"I cannot imagine cooking food without good quality butter" - Kunal Kumar, Head of Culinary Transformation, Ibis Hotels India
How did it all start? Share your culinary journey with us
My culinary journey began at home as I enjoyed reading interesting cookbooks. My favourite was this Chinese cuisine book with pictures and ingredients really fascinated me as a child. Noticing my passion for cooking, my family allowed me to cook Sunday breakfasts for everyone and I loved cooking dosas and omelettes for them. My love for cooking eventually helped me pursue hotel management at Institute of Hotel Management (IHM) where I learned that kitchen life is fun and satisfying. This eventually helped me secure my first job, where with the help of a few inspirational Chefs, I felt at home and found the comfort zone of my life.
What are your earliest memories of the kitchens you worked in
I can recall tasting the dishes we made in IHM and the endless trials while creating a new dish or an entire menu Cleaning the kitchen late in night and spring cleaning task at the end of gruelling yet successful events/ festivals.
A dish your patrons/guest love
Although, our guests enjoy everything we have on the menu for Spice It, Tandoori Chicken Momo is the hot favourite amongst the diners.
A dish that you love but do not have on your menu
We are curating a new menu for Spice It at ibis Gurgaon Golf Course Road and Coorgi Pandi Curry, with Akki Oti, currently not part of the menu, will be a dish to indulge in.
What according to you does it take to become a successful chef?
It might be a cliché, but I believe that love and passion for your work makes you a successful person. For a chef, practice, focus and being up-to-date about the culinary industry is a must.
What advice would you give to a young culinary student?
I want to tell the young chefs that figure out what you really enjoy doing and then spend time to find a way to achieve it.
What instruments/ equipment/devices you cannot imagine working without?
My favourites are a knife, chopping board, rolling pin and fire
Your favourite ingredient is…
I cannot imagine cooking food without a good quality butter.
Name chefs you find amazing or chefs work you admire
I really admire
Ferran Adria Acosta, a Spanish chef from Catalonia
Alain Ducasse a French chef
Gaggan Anand, an Indian chef based in Bangkok
Stéphane Klein, baker and designer from France
What books should every chef read?
I would suggest the following
Professional Chef – The Culinary Institute of America
Grand Livres de Cuisine - Alain Ducasse ,
Modernist Cuisine- Maxime Bilet and Nathan Myhrvold,
Larousse Gastronomique - Prosper Montagné