Simply Irresistible: Vanshika Bhatia
You have mastered the elegant art of French cooking, what inspired you to become a chef?
It began as a stress-buster. Whenever my studies would feel hard, I would turn to cooking to unwind as well as centre and focus myself. Eventually, I started baking and the passion to create just grew from there.
Having worked around the globe, how were you able to blend the traditional Indian spices with the diverse style of cooking abroad?
Indian spices and ingredients are something I grew up with, it’s embedded in my memory. French techniques came later in my life, as I trained for it. Joining the two is what I decided to specialise in.
All your dishes look contemporary, but they are majorly constructed on simple ingredients. How do you champion local produce in such a modern way?
I have been trained since I was a kid to always eat seasonal, even if there is meat added to the recipe. For instance, the “mutton gourd” dish on the menu. My Nanaji has been making mutton with tinda since I can remember, maybe it was to increase the quantity of the dish since mutton is expensive or maybe it was to make us eat vegetables but as a result, it stayed with me.
What is your favourite cuisine, and if you could only have one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Home-cooked food is something I can eat every day.
What is the proudest achievement of your career thus far?
Opening my restaurant at the age of 25 has been the proudest moment of my life yet.
What do you have on the menu that excites you the most and what French techniques do you use to execute the recipes?
The jackfruit gourd dish at the moment is the most exciting. It’s a marriage of too many vegetables. I use the technique of braising and making a roulade.
What is your take on restaurant critics?
I think critics who know food, are well travelled and understand the behind the scenes are healthy for the restaurant since we get an outside view to things. But, they should really know their stuff before coming and judging professionals.
In your opinion, what are the cupboard essentials that all great chefs should make sure they have in their kitchen?
Good knives, sharpening stone, good quality pots and pans, and a silicon spatula.
Lastly, what advice would you give to someone who is contemplating joining the industry as a chef?
It’s a tough life but so much fun and satisfying if you are passionate and patient.