Concoction Of Flavours: Chef Tarun Sibal
Being a global food freak with an expertise of 15 years in the hospitality industry, tell us about your culinary journey?
It was in my genes. I belong to the first catering family of Delhi, and I was hardwired to do this. Relationship with food grew with my mother’s kitchen and her terrace garden where the best seasonal produce came from. I remember making jams, pickles, ketchup, and squash with her while I was young. I graduated from IHM Pusa and started as a kitchen management trainee at the India Habitat Centre in 2003. A designation of a sous chef, and an MBA degree later, I started working with coveted international food and beverage boards such as the French Ministry of Agriculture, The Meat and Livestock Association of Australia, and the Irish Food Board. While working with One Fine Meal, I was the co-founder and culinary director at Café Staywoke, a gourmet casual restaurant and after that, I worked as a consultant for many restaurants including Sidecar, Loft, and Street Storyss. I am soon planning to launch my own venture, Titlie in Goa.
You have brought the innovative concept of boutique catering to light with the launch of One Fine Meal. What was the inspiration behind the same?
I looked beyond the rules of the catering domain to develop a fresh storyline and ‘the unedited version of the story is One Fine Meal’. It has been conceived to bring the best of food and beverage experiences to the catering domain. The understanding of food and its ecosystem, taste, operations, service, and hospitality along with an intimate approach and guest orientation forms the core of One Fine Meal.
What can we expect in terms of cuisine and flavours?
Traditional delicacies, lost recipes, nouveau Indian and regional cuisine, world food, oriental affair, Mediterranean food sojourn, street grubs, among others, are all a part of One Fine Meal’s repertoire.
In your opinion, what is more, challenging for a chef, following technique or retaining authentic flavours?
It’s a combination of both, in today’s time you simply can’t follow the techniques and ignore the flavours. Retaining the flavours and remaining true to the dish are crucial.
Do you think food critics in India are justifying their work?
Yes, they do have a big influence on the market for food and beverage of any brand. There are many senior food critics who understand the nerve of the food and make it a point to highlight the authenticity of dishes prepared by chefs. But, these days because of many social media apps, most of the influencers are misusing it to pull down the image of any brand.
If the world was coming to an end and you had to cook one last meal, what would it be?
I have always celebrated food. Hence, my last cook will be a Sunday brunch. A big antipasti station and Indian grill section, a korma and khameeri, and chaat. A raw bar with ceviche and carpaccio.
Lastly, what will be your word of advice to aspiring chefs?
With competition being tough, it is imperative, to be honest, and willing to learn every detail required in the hospitality industry. If you do what you love, you will surely love what you do.