As they gear up for the festive season, from recreating butter rooster with tofu for Ranbir Kapoor to making Rajinikanth’s favorite payasam, the chefs speak about curated menus and signature dishes
Chef Sandhya S Kumar had a selection: board the flight and depart her valuable set of seven knives behind or keep again in Dharamshala. As private chef to Bollywood actor Jacqueline Fernandez, Sandhya had accompanied her to Himachal Pradesh for the taking pictures of Bhoot Police, when airport safety raised objection.
“I cannot do without them,” she says; every of her knives prices about ₹5,000. “Although Jacqueline tried to persuade them, the security was extremely suspicious about my serrated bread knife! Finally, I had to write an undertaking stating my profession, and that those were not weapons but a chef’s kit, before they let it be taken in cargo,” Sandhya provides.
As celebrities insist on contemporary, cooked meals that adhere to their diets, skilled private chefs with years of expertise in main eating places, usually change into a part of their entourage after they journey. Personal chefs are de rigueur in Hollywood, the place celebrities insist on sticking to strict diets when travelling or on shoots.
In India now, skilled private chefs are wanted, for their curated menus, signature dishes and talent to innovate with wholesome meals. Keerthy Suresh, for occasion, reportedly engaged a chef throughout the lockdown to provide you with wholesome meals for her.
The job comes with distinctive challenges. Harsh Dixit, Ranbir Kapoor’s private chef, talks about how he searched excessive and low for tomatoes in Bulgaria and likewise created a three-course meal for 12. The menu included 5 totally different sorts of dumplings, two Asian most important programs and one dessert, all cooked in a primary arrange with two small induction cook tops and a miniscule sink. “It is the challenge of coming up with flavourful food with local produce and serving it with finesse that makes it an interesting profession,” asserts Mumbai-based Harsh.
Leneesh Vaikom, Malayalam actor Mammootty’s private chef for 10 years, mentions that the star insists on oats puttu for lunch and maintains a strict vigil on his low-carb weight loss plan. “Mammookka hardly has any sweets and carbs. He is fond of seafood, especially certain varieties of fish like pearl spot. But he likes them curried and not fried,” says Leneesh, who now has his personal catering unit that provides movie items.
Harsh says whereas travelling with stars might sound romantic,there is a whole lot of arduous work concerned. It turns into harder when the accommodations they keep in both lack cooking amenities or don’t allow company to cook. “We have to make do with whatever kind of kitchen has been provided for us. And we do all the shopping and clean up the kitchen afterwards,” Harsh provides.
He says travelling with Ranbir and cooking with native produce is at all times an journey. “I now know Ranbir’s likes and dislikes and also how many calories he requires per meal. So, whether it is Bulgaria, Varanasi or Manali, I believe in sourcing local produce to ensure that it is fresh and I cook with that,” says Harsh, who has been working with the Bollywood star for over two years.
Not all stars get pleasure from experimenting with their diets, nonetheless, so chefs want to suppose up out-of-the-box options. Sandhya carried substances reminiscent of almond milk and walnut milk for Jacqueline. Their skilled coaching is useful when discovering revolutionary methods to create tasty, comforting meals for actors on diets. “For instance, it is the cream, butter, ghee and the cashew paste that make butter chicken a calorie-rich dish. But I have learnt to replicate these ingredients with tofu purée or yoghurt to come up with a butter chicken that is soaked in flavours, minus the calorie-rich elements. If served with garlic naan, the taste has almost the same flavour profile as butter chicken,” says Harsh.
A feast for Thalaivar
- Superstar Rajinikanth’s household has been inviting Chennai-based Arusuvai Caterers, led by Sridhar Natarajan, for all festivities in his home. Says Soumya Rameshan, who is Sridhar’s sister, “Rajini sir loves paal payasam with rice or ada, and ellu unda. For all festive occasions such as Deepavali and other poojas, he is particular that we cook the sweets and food at his home. So my brother and I go there with our team and utensils. While we make sweets such as ladoo and jangri, Rajini sir comes and tastes what we are making. He knows what he wants and has just that.”
- She provides, “Dosas are another favourite and so we have a live counter to serve him and his guests piping hot dosas from the tawa. He also enjoys vatha kuzhambu and saadam.”
Leneesh, on the different hand, travels with pouches of do-it-yourself masalas and powders, as Mammootty’s spouse, Sulfath Kutty, insists on him utilizing solely these in his cooking. Besides speciality masalas, each chef has a trusty package that they carry with them regardless of the place they go. Harsh travels with a spatula, weighing scale, tongs, micro blender, knives and so forth. Sandhya insists on carrying a meals styling package, alongside along with her knives.
Apart from cooking for celebrities, these private chefs additionally organise bespoke menus and cook for intimate occasions and personal features: a helpful ability in 2020, as folks discover methods to navigate the festive season whereas adhering to bodily distancing norms to restrict the unfold of COVID-19. “One day I might be working for an ad film and dressing the food, often fake, for the camera. Another day, it might be for a celebrity who wants a certain kind of food planned for a small do…” says Sandhya, including that so long as she is working with meals, she has no complaints.