Now, every Indian can access a meal created by a Michelin star chef, at home! 

Sonali Shenoy Published :  30th November 2018 06:00 AM   |   Published :   |  30th November 2018 06:00 AM

Alfred Prasad


Now you don’t need to pay exorbitant prices to taste a meal created by a Michelin star chef. Just head over to the frozen foods section at your nearest supermarket!

London-based chef Alfred Prasad who earned not only a Michelin star but the title of ‘youngest chef to get one’ at the age of 29 (back in 2002) just dropped a gourmet range in collaboration with Sumeru a few days ago. The line took intensive R&D of close to six months keeping in mind Prasad’s three pillars of food — heritage, health and happiness. 

Excerpts from a chat with the chef on entering the frozen foods segment, the changing foodscape in India and designing the menu for the 2019 cricket season at MCC Lord’s.

It seems surreal to be able to try a dish created by a Michelin star chef in our kitchens at home. What is on the menu so far? 
We are all pretty kicked about this launch too. The reason being, this is a first of its kind in the food industry in India; and innovation that’s setting a new benchmark not only in the frozen space, but also in the overall Indian foods space.  You can expect four gourmet products – the Super Millet Khichdi, 
Shahi Coromandal Paneer, Coromandel Roasted Chicken and Signature Pepper Chicken.

Are you working on any new projects in 2019?
I am launching a new restaurant in Doha early 2019, which I am really excited about as it’s my first foray into the Middle East. Also, I’m hoping to open doors to my own restaurant in London by summer 2019. I am actively engaged with Omya, my collaboration with The Oberoi New Delhi. We work closely to make seasonal menu changes, and I spend time there every quarter. Finally, I have just designed a new menu for the cricket 2019 season at MCC Lord’s which should be extra fun, considering the ICC World Cup in the summer.    

Before you moved to London, how did living in India shape your palate? 
I was fortunate to have lived in many places across the Indian sub-continent including Wardha, Mumbai, Delhi, Kathmandu, Andamans, Hyderabad, Vellore and Chennai. This gave me an early exposure to the diversity of India and Indian cuisines. Steeped in thousands of years of culinary evolution, the expanse of indigenous micro-cuisines is truly immense. The foodie times that dot my years in India, play a huge role in my creative process at work. I actually remember delicious food more at people’s homes than restaurants: my paati in Mysore — her bisibelebath, rava ladoo and mocha-kottai sambhar were incredible. My aunt Marie in Secunderabad made amazing Anglo-Indian food: minced lamb and potatoes, fish curry, lamb with fresh methi… All mouth-watering memories of my childhood.     

 

Taste notes

As a Michelin star chef, we have to wonder, what is left to taste?
The more you discover food, the greater you realise your ignorance. It is one of those careers of constant learning and there is so much out there. 

Do you have a bucket list of culinary experiences?
There are some restaurants and food spaces that I would love to experience: Attica in Melbourne, Noma in Denmark to name a few. I’d love to travel extensively through Japan and work with some of the sashimi maestros there. 

What is Gordon Ramsey like in person — we’re curious.
Gordon Ramsey is a hugely talented chef who is passionate, discerning and also, lots of fun. He was a regular at Tamarind (where Prasad used to work) and would come in late after his shift, along with his then protégé Marcus Wareing and have dinner. He would often come into the kitchen and try his hand at the tandoor. He picked me in his ‘dream team’ at an interview for BBC Good Food and that is one of the best compliments I have ever received. 

His TV persona is hugely different to the person and chef I know.   
 
In the coming months, the Internet is going to be flooded with forecasts of food trends. What do you see when you look ahead?
I think ‘healthy eating’ will gather momentum and also the plant-based, vegan, vegetarian following will grow. I also think coming back to tradition and authenticity will be exciting for consumers. There’s been a bit much of style over substance, thanks to the Instagram way of dining. 
 

 
Today, the food scene in India has changed massively — what do you like, what do you not like?
I enjoy seeing the many modern interpretations of our age-old cuisines and the renewed interest in our micro-cuisines. With more Indian micro cuisines coming to the forefront, there is a lot of potential and possibilities in the global stage, as well as in India. 

For hungry, young chefs: what’s your secret sauce to getting (and keeping) that Michelin star
for so long?

I find young chefs today are very different, from those even 10 years ago. There is a subconscious need for instant-gratification and ‘less hard work for more result’ equation that is tough to sustain in this field. You see a lot of passion coming in and fizzling out quickly because the discipline and commitment you need to keep going is extraordinary. I believe they need to slow down, not be bogged down by trends and find their own style as they evolve.  


At supermarkets, gourmet stores and online. Price: Rs 199 to Rs 250 for 250 grams.

sonali@newindianexpress.com | @brightasunshine

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