Ngathingpei Khayi

You can make anything by writing – CS Lewis

Man of Good Taste

After being accepted and loved all over the world, now he is in India to present the traditional Indian cuisine in modern and exciting way. Society catches up with Vineet Bhatia to know what’s cooking in his Rasoi.

Have you ever heard of anything like “choco-mosa”? That’s Samosa with chocolate stuffing brought to you by Vineet Bhatia. And this is what he does, experimenting with the traditional Indian foods and making them interesting. Who says cooking can’t be fun? You just need to love what you are doing. Today, he owns restaurants around the world and is the first Indian to win two Michelin star ever.

Vineet Bhatia wanted to fly planes and live a discipline life of a pilot but destiny had in store something else for him. He was rejected to become a pilot because of his short height. He ended up in a hotel school and planned to become barman. Again height was the stumbling block, so that landed him into the kitchen.

This master chef entered the hotel business in 1987 and as a young man many things were going inside his head. “I have an inquisitive mind. I used to have many question when I was in training. Like why do you need to put half inch of oil in a dish, why 35 gram masala to make a sheek kebab?” But things were different at the initial stage. Restaurants were afraid of trying things out of the box. And that made him to take a big decision of his life. “I left India in 1993, I was not growing as a chef and I was not allowed to experiment with my food”. Now he owns eleven restaurants around the world and people follow him to taste his food.

It must not be an easy job to bring out the same flavor from all his restaurants around the globe. “I have staffs that have been with me for 14 years even before I got married. That’s why they can understand our philosophy, our ethos and they can carry on our food forward.” He has named his restaurant Rasoi Vineet Bhatia, “we named it Rasoi as we are giving our guest the experience of our kitchen.”

Now he is India as he is given freedom to do whatever he wants to do with his cooking. “I left India as I was not growing as a chef. Now I came back for the same reason, they have given me the opportunity to do things my way. And people are enjoying it and on that it will also motivate lots of upcoming chef. It will set a bench mark. Why can’t others also do it as I have proved it abroad?” Not only that, he has also wrote a book – Rasoi: New Indian Kitchen.

He is also doing a television series for Fox channel call – Twist of The Taste. “This is our own cookery show, I do the serious part and my wife does the travelling part. She travel around and bring in the challenge and I have to cook the challenge. That’s all the theme of the program.”

After making kitchen his work place, so what it’s like to have off from the work? Do chefs also like to sit down and want things to be done for them? “I am a very simple and boring guy. I don’t really like the fuss, as I see it everyday, I like to have normal roti, dal and chawal. I don’t drink and I don’t smoke.” Well that’s what he think, but according to his wife Rashima, who is sitting beside him, “He is a big time bike and cars fan. He had Harley Davidson as his 40th birthday present. We have a room which he has made it into a home theater and with our two boys he never misses the formula one race.  He reads lots of book but they are only cook books.” So then who is better cook? “He is a better chef and I am better cook,” says Rashima quickly.

With a smile of a young boy he looks at her and that brings a glow into her eyes. How content they are of what they are doing. After all that’s what we all are striving in our life.

(Published in Mandate Nov 2011, Page No. 49)

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