting multiple awards and celeb status on the way. But ask them about the best food they have ever had and some of Delhi’s top chefs give Michelin-star restaurants a miss and bow before their mothers’ cooking. Nothing, they say, can match her magic touch.
The secret ingredient in ghar ka khaana, the chefs say, is love. “A mother’s magic touch is irreplaceable, since they cook with love. You don’t need the best ingredients — just a plain subzi turns wow with love. And unlike us professionals, they don’t expect anything in return,” says chef Julia Desa, director culinaire, DLF Emporio Restaurants, who relishes her mother’s Goan roast beef “that is to die for”.
“It may not be the best food you can have, but it’s food you’ll enjoy the most,” believes Umesh Mattoo, corporate chef, Escort Hotels Pvt. Ltd and Legends of India.
“When I started working in a hotel, everyone would tease my mother because she would put extra effort into the food on my off days... It’s all about cooking with the heart. When you cook with a lot of love, it comes out in the taste.”
“Maa pyaar se banaati aur khilati hai... pehle bachchon ko aur ghar waalon ko, phir khud,” says Chef Meraj Ul-Haque of Radisson Hotel. He fondly remembers his mom’s hara moong gosht, tori aur pyaaz ki subzi and kairi ki dal.
To celebrate Mother’s Day tomorrow, most chefs plan to work their culinary magic in the home kitchen. “I usually cook something that she likes, or a cake, or a breakfast with all the frills.. but my mother is in Goa. I’ll cook for my mother-in-law,” says chef Desa.
Chef Bakshish Dean, corporate chef, Lite Bite Food, lost his mother at a young age. But, he says, “I treat my mother-in-law exactly the way I treated my mom. She likes pulao, so maybe I’ll make pulao for her.”
However, chef Ritu Dalmia of Diva doesn’t plan whipping up any special dish for her mom. “All my life I’ve cooked for her. My fondest memory of her cooking is that she cooked so badly it inspired me to take up cooking! I’m taking her on a holiday on Mother’s Day instead.”