Chef Amit Dash has been delighting the patrons with his mouth-watering repertoire for over a decade. His avante garde creations reflect the freshness of modern cooking replete with vibrant colours and a distinct burst of Indian flavors. Chef Dash began his culinary career in Chennai as a Hotel operations trainee at hotel ITC Park Sheraton Towers, he has been a passionate customer champion with his genuine enthusiasm and undeniable talent. Chef Amit Dash worked his way up in the kitchen and has perfected his art in many prestigious hotels such as Courtyard by Marriott (Mumbai), Taj Connemara (Chennai) and ITC Hotel Park Sheraton Towers (Chennai). With an extensive experience in planning, supervising and managing the entire kitchen operations including procurement and maintenance of inventory levels for smooth functioning of all operations, he has sought out challenging and fast paced opportunities so that he could quickly learn new techniques. He has undergone rigorous training under the renowned Indian chef Imtiaz Qureshi and broaden his knowledge on authentic Awadhi recipes. A Gold medalist in Authentic Indian Regional Cuisine Contest by the Indian Federation of Culinary Association at the Chennai trade center in the cleanliness and hygiene category, he is a master of his trade and a passionate customer champion.
In an exclusive interview with Amogh Tiwari from Salt and Sandals, Chef Amit Dash answers a few rapid fire questions. In accordance with his style of cooking, his answers are crisp and to the point.
Know Thy Masters Chef Amit Dash
Amogh Tiwari (AT): What drives you to be in this industry?
Amit Dash (AD): I have always been a food lover. Being a Chef is a very creative & interesting job which is the main reason for me to be in this industry. My journey since the beginning has been quite wonderful with great learning and creative experiments and the exposure received has been immense.
AT: Where do you draw you inspiration from?
Amit Dash : Inspiration comes from everything you’re surrounded with, be it the people you work with or the environment that you live in. I draw my inspiration from positive people and their wonderful stories of home, love and food because that in turn reflects in my food as well.
AT: What would be your advice to upcoming Chefs?
Amit Dash :Success is synonym to hard work. Anyone beginning his career in the kitchen needs to value quality, creativity and above all have passion for food.
AT: What is the most essential item in your kitchen?
Amit Dash: The most essential item in my kitchen would be my knife which was gifted to me by my mentor and is of immense value to me.
AT: What do you cook at home that you never cook at the Hotel?
AD: While at home, I relish simple flavors- hence ‘tadke wali dal’ with ‘Jeera rice’ and ‘raita’ is what I crave after a long day at work.
AT: In today’s struggling economy, what steps have you taken to continue to attract consumers in??
AD:As a team we believe in innovation and we regularly challenge ourselves on our creativity. The world of food is ever evolving and keeping an eye on trends as well as curating the passion we have keeps us going. This is in turn wins us loyalty and love from our guests. We also challenge ourselves to engage with the customers of the future and we recently hosted the second edition for Kids Master Class. This saw dozens of talented children turn up for the ten classes that were planned for these kids between the ages of 7-15 years.
We enjoy building new food concepts and tailor making promotions that our guests keep looking forward to.
AT: If you were to open a new restaurant, what style of food would you pick and where would you want it to be located?
AD: For my restaurant, I would love for it to be situated in an open space, surrounded by trees, lush greenery and beautiful mood lighting. The restaurant would serve culinary specials from across the world; however with my own secret twist. I enjoy experimenting on cuisines and it’s amazing to see what a few sprinkles of spices and seasonings can do. The presentation would be rustic and simple.
AT: When you’re at home or someone else cooks for you, do people feel pressured to cook you something fancy because you’re a big a chef yourself?
AD: During get-togethers or family evenings the atmosphere is of love; laughter and togetherness and since my family relishes home cooked food that is what we serve. Whilst there is no pressure on me to cook something special every time; I do enjoy making one dish that keeps everyone excited and looking out for our next evening together.
AT: Mention one project which is very close to your heart?
AD:I have recently been involved in the design, décor and menu for a new restaurant to be launched at my hotel. ‘The Courtyard Grill’ is very much in line with my dream restaurant and having worked on every stage of its journey – right from the flooring, to décor, music and lighting I am truly passionate about making this restaurant a success, The menu too is very close to my heart and we have spent time researching and then experimented with getting the right flavors for each dish. The final menu has a selection of grills, steaks and kebabs made from the finest ingredients along with homemade marinades, chutneys and relishes. There has been great feedback received from our guests which in turn is great motivation for me as well as the team.