Chef Shaun Kenworthy on how flexibility is the key in food industry
We had a chat with Shaun — who has since curated interesting menus for several A-lister diners in the city — on the recent innovations in the world of gastronomy.
After spending about 22 years in India, it is now home for the UK-born Chef Shaun Kenworthy. Years ago, when his job contract expired at The Park Hotel, Shaun decided to make Kolkata his home rather
than pursue work abroad. We had a chat with Shaun — who has since curated interesting menus for several A-lister diners in the city — on the recent innovations in the world of gastronomy.
What made you stay back in Kolkata?
Kolkata is an amazing city that is high in spirits and I love the history, charm and old-school romance
that it has to offer. In short, everything about the city attracts me. I can talk endlessly about my love for the City of Joy since it is one of the most inclusive cities I have been to.
Having stayed here for so long, what’s your take on Bengali cuisine?
When it comes to Bengali cuisine, what nobody really talks about is the variety that home-cooked vegetarian cuisine has to offer. It is probably the least talked about, yet so delicious and flavourful. If
Bengalis spoke more about their vegetarian cuisine, it could have a much higher standing among Indian cuisines, rather than being typecast as a melting pot of European and Mughlai cuisines. I love my shukto, doi potol, potol er dolma, dhokar dalna and even the eclectic spread of telebhaja.
What are the changes you have witnessed the F&B industry?
I can speak and write volumes of books on this. When I worked in Delhi, 22 years ago, we couldn’t even get a red bell pepper regularly. In 2000-2001, there was one pizza stall in Delhi selling thick, heavy crusty pizzas doused in tomato sauce and Amul cheese and the pasta cooked in heavy sauces was nowhere close to what we found in the West. But today, you get authentic Italian pasta and pizzas all around. Back in those days, there were just a handful of Indian master chefs who kept their recipes under their hats and were not open to experiments. Cut to today, you can get any ingredient you are looking for from
anywhere in the world within a 36-hour notice. Also, there are talented young chefs who are exploring
regional cuisines and discovering age-old recipes. There’s so much happening.
Your favourite cuisine to innovate with?
Personally, flavours tempt me the most, rather than cuisines and I will just cook up a delicious meal, irrespective of the cuisine. For example, even if I am playing with Indian flavours, I will ensure miso paste; oyster sauce and zucchini are also available as options. Probably any classically trained chef will do the same.