The top chef of the country who has been awarded the title of ‘Molecular Magician,’ Chef Bakshish dean is a maverick in the world of gastronomy. He is the man behind ‘Johny Rockets’ coming to India and he is also ‘the man’ behind the conceptual Cha-Bar in Delhi. A chef by choice and a businessman by virtue of his profession, Chef Bakshish Dean is surprisingly simple and soft spoken for a person of his stature. Having been in the food industry for more than twenty years, he has been hugely instrumental in way modern India eats today!
Caught at his new project, Johnny Rockets, in Ambience Mall, Gurgaon, we were lucky to have clicked some great food (not to mention savoring) for the photo-op with chef Bakshish Dean.
What food best describes Chef Bakshish Dean
It’s a fruit called Mangosteen
What are you working on currently?
I am currently working on two new restaurant projects, doing a study on the Indian wheat flour to understand why bread making is a challenge with that and planning on writing a book.
You have been into the hospitality industry for more than 2 decades, what has been your learning curve like?
I have been in this trade for 24 years and I must say it has taught me a lot, I got an opportunity to work with great teams and each person I worked with has contributed in some way or the other to make me the person that I am today.
All along, I have always remembered my father’s advise, he has been my inspiration. He always said “A tree that bears a healthy crop is never erect, it always stoops and makes it easy for everyone to pick the fruit, similarly, as you gain knowledge and status in your profession and the society, you must always remain humble and help all who need your guidance and assistance”. I saw him walk that talk and that is what I now live by.
Which is your favourite cuisine:
If you have to cook – I love cooking French food.
If your wife has to cook – she loves cooking her pet dishes – beef chilly fry, goa sausage chilly fry, dahi chicken, chicken biryani, dry chicken with garlic and black pepper, tempered curd and rice.
If you would want to eat out – we love honest food and we go out hunting for those hidden gems that serve that, it could be any cuisine – Regional Indian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Afghani, and Mediterranean.
What is the most important thing a chef always has to focus upon?
A Chef has to always focus on the development of his team; he has to make sure that they have a good temperament and excellent skills to deliver his vision.
Is there a food/recipe/cuisine that gives you a scare, if you have to cook?
I have been lucky to get good exposure in cuisine and work with great teams but there are cuisines which I love but did not get an opportunity to work with – Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, they are complex and yes if you ask me to cook I may be able to cook a single recipe but a menu I would be really scared.
What have these things taught you –
Spices – Control, you could ruin a beautiful creation if you go overboard.
Cheese – Patience, as that yields the best result.
Oil – Command, whatever the situation stay in command.
Vegetables – Versatility, blend beautifully with your environment.
Flour – Adaptability, be ready to be molded into any shape.
Baking – Honesty, study the processes and stick to them.
Sea Food – Caution, take control of each step to get the best results
Which has been your best CHEF MOMENT till date?
An elderly guest in his late 70’s holding my hand and crying as the dish that we served him reminded him of his grandmothers cooking.
Put a spice / food to these
You self – Fruit – Mangosteen
Your wife – Spice – Allspice
Your kids – Daughter, Spice – Vanilla
Your best friend – (also name him/her/them) – Kamal – Fruit – Coconut
Your in-laws – Spice – Turmeric
Your boss – Am my own boss now
Your colleagues/team/junior – Food – Khichri
Your car – Spice – Cinnamon
Your life – Food – Jambalaya / Biryani
What’s your mantra for a panic situation in the Kitchen?
Stay absolutely calm, arrest the situation without getting into the details of why that situation occurred, once resolved then get in to finding out why it happened and devising checks to ensure it does not happen again.
Which is your favorite food show/ book?
I love most of the food shows that are being aired on TLC and National Geographic especially the ones that talk about the ethnicity and history of food.
What advise would you give out to the young chefs?
My advice to young chefs is that they should focus on mastering the basics and developing their interpersonal skills before embarking on the beautiful journey of managing teams and producing great cuisine.
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