Breaking away from cookie-cutter career, they make a mark in culinary space
Breaking away from the cookie-cutter career and treading the road less travelled, they have come a long way in the world of Culinary Arts.
Breaking away from the cookie-cutter career and treading the road less travelled, they have come a long way in the world of Culinary Arts. Executive Chef Krishna Kishore and Executive Sous Chef Puthi Srikanth Reddy at Novotel Visakhapatnam Varun Beach share what it means to make a mark in the chef's profession and how rewarding their profession has evolved over the years. In an exclusive interview with The Hans India, they talk about how the hospitality industry has gone through an unprecedented metamorphosis in recent years and how aspiring chefs have myriad job opportunities in the profession.
Executive Chef, Culinary Krishna Kishore:
Krishna Kishore's love for food has nudged him to spend longer hours in the kitchen. It is the place where he soaked in different flavours of dishes made by his mom, relished them and enjoyed the process of cooking. "I love experimenting with food. When I realised that I not only enjoy eating but also love cooking and serving food, I decided to carve my own path in the culinary space. When your passion turns into your profession, you end up enjoying every bit of it and stride forward. In the process, life becomes more meaningful and interesting," he explains.
Having associated with Accor Hotel Group for the past 11 years, including seven years with Novotel Techpark in Bengaluru and three years with Novotel Visakhapatnam Varun Beach, Kishore firmly believes in accentuating cultural identity of the food. "There is a need to include different heritage recipes because culture plays a major part of food. Cultural expression through food not only allows us to get exposed to new flavours, but also gives us a perception as to how other cultures differ from our own," opines the Executive Chef.
Being part of an interesting and demanding profession has its own pros and cons. Sharing his challenging experience, Krishna Kishore says, "There is a constant urge to maintain the standards and reputation of the hotel by keeping the morale of the staff intact without hurting their ego and ensuring things in place."
Creativity, organisational skills, willingness to accept constructive criticism, ability to handle stressful environments and paying attention to detail are some of the qualities, Krishna Kishore, who aspires to open his own restaurant, says would help a chef to stand apart.
Puthi Srikanth Reddy, Executive Sous Chef, Novotel Varun Beach:
Puthi Srikanth Reddy's bond with food began pretty early. When his mother P Subbalaxmi cooked both Bengali and Andhra cuisines with ease, Srikanth not only loved the outcome but also lent a keen ear to listen to what she had imparted while cooking. "We used to live in Calcutta then (Kolkata now) as my father P Visweswara Reddy was working then. My mother had learnt to make fish curry in Bengali style which we were extremely fond of. Every masala powder that went inside a dish was hand-pounded by her and had a distinct flavour," recalls Srikanth fondly about his late mother who had left him a treasure trove of recipes which include some of her rare, traditional preparations.
From commis to Executive Sous Chef, Srikanth says that it has been an eventful 16-year-long journey of dishing out, tossing and seasoning a variety of delicacies in top hotels, including Rixos Bab Al Bahr in UAE, ibis Kolkata Rajarhat in Kolkata, ibis Chennai City Centre, Chennai, Hotel Taj Deccan in Hyderabad, Ramada Caravela Beach Resort, Goa and Welcomhotel by ITC Hotels Grand Bay in Visakhapatnam.
Gaining a rich work experience, Srikanth says that the toughest aspect is catering to the expectation of the connoisseurs. "These days, customers are well travelled and aware of diverse cuisines which eventually had set high expectations when they dine out. Meeting them at times turns out to be quite challenging," he confesses.
Adept in dishing out Western and Mexican cuisines, Srikanth says he takes delight in menu engineering and conducting food festivals as well. "Apparently, there is so much of a craze for South Indian food both in India and in foreign countries. Foreign guests who are not used to consuming spicy food ask for a lighter version of South Indian delicacies," shares Vizianagaram-based chef.
For any dish, Srikanth says, love and passion sum up to main ingredients. In an ever-evolving culinary profession, he says that there are myriad options available for an aspiring chef, including cruise line, corporate houses and educational institutions.
A few years down the line, Srikanth aspires to operate his own restaurant and reach out to people through diverse cuisines.