Chefs from Hyderabad
Chefs from Hyderabad

8th anniversary special: Eight culinary experts who are contributing to the cosmopolitan transition of Hyderabad 

We engage with eight chefs in Hyderabad, each hailing from diverse regions, drawing upon their distinct experiences, collectively reshaping the city’s food scene into a cosmopolitan marvel

Food is not merely sustenance; it’s a quintessential part of our daily discourse, an inseparable part of our lives, without which existence would be bereft of its flavoursome joys. When we discuss a place, the significance of its cuisine stands paramount. Food resonates as a manifestation of the cultural mosaic of a region, shaped by its people, geography, climate, and a myriad of other influences. Hyderabad is undergoing a culinary renaissance, drawing diverse chefs and food enthusiasts to shape its cosmopolitan culinary scene. The city’s vibrant influx of culinary talents owes itself to the locals’ experimental spirit and hospitality. With a flurry of new dining spots and food havens, Hyderabad enjoys a diverse palette as chefs introduce authentic global flavours and experiment with innovative culinary concepts, enriching the city's gastronomic landscape. Team Indulge interviews eight local chefs to delve into their creative approaches and unique dishes.

Kaustubh Haldipur, Whisky Samba

Born and brought up in Goa, chef Kaustubh Haldipur brings a wealth of experience garnered from working with various renowned brands in India and abroad. Presently, he manages the Whisky Samba restaurants located in Gurugram and Hyderabad. He tells us, “Before inaugurating the Hyderabad outlet, extensive research was conducted. We explored numerous restaurants, analysed the local food scene, and identified potential gaps in the offerings. We finally, decided to serve Japanese cuisine alongside Modern Indian delicacies from the princely states of India.”

Kaustubh Haldipur
Kaustubh Haldipur

As an expert in Asian cuisine, he got robatayaki to the restaurant, a popular Japanese grill technique where the food is cooked on charcoal. “We couldn’t find robatayaki anywhere here, so we decided to do it. The menu shows Grilled Miso Chicken cooked on charcoal with a flavourful chilli and lime sauce,” the chef says. Additionally, he ventured into local ingredients, serving Ice Apple Ceviche wherein the beloved seasonal summer fruit is paired with chilled watermelon and passion fruit dressing, resulting in an innovative treat. “The aim is to always provide something new to people. The process of inventing or creating a new dish truly drives me; it’s highly motivating. When my experiments result in a delightful creation, the profound sense of satisfaction it brings is incredibly rewarding,” Kaustubh adds. He also expresses that chefs play a vital role in shaping the cosmopolitan nature of the city.

Charred Miso Chicken
Charred Miso Chicken

Mrigank Singh, The Pink Elephant

Chef Mrigank Singh, originally from Lucknow, boasts over 20 years of culinary expertise, having worked both in India and outside. In the initial phase of his career, he primarily focused on European cuisine and later, began experimenting with a variety of other cuisines as well. For now, he is associated with The Pink Elephant, a restaurant located in Kondapur. He says, “We strive to explore various dimensions of Indian cuisine beyond the typical North or South Indian fare. Our offerings include North Eastern delicacies, Bengali food and other cuisines, with some authentic local touch of a particular region.”

Mrigank Singh
Mrigank Singh

Mrigank continues, “We incorporate regional flavours in our dishes, such as the Raja Mircha Chicken Skewers showcasing one of the hottest chillies in the world famous from the North East. The method involves marinating the chicken in a unique Raja Mircha preparation, grilling it over charcoal, and serving it with raw mango salad. Our Vegetarian Galouti is made from yam and plantain (raw banana), providing a velvety texture to the dish.” When asked what motivates him to come up with such ideas, he expresses, “When exploring new endeavours, there’s always a risk involved, but if you don’t take the chance, who will? On coming to Hyderabad, I felt it was a place open to new ideas. The response has been remarkable; Hyderabadis are receptive to new culinary experiences.”

Chicken 65 Bao
Chicken 65 Bao

Valentine Periera, Fusion 9

Chef Valentine Pereira’s culinary journey includes working with renowned chefs, a rich experience that resonates through his unique cooking style. His extensive global exploration came during his tenure on a cruise ship, encountering various cuisines worldwide. Adapting menus to different regions broadened his experience in global culinary scenes, influencing his approach at Deli 9 Bistro in Hyderabad. Notably, he believes in blending global with local, showcasing an Indian taste profile with a preference for local ingredients. Yet, the presentation style remains exotic and distinctly foreign. Some of his unique innovations include Outrageous Nachos where he initiated preparing nachos using desi rumali roti. He also discusses an interesting makeover he gave to the popular local food combo. “For a wedding, I experimented with Ragi Sangati and Natu Kodi Pulusu, served alongside a chutney. I combined the epic food combo, utilising the chutney to create an airy, cloud-like effect (molecular gastronomy used to change the texture of something),” adds Valentine.

Valentine Pereira
Valentine Pereira

According to him, Hyderabad is experiencing rapid growth in various aspects, and its residents are notably open and supportive of culinary experimentation. While embracing new gastronomic experiences, locals tend to appreciate a connection with familiar dishes. He says, “The approach that works well here is to take a dish they are acquainted with and offer it with a fresh and innovative presentation, introducing concepts that may be novel yet maintain a sense of familiarity.”

Ragi Sangati and Natu Kodi Pulusu
Ragi Sangati and Natu Kodi Pulusu

Anish Pandey, Kortyard Cafe 

Kortyard Café distinguishes itself in the culinary landscape by prioritising healthy dining experiences. Led by executive chef, Anish Pandey, a culinary expert with extensive Indian and international experience, the café aims to redefine healthy eating. Kortyard’s all-day breakfast menu draws heavily from Mediterranean cuisine and others, emphasising healthier choices. Avoiding regular oils and sugar, they use olive oil and honey sparingly, focusing on freshness and quality. Anish stresses the importance of sourcing key ingredients directly from their places of origin to maintain the dishes’ authenticity and flavours. He clarifies that despite serving so many new delights, he hasn’t tried tweaking recipes or changing the originality of dishes.

Anish Pandey
Anish Pandey

“In a city where people are well-versed with global tastes and are food enthusiasts, I aimed to retain the original taste of various dishes. However, observing the local preference for spicy food, I have elevated the spice levels in some sauces I use for the dishes,” adds Anish. With immense faith in the idea of promoting the concept of healthy eating, he says, “Given our modern lifestyle, promoting a healthy way of living is crucial, and that’s precisely what we are striving to impart in the minds of the people of Hyderabad. I am optimistic about this concept, believing it will highlight the value of good health.

Smoke Turkey and Edamame Salad
Smoke Turkey and Edamame Salad

Muhammad Yusuf, Co-founder and Director of Culinary & Creatives, Bakelore

Hailing from Madurai, Tamil Nadu, chef Muhammad Yusuf spent quite a few years working abroad with various bakeries, cafés, brands, and multinational companies. Upon returning to Hyderabad last year, he felt the urge to establish his venture — Bakelore, a bakery and café. He expresses, “I selected Hyderabad due to its dynamic growth and thriving culinary market, offering tremendous opportunities. My partner Rahul who is also the co-founder of Bakelore and I had a vision of bringing some revolution in the baking world.” Recognising the dearth of good products available to many consumers, Muhammad observed issues with product packaging and the quality of items such as bread and cream and others. Thus, the duo aimed to come up with a venture where they could provide premium products at affordable prices. From instructing workers at the bakery in making the products to ensuring the maintenance of ingredient quality, chef Muhammad is dedicated to bringing significant change within the industry. Apart from serving some evergreen desserts, they have tried their hands on some fusion delicacies including Korean-style buns stuffed with a local Hyderabadi favourite Chicken 65.

Muhammad Yusuf
Muhammad Yusuf

Muhammad also has a knack for fusion desserts. He tells us, “For Diwali, I experimented with a fusion of Indian sweets and Western desserts. For instance, I crafted a Kaju Katli Chocolate Blondie and a Motichoor Cookie Bar. The amalgamation of diverse cuisines brings a unique and delightful experience.”

Diwali hampers
Diwali hampers

Shreya Velidanda, Head Chef, Dough Mama Pizza

Dough Mama Pizza is country’s first gourmet pizza brand offering captivating infused crusts. According to Shreya Velidanda, chef partner at Dough Mama Pizza, the concept was born out of the intention to address a common issue. “We wanted to introduce flavour-infused pizza crusts, recognising that people often discard regular crusts because they are too bland. We ferment the crust with the flavours infused in it. We do have our signature dough but apart from that, we also have bacon-infused dough, jalapeno-infused dough and many other options.” However, Shreya also tells us that they have an extensive menu showcasing both authentic Italian cuisine and fusion dishes that incorporate Hyderabadi flavours. “For instance, our Say Cheese pizza draws inspiration from the beloved Chilli Cheese Toast, a popular Hyderabadi snack. This pizza swaps the traditional tomato sauce for a cheese sauce while retaining the original toppings. The result is a nostalgic and familiar taste that resonates with the residents.

Shreya Velidanda
Shreya Velidanda

Additionally, we present a Chicken 65 pizza, blending Italian and Hyderabadi flavours,” adds Shreya. She talks highly of the vast potential for culinary advancement in Hyderabad. Moreover, while Hyderabadis are open to experimentation, she emphasises the importance of familiarity in introducing new tastes. Being a provider, she suggests a gradual approach, starting with something familiar to the locals before gradually introducing novel and unique flavours.

Chicken 65 pizza
Chicken 65 pizza

Syamal Raju Annamneedi, Executive Chef at Ironhill India, Hyderabad

With about 15 years of experience in the industry, chef Syamal Raju Annamneedi has worked in prestigious establishments. His expertise lies in culinary arts, kitchen management, and menu planning. Throwing light on some of his food experimentations, he tells us, “As far as my work here is concerned, I have played around with various international cuisines, infusing unique elements into my dishes. For example, Jerk Chicken kebab (a fusion of Carribean and Indian), and Wasabi malai Broccoli which has elements of Japanese and Indian cuisines and even Ghee Roast Pulled Lamb Tacos that showcase a delightful blend of South Indian and Mexican cuisines.”

Syamal Raju Annamneedi
Syamal Raju Annamneedi

Discussing the response of Hyderabadis, he expresses, “The idea behind bringing international flavours to Hyderabad was to offer residents a diverse and exciting dining experience. The response has been positive so far, with diners embracing these culinary innovations and seeking new tastes.” He focused on creating fusion dishes that mix different culinary traditions to bridge the gap between food cultures. This approach fosters a sense of cosmopolitanism by celebrating the diversity of flavours while respecting local tastes. “My contributions aim to significantly impact Hyderabad’s culinary culture, enriching its gastronomic landscape with diverse tastes, rendering it a more vibrant and globally appealing dining destination for the long term,” adds Syamal Raju.

Malai Broccoli
Malai Broccoli

Jayanta Panda, Sous Chef, Masquerade Café, Hyderabad

If you’ve been to Masquerade, you would know the excitement associated with that place. Wall art showcasing comic characters, and a range of entertainment options like playing board games, actionpacked play stations, dart games, and a mystery room are some of the major attractions of the place apart from the drool-worthy food they serve. Interestingly, it’s a one-stop destination for mind-blowing fusion delicacies. They experiment with Indian tandoor and Continental Chinese dishes.

Jayanta Panda
Jayanta Panda

Jayanta Panda, sous chef, tells us, “We have some interesting take on fusion treats. We prepare Kadak Rumali, which is a delightful fusion of Arabic cuisine and Indian cuisine. This dish features a crispy rumali roti served with delectable beetroot hummus. Additionally, our Tandoor Wings Platter boasts four unique flavours — sricha, jalapeno, soya, and peri peri — inspired by diverse cuisines. We also prepare a dish named Mushroom Galouti Samosa that involves sumptuous mushroom stuffing inside the samosa.” With excitement in his voice, he describes the way people walk in at the restaurant and enjoy the dishes to the fullest. “Having the same food the usual way can lead to boredom. So, it’s important to keep trying new delicacies. I am glad we can feed people with our creative delicacies,” adds Jayanta.

Kadak Rumali
Kadak Rumali

Related Stories

No stories found.
X
Indulgexpress
www.indulgexpress.com