Six chefs invite their moms into the kitchen at the Courtyard by Marriott Chennai
Executive chef of the Courtyard by Marriott Chennai Sanjeev Ranjan got homesick for his mom, and so was born the Mom’s Kitchen Food Festival with regional cuisines from six places
How do you handle missing your mom when you’re on the job? Executive chef of the Courtyard by Marriott Chennai Sanjeev Ranjan decided if he couldn’t visit her more often, the only way was to get her to join him in the kitchen! And that was the inspiration for the Mom’s Kitchen Food Festival that kicked off earlier this week. “I have been living away from my family for the past 18 to 19 years. I don’t get many chances to visit my parents,” he says. Expanding the concept further to get more of his colleagues to cook their way out of being homesick, he adds, “I’ve selected six regional cuisines that will be presented by six chefs and their moms just the way it is made in the households of Orissa, Konganadu, Maharashtra, Hyderabad, Bengal and Delhi.” The more moms the merrier, right?
Between dreaming of home-style pots of Bengali Kosha Mangsho (mutton) and Maharashtrian Malvani Macchi Curry, we got a chance to catch up some of the chefs and their mothers for a fun Q & A.
Chef Dinesh Kumar (Konganadu)
Planning a menu with my mom was awesome because I love to cook with her. Even though I work at a hotel, I prefer her food, it has a unique taste. And in the kitchen, though I am a chef, my mother is the boss, I cannot match her experience and knowledge of regional cuisines.
How did you respond when you heard that you would be partnering up with your chef son in a five star kitchen?
I was scared initially, I haven’t done this before and I usually don’t venture out much. But later I got on board.
Did you get nostalgic and include any dishes that you prepared for your son when he was growing up on the menu?
Most of the menu has his favourite dishes. Among them is Kathrikka Pachadi which he likes the most.
When your son was growing up, did he help you in the kitchen?
He was interested in cooking from childhood. He used to pick the dishes at home and help me prepare them. So I knew about his love for cooking and that’s what made me put him in catering college.
So you knew back in school that he was going to be a chef?
Of course I knew!
Chef Arpan Lagal (Bengal)
This experience is completely new. Normally we rely on our mothers to take care of food at home and that’s how we have planned the festival too. Just the way we do things at home. What we cook at home will be on the menu.
How did you react when he called you to join him in a five star kitchen?
I was excited about the idea, though I was slightly scared since I’ve never cooked at a hotel before.
Are any of his childhood favourites on the menu?
Yes, Bengali fish curry and Aloo Posto.
Did he help you in the kitchen when he was little?
He used to keep me company while I cooked. More than assisting, he closely observed the way the dishes were made.
Did you know early on that he would become a chef?
I don’t think so. We are from a business background and he is the first person in the family to work in the hospitality industry. We are happy he is doing well.
Chef Kuldeep Singh (Maharashtra)
Planning the menu with my mother-in-law took me back to the first time I met her and tasted her food, which still tickles my taste buds. She is very passionate about her food and is a perfectionist. I’m merely assisting her.
What’s it like to have a chef for a son-in-law?
Kuldeep being a chef is a great relief for me, I tell my daughter that she’ll never a have problem with food!
How did you feel when he asked you to partner with him for this festival?
I was a bit nervous and excited at the same time. I have never showcased my cooking to an audience per se. But I am looking forward to it.
At Paprika till August 31. For dinner only. Rs 1,399 plus taxes. Details: 66764000