Chef of the Fortnight | Kainaz Contractor

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kainazBy Deviyani Srivastava

She’s a force to reckon with. Her cherubic face makes her a media darling while her ability to cook has already won over several critics.

Meet Kainaz Contractor, a Mumbai girl, who has paved her way into the culinary circuit in New Delhi. Her restaurant – Rustom’s Parsi Bhonu just won the Top Chef award for 2015 and is now running to packed houses.

As a Parsi who grew up eating some amazing home-style food, it’s no surprises that the restaurant business was a natural progression. But the path was extremely different from the average restaurateur. Her passion for food led her to enroll in a three-year training programme at the Taj Group of Hotels where her main focus was on managing restaurants. Upon graduating, she managed Pure, an organic restaurant under the Taj Aegis.

Keen to do something more, Kainaz started writing for Time Out Mumbai and subsequently joined BBC Good Food in India as their Junior Editor.

“Working at BBC Good Food meant that I could meet many Indian chefs and talk about the forgotten foods of India,” she says. “That is what planted the seed for Rustom’s in my head apart from the fact that one of my first assignments was all about Parsi cuisine.”

What sets her restaurant apart is that she spent time learning the secrets of Parsi home cooking from her aunt and her mother, who in turn had learnt aplenty for her grandmother. “This way I was able to balance out the flavours and serve authentic food to the people who come to my restaurant.”

Barely 28, Kainaz knows that she still has a long way to go, but if there’s one thing she knows it’s that following her passion is what led to her dreams come true.

So what are the five things she’d like to tell the BetterButter fans?
1. It’s all about the spices. For the true depth in aroma, keep the various spices in different air tight container. Don’t use a spice box / masala dabba as the aromas get mixed and well, things don’t smell the way they are supposed to.
2. For fluffy egg whites, use a pinch of salt with a tablespoon of water and then beat them. This makes for a great coating for fried food.
3. For perfect caramel custard it’s very important to learn how to caramelize sugar. It’s all about the timing and once you’ve mastered that, you’re all set to make some great custard. Oh and remember to pull off the pan just before the caramel gets to the consistency you want.
4. Garnishing a dish is very important. Fried onions is a great way to add flavor. So when making fried onions add some salt to draw out all the moisture. This makes the perfect garnishing fried onion all brown and crispy.
5. While making chutneys we often use lemon juice to add the needed but lemon juice turns bitter after a while. Replace it with tamarind and you’re guaranteed freshness.

You can find her recipes in her Foodbook at BetterButter.in

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