Chef Nishant Choubey, Executive Sous Chef of Dusit Devrana, is constantly exploring new flavours and cuisines. He rose to glory and fame after being selected as one of the few to attend Master Chef classes at the World Gourmet Summit in Singapore.
Also, Nishant was one from among the six chefs selected from all over world to train at the John Folse Culinary Institute of America in Louisiana.
Having worked at many prestigious and coveted Hotels like the Taj Group, Oberoi Group, Jumeirah Beach Hotel (Dubai) and then restaurants like Olive Bar & Kitchen, LAP (Arjun Rampal), Olive Beach, Cibo (Rohit Bal), he is now heading Dusit Devarana.
He has also won the first prize at the Mango festival organized by Indian Trade Association Food & Nightlife magazine to facilitate 10 iconic chefs of the world. Chef Nishant was chosen to cook for the event, where he created dishes from South American, French and German cuisines.
Recently Chef Choubey co-hosted a famous cookery show on Zee Business called `The Great Chefs of India` in 2013.
In an exclusive interview with Anindita Dev, he talks about his journey so far and his experience with some of the Bollywood stars.
What inspired you to pursue cooking professionally?
Right from the start of my professional career I have always liked to do things differently. I used to watch shows and read books and one of my favourite chefs was the legendary chef Charlie Trotter. I have been extremely impressed with him and like to emulate him. He has been a great motivation who has influenced my career to a great extent.
What has been the proudest moment in your career so far?
My proudest moment was when I got an opportunity to go and learn the Creole Cajun cuisine at the John Folse Culinary Institute, Thibodaux. I was selected to represent India in US. It made me immensely proud and happy.
What is your philosophy on food and dining?
My food and dining philosophy is simplicity mixed with creativity. I believe in serving fresh food. I am delighted about the fact that at Dusit Devarana, I have a vegetable garden where I get organic vegetables. There is nothing better than serving the same to the guests.
What goes into being able to create a dish?
I would say passion and killer instinct to make people happy and rave about the creativity of a dish.
What is the biggest challenge facing the hotel business today?
One of the major challenges is the consistent supply of the raw materials. To ensure quality it’s very important to get the right kind of supply on a daily basis. In the current scenario where the rupee is sinking against the dollar, the suitable vendors are not ready to get into a contract system. Hence, to combat the challenge we have started growing most of the raw material at our farm house and are not depending much on the vendors. The other challenge is the price. Since the commodities are getting expensive, the food industry is getting directly affected. The ingredients are costly, and at times it becomes a huge challenge to justify the same to our guests.
If you weren’t a chef, what do you think you’d be doing?
I always wanted to get into politics and do something good for our country.
If you could cook for any celeb who would you chose?
Sachin Tendulkar, I feel he has achieved a remarkable landmark and made our country proud. He is honest and risen to the top with hard work. I feel he is an example for the aspiring professionals in any field.
Any Bollywood stars that you have cooked for?
I have cooked for many including Saif Ali Khan who had a burger (slow-cooked chicken burger) and complimented me saying it’s the best burger he has ever had. I have even had the chance to cook for Hrithik Roshan who gave an amazing feedback on our `angus tenderloin` and `corn-fed chicken breast`.
So, overall it was a great experience that I had with both.
What advice would you give to young chefs just getting started?
Sincerity and honesty towards work is very important for anyone who is looking to make a career as a chef. The key lies in positive attitude as well.