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CHEF OF THE WEEK

Chef Sudhanshu Sharma, the Brand Chef at Foxtrot, Azure Hospitality was fascinated by his mother’s cooking and that turned out to be his inspiration to become a chef. He went on to study hotel management from Dr Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management in Chandigarh. From a management trainee at InterContinental Eros Hotel to working in several positions at well known hotels, he has achieved growth in his career by hard work and his passion for food.  Wanting to run his own kitchen, his first step into the restaurant business was with Azure itself, where he has successfully worked for over two years. His culinary philosophy is: ‘Work with what you have’. Instead of following recipes set by others, he likes to experiment with what he can find in the kitchen, stating that being a chef is all about being creative. His favourite cuisine to work with as well as eat is Italian. He believes that traditional style of cooking is making a comeback, it’s time to go “back to the basics” — simple food with delicious flavours served in a new and distinctive manner.

In a candid conversation, he talks about himself :

Philosophy on food:

Cooking comes from the heart; no matter the ingredients, the simplest of them all can work like magic if blended with passion — a simple thing my mother taught me. Besides, understanding of flavours and creating a balance is critical.

Your favourite cuisine:

Italian, and South India

Your idol:

When it comes to cooking, my mother taught me a whole lot, which has brought me where I am today.

At work, Chef Balaji Natarajan, Executive Chef – Park Hyatt Chennai, has been a mentor who led by example and taught well.

Your favourite spice:

Star anise

Your hot selling dish:

Goa Shack Prawns from Foxtrot

Lessons learnt in the kitchen:

I have learnt to work under tremendous pressure, and ensuring I can push my team to the last mile by leading by example; over the years, I have also become fairly good at playing on people’s strengths and weaknesses.

How do you de-stress?

Listening to music while driving, or chilling with a movie and popcorn with phone off.

How do you define yourself?

I am a self-made man, defined by challenges and proving others wrong; self-motivated and passionate about cooking, I enjoy being the underdog at times.

Last meal on earth, what would you choose?

Linguini/ aglio e olio with wild mushrooms.                 

Recipe

Ghee Chicken Tacos

Tortilla sheet (3 pcs cut from 1) – 1 piece

Chicken ghee roast mixture (40g each) – 120 grams

Mint mayo – 12 grams

Coconut chiplets – 2.5 grams

Ghati masala – 5 grams

Fried curry leaf – 2 pieces

Radish micro greens – 2 grams

Madras chili fry – 3 grams

Curry mayo – 12 grams

Ghee Roast Chicken Mix 

l Heat ghee in a pan, add whole spices (crushed black peppercorn 2g, cloves, 1gm, green cardamom 2g), then add chicken (120g) and saute.

l Keep the chicken soaked in ghee, pick out whole spices.

l Heat ghee in a pan and add mustard seed (2g), and wait till crackle. Add curry leaves (4), garlic (3g), ginger chili (1g) and saute. Add cooked chicken. Add onion (30g) till golden brown. Add the dry masala powders (garam masala 1.5g, jeera powder 1.5g, coriander 1.5g) and cook.

l Add tamarind pulp (15g), coconut milk (45 ml), and reduce till gravy is thick.

l Add chopped coriander (2.5g), salt to taste and lemon juice; remove from heat.

Steps

l Cut the tortilla sheet with a round cutter as a standard size to get three pieces.

l Heat these on a pan to golden brown.

l Cook ghee roast chicken in a pan.

l Place the tortilla on a plate, apply mint mayo.

l Add curry mayo and mint mayo on the sheet and add the hot ghee roast chicken mixture.

l Add the coconut chiplets, fried curry leaves, fried Madras chili chopped.

l Garnish with microgreens, and ghati masala on the side.

l Serve.