I might get tired of the ‘Butter Chicken’ tag, but not just yet: Chef Saransh Goila
As he collaborates for the first time with an ice cream brand, Chef Saransh Goila who has become India’s ambassador of Butter Chicken shares anecdotes from his career
1. What's your earliest food memory?
My earliest food memory is of me cooking in my home kitchen at the age of 12 or 13 with my grandfather. The first dish I ever made was a jalebi.
2. Contest kitchens are renowned as stressful environments. Suggestions on how to handle the pressure?
Contest kitchens can be pretty daunting for people who are cooking in peaceful kitchens. My suggestions to handle the pressure is to be well-versed with your recipe. Don't deviate from your plan of action while you are cooking in a stressful environment. While time might be a criterion and what people are cooking around you might be a point that might distract you from your path, the key would be to stay focussed and stick to your recipe.
3. Tell us about your association with Havmor. And what are you expecting to see from their kitchen for this contest?
My association with Havmor is purely based on my love for ice creams. I have not worked with an ice cream brand before this. What I am hoping to see from the test kitchens are new flavours of ice creams. My job is to mentor 10 people who, not only like ice creams but are passionate about innovation.
4. You have become synonymous with the butter chicken. Do you think you'll ever get tired of that tag?
Yes, I have become synonymous with the butter chicken tag. Will I ever get tired of it? Hmm...maybe... Time can change a lot of things. But, for now, I take a lot of pride in running the butter chicken brand. People have a habit of stereotyping you as a certain kind of chef. I get to travel a lot throughout India and across the globe, so, I don't really care about the tag. I feel I have a responsibility to carry Indian cuisine on a whole and not just butter chicken.
5. Besides the obvious Indian gravy, what is something else that you enjoy cooking?
I enjoy cooking regional menus. I travel a lot and meet people from different communities. I love learning their recipes and then innovating and cooking those recipes with my own touch them.
6. How often do you cook outside the workplace?
I work with many brands and different channels on social media. Hence, I get to cook a lot while I'm travelling, shooting, sharing recipes with the world or even when I'm doing Goila Butter Chicken pop-ups at different cities.
7. What’s the best restaurant you’ve eaten at, and what made it memorable?
Meals that are found on streets, at homes and the smallest corners of India are, perhaps, the greatest food experiences. One of my favourite meals would have to be when I visited this tribal family in Nagaland. They made a wild chicken that was cooked in hollow bamboo. There were also these dishes that they had cooked with black sesame and breads that were naturally steamed in turmeric leaves. The meal remains unmatched and is probably the best restaurant that I have eaten at.
8. What would you never eat again?
Egg and bacon ice cream. It was something that I tried in the UK a few years ago and I would never want to have that again.
9. Does a man who cooks win brownie points at home?
Absolutely. I think a man who cooks at home ‘regularly’ - that being the key phrase - earns brownie points (smiles)
10. What’s your top life hack for the layman in the kitchen?
Treat cooking as a stressbuster. Don't get stuck to recipes that you see online. Thrown in a bit of this..throw in a bit of that. Make your own combinations. Follow your own palette. Cooking if done technically is very stressful. The moment you do it organically, it is a lot of fun.
11. What’s your one indispensable kitchen implement?
The greatest saviour in my kitchen is a hand blender. That is something I can't do without. I like blending and pureeing things.
12. What new food trends are you seeing, and how do you respond to them?
The new trends I am seeing are the waffle and pancake stores that keep popping up everywhere. It is something that I keep away from. But I am also seeing a regional wave of these small ‘mom and pop’ stores that are coming up. I support the movement by eating at those places. I really wish that the regional Indian cuisine trend stays and I hope to see more of it