Please give a warm welcome to my friend Chef Priyam Chatterjee.
Welcome Chef Priyam to Kouzounas Kitchen. Thank you for stopping by for a fun Q & A interview.
Q & A Interview: Chef Priyam Chatterjee
Chef Priyam what are you currently cooking in your kitchen?
I was braising a lamb shoulder.
1. How did you become a chef? What was your inspiration?
I wanted to join the army, that was my soul goal. But I was cooking with mom too, the army part didn’t happen so I got my head back to cooking. I don’t really know how I became a chef but I guess after a point you fall in love with your job. (Cooking to me is not a job, it is a passion.)
It should never be, one can never associate cooking as a job, so I guess one fine night I just fell in love. Inspiration has different names, I derive inspiration out of nature and women.
I think she is by far the most extravagant piece of crafted master piece and she is a fantastic source of inspiration to people like me who rather adore and admire.
I also am extremely sensitive and grateful to the fruits, the vegetables, the animals that has died for me to create a dish that would please someone eyes and fill someone’s stomach.
So my inspiration is to do justice to that sacrifice laid down by my ingredients by cooking them properly and in every artistic way possible, so when I plate a plating it should look like a celebration of life and not a piece of meat and gravy!
2. Who is your mentor?
Physically my long standing mentor is my chef Jean Claude Fugier, he will always be my ultimate role model. He is the reason I became a cook today, he is the person who taught me things that I would have never ever known off!
The chefs that I look up to and derive as much as inspiration from them ( not just cooking wise but learning and following their THOUGHT PROCESS is the most important thing )are :
1. Massimo Bottura
2. Andre Chiang
3. Bjorn Frantzen
4.Among the legends
5. Fernand point
6. Pierre and Michel Troisgros
7. Paul Bocuse
8. Gualtiero marchesi
9. Marco Pierre
3. Where do you currently work/ reside?
I currently work in the United Arab Emirates.
4. Where are you from?
I am from the beautiful land of India.
5. Tell us what is your favorite (2) recipes?
I don’t have such favorites to be honest with you, every dish leaves a certain mark in my life, there is this one particular element in every dish that completely takes you off!
I am fond of sauces and combination of elements on a plate 🙂
6. You mentioned to me that you are writing a book. Can you please tell us more about that?
Yes, the book. Well it’s all about a cook and his life as one, the day to day experiences what he feels what he thinks how he sees life how well he embraces it what makes him stronger.
You see we have emotions that we cannot let out. The pain the pressure the sweat the pleasure the pride, the kitchen is a war zone of emotions shifting courses every second. The best possible way of capturing these moments and the thoughts are to have them written down and I guess that’s my book!
7. What is your top favorite cuisine and why?
Every cuisine is superior and special in its own way. Since I am a trained French cook, I love Italian cuisine and culture, and I have my soft corner for the respective cuisines.
8. What was the hardest dish you had to learn in the kitchen?
I truly believe that the most hardest thing to learn in the kitchen is the most basic techniques and the simplest of the dishes!
A good consommé
A great jus
A good pastry dough
Blanching of vegetables
Cleaning of foie gras
Resting your meats
The absolute basics are the most important and crucial things to learn in the kitchen.
9. How long have you been a chef?
I have been cooking for 5 years, but I am still learning and finding myself.
10. If you could cook for anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
I would want to cook for my father, he is no longer with us.
11. If you were stranded on a island, what 4 ingredients would you take with you?
Salt, Olive Oil, butter, matchbox . The rest I would find on the island.
12. Favorite quote that you use in the kitchen?
They keep coming . I just don’t remember any specific ones.
13. If you can teach new chefs anything about the kitchen, what three things would you say and why?
Learn your basics correctly because then you are half way through.
Stay focused and always hungry. Remember you are not here to take a smooth evening walk by the park.
Hang your ego and emotions outside the door when you come to work.
Come to work, learn, have fun, earn your respect and go home.
Thank you very much Chef for the wonderful interview on Kouzounas Kitchen. Please check out Chef’s new Blog that he started a few days ago! You can follow him on his journey in the kitchen.