Healthy And Tasty Food A New Challenge For Chefs: Chef Subrata Roy
Having worked in several regions of the country with an overseas stint in Japan, Corporate Chef of Mansingh Group of Hotels feels that Indian cuisine is the best in the world but at the same time it is toughest to make.
“After spending a few months in a hotel in Japan, I had a fair amount of understanding of their cuisines. Goa was another place which added new insights into my knowledge of sea food. It’s a paradise for sea-food lovers. Even in South India, one can find a vast range of delicious cuisine although we are commonly familiar with the basic Idli, Sambhar, and Dosa. But Jaipur taught me the depth of vegetarian cuisine in terms of variety and taste. So I learned a lot working in different regions. I can say with great pride that there are few countries which can match the variety and taste that Indian cuisines bring on to the table. But, at the same time, Indian cuisines are the toughest to make,” said Roy in an interview to Business Rankers.
He said that Indian cuisines require perfection. While preparing, even a single change in spices can make a world of difference in taste. “This is a big challenge for a chef to bring in taste with and without spices. These days people are more health conscious. The food should be tasty even without spices. Indians are used to have spices in their food. Even though spice is less preferred, they want the same taste which is a challenge for chefs,” explained Roy.
According to him, kitchen is like a hospital, where every day new patients arrive and the doctor has to give new type of treatment. “Like the doctor deals with the new types of ailments and tries to cure the patient on a daily basis, a chef also needs to prepare the same dish in five different ways to create taste which satisfies specific taste needs of the guest,” adds Roy.
Ask Roy about his passion, he would say what he loves the most: To make his guests go fully satisfied.”The biggest dream of a chef can only be 100% customer satisfaction and this has to be an everyday preoccupation. And I will consider myself a perfect chef the day I will achieve that. And interestingly, if you can satisfy your wife with your cuisine, you should also feel perfect in some ways. My wife is a very good cook and was previously working in the hotel industry. She is certainly a yardstick for my skills,” said Roy.
Besides customers and his wife, Roy also looks up to his daughter to have a better idea of culinary art. “My best critic is my daughter. Being blessed with very good tongue, she always gives non-biased judgment of what I serve her. At home, I always let her taste first to get an honest opinion. This always helps me to improve and provide the taste my guests would like. I love cooking for children because they are always honest in their opinion. Another way of getting feedback on my cuisines is checking whether the plates of my customers are empty or not.”
Heading the food and beverage operations means Mr. Roy has to manage quite a few more responsibilities. When there are weddings, national summits, conferences, corporate parties or other events, there is mostly a mismatch between the orders and the consumption.
“It happens many a time that arrived guests number is more than the orders placed at the time of booking the party. In such circumstances, the management of the hotel is tested. But I never let my hotel down as I always try to be ahead of the problems. During such huge parties, I make a constant assessment of demand and supply. That has helped me in managing the events seamlessly. Once, there was party reserved for 200 guests. But actually the number of guests went up to 600. At that time also, we did not leave a chance for any complain from the client. We made food on the spot according to the requirements in the conference,” added Roy.
Remembering a recent conference of ‘The Press Bureau India’ in which many Central and state ministers were present including Najma Heptulla and Maneka Gandhi, Roy said he had in fact received a certificate from everyone for the food. “Personally they all appreciated. Najma Heptulla is very fond of mutton and she said to me that she never gets good mutton these days. So I said to her I’ll serve you and if you don’t like the mutton you can write in a letter that you didn’t like it. But if you like you have to give a letter of appreciation. She did appreciate the mutton delicacy I served her and she also kept her word by writing an appreciation letter which is on display. That’s an achievement for me,” narrated Roy. But managing the affairs with regard to retaining of staff throws up challenges like losing out committed people to other rivals. Jaipur has witnessed a mushrooming of hotels in the past five years. But the supply of talent has not kept pace with demand. “The biggest challenges for a chef now a days is to retain the in-house staff. But I never let my staff to move out. I treat them like my family members. In that way I am very lucky. I prefer working with the same team and believe in team work,” added Roy.