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Michelin man

Meet Spanish chef Sergi Arola as he takes us through a city market, gets curious about the Ganesh festival and proves he is a master storyteller.

india Updated: Sep 07, 2012 18:27 IST
Shweta Mehta
Shweta Mehta
Hindustan Times

From the way he navigates Crawford Market’s narrow pathways, you’d never guess that Spanish chef Sergi Arola hasn’t grown up accompanying his mother on shopping trips to the famed bazaar. His thick accent and tattoos definitely brand him a foreigner, yet, he’s perfectly at ease, asking to taste a sweet lime or attempting
in vain to explain to a vegetable vendor that his baby eggplants cost ten times as much back home in Spain.

The owner of the fruit stall where Arola falls in love with some oranges, speaks English. “These come from Spain,” he boasts, much to the denim-clad chef’s delight. “I am from Spain, but no wonder we don’t get such beautiful oranges. They’re all sent to India!” says Arola with a laugh, paying for the fruit that’ll go into his Crème Catalane, one of the most-ordered desserts at his eponymous restaurant at the JW Marriott, Juhu.

Arola doesn’t spend much time in Mumbai, but he’s very clued in about the supplies. “Most of the produce is sourced locally, from markets like these. Some seasonal vegetables are a little problematic, but otherwise, even our seafood is local,” he explains, picking out some garlic from a stall.

Outside, it’s raining, but Arola doesn’t mind as he waits for his car. “That’s for the Ganesh festival, no?” he asks, pointing to a half-
erected stage.

Given the traffic, he’d rather have been playing the guitar at home. “You know, there was a young boy who jammed on stage with Bad Religion in Spain. That was me,” he says, thumping his chest proudly.

Back at the hotel, Arola changes into his chef’s whites; he has one with his name embossed in Hindi. The iPad comes out, the music’s on, and next thing you know, he’s singing at the top of his voice.

Arola is a talker: while he works, his topics range from cooking to other bands to teasing a staffer, calling him Bollywood star for his
well-groomed appearance. “My own beard is like Amitabh Bachchan’s. Only the hair is off,” he jokes.

Roasted eggplant,Chicken Caesar’s salad and Crème Catalane are on the menu. “I’m happy it’s not Tuesday today. My astrologer has advised me to be vegetarian as it is the day to pray to Ganesh,” he says. “You think Indians are the only ones who can do it?”

Lechuga Romana
Romaine Lettuce (Caesar salad)

Baby romaine-30 gm
Chicken breast-100 gm
Parmesan cheese-20 gm
Anchovies-5 gm
Garlic-5 gm
Pommery mustard-2 gm
Salt-2 gm
Black pepper powder-2 gm
Olive oil-50 ml
1 egg

Pan-sear the chicken breast on a high flame and then cook it in the oven at 180 degrees C for 5 minutes. After cooking, remove and keep to cool.
Make mayonnaise using egg, Pommery mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Blend the mayonnaise by adding garlic, Parmesan cheese, anchovies to make Caesar dressing. Cut the chicken cooked chicken breast into 1/2 inch cubes and add to the Caesar dressing.
Finally put this chicken mixture in a serving bowl. And serve the baby romaine separate.

Huevos y Canela
Crema Catalana

For mousse:
Marie biscuit-50 gm
Milk-200 ml
Cream-100 gm

For form:
Milk-500 ml
Cream-500 ml
Cinnamon 1 stick
Orange peel-10 gm
Lemon zest-10 gm
Sugar-150 gm
Egg yolk-150 gm
Orange sorbet-20 gm

Make a Marie Biscuit mousse from all the above ingredients it in martini glass.
Prepare orange form by combining all the indigents in a saucepan and bringing to boil maintaining the temperature at 40 degrees C.
When the mixture reaches 40 degrees C remove from fire, strain and cook in oven at 10 degrees C for 20 minutes. Remove and cool down and add to a nitrogen can.
Finally take the martini glass in which mousse is set then put one quenelle of orange sorbet, put orange form and sprinkle sugar syrup and serve.


Olive oil extra Virgin-10 ml
Chives-5 gm
Pine nuts-10 gm
3 green olives with seeds
Salt-2 gm
Black pepper powder-1 gm
Balsamic reduction for garnish

Char-roast the eggplant and then remove the skin and seeds, keeping the flesh intact. When the flesh cools down, cut it into thick juliennes.
Cut the chives finely with a sharp knife and keep aside.
Cut each pine nut in 3 pieces
Place the eggplant juliennes on a serving plate. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Finally garnish with chopped chives, pine nuts and balsamic reduction.

First Published: Sep 07, 2012 16:35 IST