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CHEF OF THE WEEK

With over a decade’s experience in the hospitality industry, Chef Kapil Chauhan has honed his skills handling operations for food halls, a la carte, banquets and buffets. In his new role at Soul Pantry, Chef Kapil shoulders the responsibility of overseeing the overall operations of the kitchen, leading the kitchen team and crafting new menus.

Chef Kapil started his career with Taj Usha Kiran Palace in the year 2008 after completing his degree from Institute of Hotel Management, Gwalior. He has worked with well-known brands like Royal Orchid Hotels, Taj Hotels, Hyatt Regency Ludhiana, before associating with Andaz Delhi, where Kapil joined as the Sous Chef during the pre-opening phase of the hotel. At the hotel’s FoodHall AnnaMaya, he assisted the Executive Chef in overall kitchen operations and administration. He was also responsible for taking care of all the provisional and perishable requirements on a daily basis as well as managing food costs and other departmental expenses.

In his present position as Sous Chef of the new outfit of Andaz, ie Soul Pantry, Chef Kapil is at the helm utilising his sound knowledge on managing, controlling and training the staff and at the same time keeping a track of special requests from guests.

In a candid conversation, he talks more about himself and his work:

How would you describe yourself?

A creative person who can rustle up a dish even when there are not enough ingredients to cook and make use of what’s available.

What is your philosophy of cooking?

Prepare the dish that satisfies all the diner’s senses.

Had you not been doing this, then what?

I would have been a mechanical engineer

What is your source of inspiration?

Reading cookbooks, watching culinary videos online and keeping up with the latest trends and dining out.

What skills are necessary to be a good chef?

Attention to detail, business acumen, sense of hygiene and cleanliness, creative mind, quick decision maker, motivational, multitasker, team player.

How do you de-stress?

By cooking

If you had to describe yourself in one word?

Creative

How do you rate yourself as a chef?

Perfectionist

Fav cuisine?

Italian

Fav spice?

Star anise

Fav dish?

Home-made pasta

Best tool?

Knife

Fav restaurant/food joint?

Bernardi’s restaurant

Your favourite diner?

Whoever walks into my restaurant

Your hot selling item?

Levantine latbread

Lessons learnt in the kitchen?

To be well organised and not leave anything for last minute.

Last meal on earth: What would you choose?

I would just ask for a home- cooked meal               

Recipe for Levantine Flat Bread Amaranth Dough

Recipe for Dough:

Amaranth flour                        140g

Italiana politana Whole wheat  260g

Fresh yeast                              4g

Salt                                         12g

Gluten                                     5g

Extra virgin olive oil                 20g

Sour apple water (needs to be
fermented for 2 days at room
temperature)                             220g

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in the dough machine except for the water and mix the ingredients together at slow speed.
  2. Start adding water, small quantity at a time; turn the machine on medium speed for the gluten to develop.
  3. Needle the dough until the gluten is fully developed, take it out of the machine. Always keeping in mind, the dough should not exceed the temperature of 28°c.
  4. Rest the dough for half an hour.
  5. Divide the dough into pieces weighing 200g each, shape the dough into tight balls and place them in the plastic container, rest them in the chiller for at least 10 hours.

Recipe for Toppings

Chickpea                                 200 gm

Avocado for base                      250 gm

Sumac powder                         50 gm

Fresh mint leaves                     20 gm

Fried chickpea                         50 gm

Lemon juice                             25 gm

Avocado cube for garnishing   50  gm

Homemade Soul seasoning     10 gm

Tahini paste                             3 tbsp

Olive oil                                   2 tbsp

Method:

  1. Boil chickpea well, drain water, take 2 medium ripped avocados, peel and scoop out, then mix with chickpea.
  2. Blend together and add lime juice, salt, tahini paste, olive oil.