Chef Prasad Metrani; Executive Chef; Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
How did it all start? Share your culinary journey with us
My journey in the kitchen started in late 90’s in a place named Dahisar, Mumbai. We used to have God’s festival named Datta Jayanti in our colony. All the young lads used to stay overnight to help prep for vegetables etc as we used to provide food for a day to all nearby colonies. It was there that I knew, culinary would be my profession.
Cooking for almost 1500+ people for 3-4 hours in the afternoon was an amazing experience. However, the real ignition to become chef developed when I started my Hotel Management course at Insititute of Hotel Management in Hyderabad. If I am a successful chef today then it is because of IHM, Hyderabad Professors and definitely Chef PR Sandilyan and Chef Vivek Ganti. These 2 chefs are my inspiration which still drives me to work in professional hotel kitchens.
What are your earliest memories of the kitchens you worked in?
Earliest memories would be the evening hours which I spent as stagier in small famous Hyderabadi biryani center named Café Sheraton in Bagh Amberpet… I was fascinated by the boy outside the restaurant who used to make amazing roomali rotis. I worked in that place for 2 months to gain the expertise in these thin soft bread which was swirled in the air to get its own shape. Also my 2 years of stint after college where I use to work at the in-house college restaurant open to guest in the evening named The Chefs Court- a 33 cover restaurant serving multicuisine food with the expertise of Mr. Vivek Ganti & Mr. P R Sandilyan.
A dish your patrons/guest love
Presently- Laal Maans on my menu- Fiery Lamb preparation with chilies and smoked with coal for great flavor, an amazing dish with roots of a recipe from Jodhpur.
A dish that you love but do not have on your menu
Tournedos Rossini- one of my favorite cooking dish which I learned during my stint in Seabourn Cruise liners under Chef Thomas Keller in R2 restaurant at Seabourn Odyssey.
What according to you does it take to become a successful chef?
Hard work; Patience; Knowledge; Team Respect; Teamwork; Integrity; Passion for Excellence; Joy at work; Accountability.
What advice would you give to a young culinary student?
Stick to basics, innovate on timely basis and keep yourself updated with latest trends and techniques. Food journey is super extensive and vast ocean of knowledge, one life of a chef is not enough to learn in this beautiful and creative profession. Keep learning on daily basis to love what you do.
What instruments/ equipment/devices you cannot imagine working without?
Chef’s Knife for sure.
Your favorite ingredient is..
Truffles/ Saffron/ Meats/ Chili/ Seafood- as its so much in abundance and with no limits…. Every ingredient is special to me…. My new exploration is on Hyperlocal ingredients and lost ingredients from home cooking from small towns of India.
What books should every chef read?
I have around 100+ culinary books… but with those said and done I love Culinaria Series a lot…..