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The world on my platter

Thank the experimental global Indian and his seasoned palate for bringing the world on your platter, quite literally. Expert expat chefs in the Capital tell what it takes to win the Indian foodie’s heart.

india Updated: Jan 08, 2011 01:45 IST
Shara Ashraf

Thank the experimental global Indian and his seasoned palate for bringing the world on your platter, quite literally. Most guests today know their cannelloni from their capellini and would not be pleased with anything less than authentic global fare. No wonder, a growing number of hotels in Delhi have brought on board chefs imported from the land, where the cuisine originates. So, if you are craving for some authentic Japanese fare or a classic French cake, chances are, you will get to taste authentic flavour.

We chatted up a few expatriate chefs from the Capital’s hotels, who share with us those little kitchen secrets and what is it that inspires them to whip out delectable dishes for the Indian foodies.

Maria Julia Martini
Sous Chef, The Café, Hyatt Regency
The Argentinean chef has spent just three months in Delhi, but has caught the pulse of the city. “Dry dishes don’t really work for Delhiites. So I add dishes with lots of sauces and gravies into the menu,” says Maria. She confesses, she can’t resist gorging on chicken tikka herself.

Kitchen tip
Use the freshest ingredients and steer clear of overcooking to retain the natural flavours of food.

Invest in a perfect set of knives to get that master cut for your salads and veggies.

Tetsu Akahria
Master Chef, Sakura, The Metropolitan Hotel
When Chef Akahria came to Delhi last year from the Shizuoka province of Japan, he was pleasantly surprised to learn that many Indians can speak knowledgeably about the distinction between Nigiri and Maki, or Sansho and Shichimi. "In Japan, we focus on healthy food and eat maximum things raw or cook for a very little time. I was delighted that guests here have woken up to healthy food," says chef Akahria.

Kitchen tip
When working with the sushi rice, remember to keep your hands moist; otherwise, the rice will stick to your hands.
Invest in a good quality knife. Hone it before you use it for your sushi session.

Franck Turmine
Pastry Chef, The Old Baker, Jaypee Vasant Continental
Pastry chef Franck Turmine, who hails from France, says, “Indians love to experiment.” A purist when it comes to icing, he swears by the good old royal icing (egg whites + confectioner’s sugar). But he doesn’t mind baking eggless cakes vegetarians.

Kitchen tip

Keep all the ingredients at the same temperature while making the batter. Mixing hot and cold spoils the texture.
Invest in a good rolling pin to shape and flatten dough and a food processor for whipping up batters.

Filippo Giunta
Master Chef, Travertino, The Oberoi
He comes from Palermo, the scenic capital of Sicily. The chef who religiously sources his olives from Palermo and cheese and flour from various part of Italy has grown so fond of Chicken Biryani that he doesn't mind feeding on it everyday. “I only wish it was a less spicy,” he says.

Kitchen tip
Add two tablespoon of salt into 1 litre of water for boiling pasta for a great taste.
Invest in a good pasta maker that comes with additional cutters for various types of pasta.

Woon Foo Siow
Master Chef, Royal China
The chef who came to the Capital last year, dislikes any sort of Punjabification of the ‘original’ dish and gets his dim sum flour, pepper and sesame seeds from China. "There is no fun tweaking the recipes. For those who like their dishes spicy, I have a wide selection of dishes from the Szechuan region,"he says.

Kitchen tip

Chinese food should not be cooked for more than a minute. Also, lesser the gravy, better the taste.
Invest in a strong wooden chopping block, ideally made of maple wood. Keep its surface moist by coating it with white mineral oil at least once a month.