Chef Ritesh Tulsian, Corporate Chef, Food Darzee speaks to TheChefConnect.com
Hi Chef! How did it all start? Share your culinary journey with us
I don’t really remember how all it started but all I can say is I was born to be a Chef. I was born in a Marwadi joint family. Born in this luxury I was exposed to lot of different food being cooked at my home by my Taiji, Mom & my Bhabhi. For us I believe there is no room for simple home cooked food, we binge on everything that is rich (ghee is never enough), full of flavor, aromatic spices & humongous portions. We start our meals with Desserts, that I guess says it all. Festivals were a treat; would be celebrated with amazing food offerings for at least a week in our household. As my dad is from Delhi, precisely from the birth place of street cuisine in India-Chandni Chowk & Mom from Indore, both cities being well known for their culinary offerings; I was exposed to some great varieties on offer during my vacations that were spent in either of these towns.
Professionally it all started when I joined the Rizvi College of Hospitality Management & Catering Operations, Mumbai in 2001. During my tenure I was selected for my internship at The Taj Mahal, Mumbai. As luck would have it I trained in all different areas of Culinary Department for 22 weeks out there & soon I released that this is where I belong & as they say ‘Rest is History’.
Even after cooking in different kitchens across different countries for more than a decade as every chef would have it, I feel very happy & satisfied when my food is appreciated more than anything else. Sounds childlike but I guess that what sets we Chefs from the rest of the world, Good Food is defined as something that can bring a smile on the face of its consumer & its creator.
What are your earliest memories of the kitchens you worked in
Cleaning Walk-in chillers, dry stores, peeling heaps & heaps loads of onions, potatoes, garlic, etc., etc., etc. getting few cuts & burns & yes running like a headless chicken when suddenly the minimum guarantee no. of pax increases at the last minute for a wedding function & trying to fulfill the demands of hungry guests. Long hours, sore legs, tired body but after all this a very active mind. Learned it very early “A Chef’s body needs rest but not his Mind’.
A dish your patrons/guest love
Spaghetti Aglio Olio e` Pepperoncino. Though considered a very simple dish from Italy, technically needs a lot of precision to get it right.
A dish that you love but do not have on your menu
Sri Lankan Kottu Roti
What according to you does it take to become a successful chef?
Passion, Perseverance, Commitment towards his craft, Leaner’s attitude & Entrepreneurial approach to get his menus right.
What advice would you give to a young culinary student?
Do not join this field as it sounds very Glamorous. Be ready to face the Heat. Hone your basic culinary skill sets, learn every day something new, be open to share your knowledge when you grow up the ladder & explore the world, nothing teaches you more than travel.
What instruments/ equipment/devices you cannot imagine working without?
A very sharp Knife & that’s about it
Your favorite ingredient is…
Name chefs you find amazing or chefs work you admire
The Legend Himself, The Grand Master Chef of India- Chef Hemant Oberoi & Godfather of Modern cooking, Chef Marco Pierre White
What books should every chef read?
For Basics: Modern Cookery by Thangam Philip.
For Lost Indian Culinary legacy: Daawat & Prashad by Czar of Indian Cuisine, Jiggs Kalra.
For French Cuisine: Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.
For Overall Development: Professional Chef -The Art of Fine Cooking by Chef Arvind Saraswat.