Chef Hemant Oberoi has taken the Indian culinary delight to greater heights. Talking to Restaurant India, he shares his experience of giving India the global curry experience.
What changes are happening in the Indian F&B industry in 2014 and beyond?
The Indian F&B industry is growing. In another 8-10 months, you will see new concepts coming in. I am working on a concept right now, which I do not want to disclose. I have spent two months in a particular country to go about the details involved in preparing the cuisine of that particular region. Doing something different has always been my belief.
How far we can innovate with a cuisine?
We can customise it, but we can’t pasteurise it. Most of the foreign chefs who have opened their restaurants in India are not successful because they do not understand Indian customers. The chicken tikka masala that they serve is totally different from what we eat in our own country. That’s where we have to play as a chef in bringing the innovation and I think, consistency will help you establish your restaurant. People will travel miles to eat good food, if you are serving it.
What all strategy a chef should apply in meeting the demands of customers?
Customers are always demanding. Customers’ tastes have evolved because they are well-travelled these days. So, we should go one step ahead and I think, customers will be happy with that.
How are you training young chefs at your restaurant to maintain the same standard?
It is becoming very difficult for us to find chefs with passion. Youngsters don’t have passion. They want to change their lifestyle and it doesn’t work like that. You have to learn the basics for some of the things. The skills do not come by reading a recipe, if everybody could learn this, then every person would have been a chef. But today’s kids don’t have passion and they end up making ‘curry in a hurry’.
What advise you would like to give to the budding chefs?
Passion and patience are the two words that need to be taken care of when entering the food business.
Share with us your journey in the world of food?
My journey has been extremely good. I have enjoyed every bit of my cooking and I still do not believe that 40 years have passed. I want to change the Indian map in global food spectrum. I want to export India in a different way, beyond the boundaries of biryani and tandoori chicken. I am working so much on temple cuisines and this year, we are covering 10 temples of India including Jagannath Temple, Puri, Tirupati, Shirdi, Golden Temple and Vaishno Devi amongst other.