Flash-grilled: Sanjeev Kapoor

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Flash-grilled with Sanjeev Kapoor renowned Indian chef who runs Yellow Chilli in London's Wembley,

Related tags: Chef, Indian cuisine

The renowned Indian chef, who runs Yellow Chilli in London's Wembley, on his first industry job, memories of making roti with his parents, and the importance of understanding your strengths.

What was your first industry job?
My first job was as a kitchen management trainee with the largest hotel chain at that time, ITDC group of hotels. As part of two years dedicated training program, worked in multiple kitchens in India.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
Something creative… in all probability I would have been an architect.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Harold Mcgee, author of many fabulous books on science of cooking. Currently reading his book, Nose Dive​.

Pet hate in the kitchen?
If I have to peel garlic or small shrimps.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
"You remind me of a television chef from India, Sanjeev Kapoor."

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
To be simple with a slight delectable difference and let the freshness of each ingredient in the dish speak for themselves.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
I had cooked an elaborate sit down meal for an award ceremony for the hospitality industry and the journalist wrote a raving review for the meal, but ended with a heart breaking line: "The chocolate mousse was rich and decadent, but I don’t know why it had an after taste of a toothpaste." I had introduced hint of mint in the mousse.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
Wonderchef’s Nutri Blend.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Khichdi with a fresh, homemade yogurt.

À la carte or tasting menu?
À la carte, I prefer to be responsible for my own destiny.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?
Can Fabes in Barcelona. Unfortunately the restaurant closed down permanently back in 2013.

Favourite fast food joint?
Anand Vada Pav in Juhu, Mumbai.

What’s the dish you wish you’d thought of?
Hyderabadi biryani.

Most overrated food?
Food that has been manipulated via its molecular composition using chemicals.

Who would your dream dinner party guests be?
Mahatma Gandhi and Charlie Chaplin.

What’s your earliest food memory?
Helping my parents in kitchen as a little child when they cooked. Trying to make perfectly round roti.

Twitter or Instagram?
Instagram… it is a visual treat.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
Home.

What do you consider your signature dish?
People say it is shaam savera (spinach koftas cooked in tomato gravy).

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
There is no alternative to hard work and never cease to dream and dare to be different. Understand your strengths and work on it to maximize the returns.

Related topics: People, Profiles, Chef

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