(Notes from a young culinarian ,who is at home in the kitchen with its sights, sounds and redolent smells)
-Dhruv Ram Mohan IX D
A vivid memory I retain is the very first beverage I made in the kitchen: a cup of tea at the age of seven. It was a different feelingaltogether as I had seen my mother cooking for all those years and she was the source of my inspiration .My motivethen, was to help my mother in the kitchen, but as years passed, cooking has transformed into a passion.
My favourite chef is Vikas Khanna. I admire the way he alters common place recipes into delectable dishes. I attempt to emulate him in the kitchen. I have recreated the traditional Maharashtrian sweet dish Shrikhand , to include two different flavours and named it Duplet Shrikhand. I have also tried my hands at the most crowd pleasing savoury during monsoon: pakodas of all kinds. One of the most challenging sweets I have ever made is chocolates, because they have some proportional requirements and one should not get it wrong. I thrive on criticism, given with good intent, that come from people who have sampled my humble homemade gastronomic delights.
Last year I found myself alone at home. I took to cooking for myself with quiet confidence.I have cooked curd rice, khichadi, kadhi rice, paneer parathas, dosas and the like, which are healthy and easy to make.
I experienced a serendipitous moment while vacationing in Kodumunda, in native Kerala this year. An idea struck,as I sat in my garden and chanced upon a tree laden with raw mangoes.Why not make AAM PANAA and sell it? Unfortunately nobody turned up to buy the drink.I let some curious onlookers savour the aampanaa. This gesture earned me beaming smiles and a thumbs up. The same folks came with their friends and neighbours and this time they arrived to buy the drink. I earned hundred rupees that day. I was euphoric, not because I earned hundred rupees, but for introducing aampanaa to the local people who otherwise drink butter milk, jeera soda and lemon juice to beat the oppressive and scorching summer heat.That’s when I realised that if I know how to cook then I can survive anywhere in the world.
Though I usually work alone in the kitchen, I would want my mother to be with me when I am trying something new. I enjoy the tempting Chinese, Italian and Indian cuisines.The kitchen school has taught me that patience, focus and a clear view of what you are making are a must to excel in the culinary arts. During a brief but engaging conversation with a chef from J. W. Mariott , I learnt to be an executive chef in a leading hotel kitchen is no mean task.