By Sanjula Thangkhiew
Barely 29 years old, Tanveer Kwatra has already made a niche for himself in the food industry. As one of the youngest Executive chefs in the country, he’s got the city eating out of his hands, well, at least out of Le Meridien in Gurgaon.
This Agra boy always dreamt big. Deciding to study at Victoria University in Australia was certainly a big moment for him. “From there I went on to study hotel management in Melbourne and it were my culinary professors who introduced me to the kitchen,” says Kwatra, “My desire to create food, stems from the fact that I was exposed to so many things to eat in Melbourne, the city that churns out the best food in the world.”
Eating out in the city helped him create new things and perhaps that’s why Kwatra’s favourite cooking style is Modern Australian. “I’d experiment with a lot of Asian cuisine there and use several techniques. One of my favourites was definitely Molecular Gastronomy and use it in plenty while cooking here.”
Clean flavours, fresh produce – that’ the USP Kwatra follows. Very in tune with the local flavours, Tanveer has even invented the Mishti Éclair – a combination of classic Indian and French flavours.
Ofcouse a lot of his inspiration stems from the fact that he has the opportunity to work with some great Michelin star chefs including Fergus Henderson, April Bloomfield and Dieter Muller. “Travelling and seeing what the others were up to changed the way I looked at food. And I think 8 years of travelling from Australia to Fiji and back home, made me want to expose people to all that I knew,” he says.
But all that apart, what Tanveer truly is, is a trendsetter. La Riviera, the French Noveau cusine restaurant,, or his baby, as he likes to call it already made a big splash when it launched in 2012. A favourite with the Delhi Gourmet Club, it even earned him the title of “Chef Leader of the Year”. Now with the revamp on full swing, Tanveer is looking forward to launching a brand new avatar of his baby.
So what are the five things he’d like to tell BetterButter fans?
1. One of the things that really troubles me is the way we cook on the pan. Here’s what should ideally be done – heat the pan and let it smoke, only then add the oil. This way you’ll make sure that you use very limited oil and the food does not stick.
2. Go easy on the seasoning. Taste at every step so that you have a good idea about what you really want the dish to taste like. You can always add more seasoning later.
3. If you’re baking something – never mess with the recipes. Five grams here or there can make a big difference to the final outcome.
4. Defrost things naturally – if you’re making something tomorrow, take it out of the freezer and let it defrost in the refrigerator. Don’t refreeze unless you can cook it and put it back.
5.Embrace root to tip cooking. Use the whole herb instead of just the leaves. Use the peels or oranges or apple to provide aromatics to a dish. Use carrot tops or broccoli stalks to spice up a salad.
Meanwhile find his foodbook here on BetterButter.