CHEF OF THE WEEK
This chef’s life has been a crazy rollercoaster ride. Born and raised in Bhopal, he decided to become a chef at the age of 17. His passion and dreams were too big for his city. He left his house at the age of 18 to follow his dream and there was no looking back. Soon, Anas Qureshi had armed himself with a diploma in food production from American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute. This took him far enough to be a recipient of the Manjeet Singh Gill chef of the year award at HCMI, Chandigarh and a gold medalist in culinary arts from Culinary Academy of India.
Training under the best chefs in the country, he worked at leading hotel chains like ITC Group of hotels and Taj Hotel Resorts and Palaces.
After working for three years at Taj Palace New Delhi as a chef de partie he felt hotels was not what he was made for. He wanted to be a free bird so he started a gourmet food truck and also consulted with a couple of restaurants in Delhi-NCR. With strong roots in Indian cuisine topped with skills in modern European cuisine, his art is best described as rustic-refined.
In a candid conversation, he talks more about himself and his work:
Your philosophy on food
Preparing food is a creative expression for me, and it’s a deeply fulfilling act to nourish and feed my family. Working with food for the last eight years has also been the way I’ve sustained myself financially. It has blossomed into a full-blown passion. Through all of my years of preparing food, I’ve also become well immersed in the food world. This has helped garner a profound understanding of how the food I eat literally becomes me.
It’s my belief and approach that the location and season depict what should be harvested, and therefore consumed. As the seasons change and different ingredients become available, I work to weave them into my daily creations. Each ingredient comes to the kitchen with a different quality, feel, flavor, and phytochemistry, and these characteristics greatly influence the way I prepare a dish. I apply a variety of food preparation techniques to preserve the bounty of the seasons, including curing, fermenting and pickling. These preservation techniques allow me to enjoy locally available ingredients months beyond their season.
Your favourite cuisine
I have always been attached with my roots and one cuisine that keeps inspiring me is the Indian regional cuisine which I call the street cuisine.
There are a few chefs I would like to mention who played a big part during my culinary journey:
Chef Rajiv Dutta my first chef mentor, who made me realise my worth when I was a budding chef. In my early days, his guidance and support made my core strong so that I was ready for the real world…
Chef Priyam Chatterjee, my dear friend, more like an elder brother. He inspired me to think like
Chef Grant Achatz, the guy behind the world famous restaurant Alinea. I have never met him but his work and thought process inspires me to push my limits.
Your favourite spice
I love cumin not only for its versatility in the kitchen, but also because of the many health benefits it offers.
Your hot selling dish
Laal Maas Bajra Taco and Pav Bhaji Fondue.
Lessons learnt in the kitchen
Patience is the most valuable lesson that kitchens have taught me. The trick is to keep breathing, no matter what happens. Every day is a new day and we should treat it like one… Rewards come but at the right time and a chef should not get disheartened.
How do you like to de-stress?
For me the best way to de-stress is to meet friends and share our lives and bond over good food.
What are you passionate about?
There is only one passion that I have, which is cooking good food and creating a whole new dining experience.
Last meal on earth, what would you choose?
Whole mutton raan cooked by my mom with rumali roti.
Kulfi Falooda Pannacotta
Full Cream Milk 2 litre
Sugar 170 g
Saffron 10-15 strands
Green Cardamom 4
Rich cream 200 ml
Condense milk 70 ml
Pista 21 g
Agar agar 20 g
Basil Seeds 70 g
Falooda Noodles 70 g
Roohafza 140 ml
– Boil milk over slow flame till it reduces to half its quantity
– Add sugar, green cardamom, rich cream, condensed milk and saffron and boil it a little more
– Once the mix is reduced to 1/3 its quantity add agar agar to it and set it in a desired mould and refrigerate.
– Soak basil seeds and Falooda noodles separately
– Once the mix is set, demould it and serve with basil seeds, Falooda noodles and Rooh Afza.
– Garnish with pistachio and edible flowers.