A road to success has no shortcuts. One’s determination and hard work paves the way to his growth and success. With this belief, Chef Arup Kakati shares his experiences of his culinary journey of nearly two decades. With an extensive experience in Western, Indian and South East Asian cuisine, he has crafted mouth- watering delicacies in the kitchens of Oberoi Group Of Hotels. A strong believer of fitness, he has managed to bag the title of 'Coca Cola Mega Model' for the year 1999 and has had the desire to walk on the ramp for renowned fashion designers ever since. Taking forward his culinary expertise, he unlocked the doors of his own restaurant Banh Mi And Wok, Bengaluru with a sumptuous menu comprised of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.
Let's unfurl the story of Chef Arup Kakati here.
Tell us something about yourself.
I passed out my culinary school from Bhubaneshwar in the year 1998 I am from Assam and working as Chef for last 18 years. Presently running my new project called Banh Mi And Wok, A Pan Asian restaurant in 100 Feet road, Indira Nagar, Bangalore.
What has inspired you to become a Chef?
I wanted to become a chef because of the respect that was shown to them, and the mysterious image of the person cooking your food while I was in a restaurant.I was very passionate about cooking right from my childhood. When I finished my 12th, I understood that hotel school is my next destination to start my culinary journey.
Share some interesting facts that you would want others /fellow Chefs to know about your experience in this journey that could inspire them.
To become a successful chef, there are no shortcuts. One has to go through the grind in order to become a Chef. One should believe and respect their Senior Chefs and obey them if they want to succeed. All great chefs have achieved their respective positions after years of dedication and hard work.
What’s your philosophy on food and cooking?
Take the food seriously, but don't take yourself too seriously. My philosophy on food and healthy cooking has always been about enjoying everything in a balanced and sane way.
So, when I talk about having a 'healthy' approach to food and eating better, I'm talking about achieving that sense of balance of a lot of the good stuff, loads of variety, and indulgence every now and then. Lastly, I add my secret ingredient i.e. ‘LOVE’ in everything I cook.
What challenges have you faced to reach this position in your life?
During my career, I have worked in different environments and various kitchens. Every working environment offers challenges and those challenges help me learn. I used to deal with consistency of preparation, working with limited resources and quick fixes for any problems that arose. Some of the other challenges were debt, low wages, long hours, bad culture and a destructive environment.
Have you served any power icons or celebrities during your culinary career?
My list would be endless, right from working as a personal chef to Mr.P.R.S.Oberoi for several years to cooking food for Mr. Ratan Tata. I have also had a wonderful experience in cooking food for Mr.Mukesh Ambani and Mr. Anil Ambani.
What trends do you foresee in the near future that would change the way the culinary world operates?
Looking at the present trends, future food would be more “firm to fork”, local availability and seasonal food would be more and preferred on the menu.
What is your specialty?
Pan Asian and Italian
What are the qualities you feel that define you as a chef?
I guess having the ability to manage, lead and create a successful kitchen operation
Which is your favorite restaurant?
Mangalore Perl in Bangalore – A small eatery where you get amazing fresh seafood cooked in Mangalorean style.
What’s that one dish that brings a smile to your face?
Steamed sea bass with Thai herb sauce. The aroma, texture and wholesomeness of this recipe is out of the world.
What’s your favorite cuisine and why?
Pan Asian Cuisine is my favorite because of its freshness by cooking it with amazing tongue-tickling flavors.
Your Signature Dish that would like customers to try?
Steamed Sea Bass with Thai Herb Sauce
Would you like to give a message to other aspiring Chefs?
Don’t worry about what you get paid. Work ethic and attitude is everything, learn the basics and don’t ever think you’re above learning from anyone.
Your thoughts on Your Chef Story.
It’s a brilliant initiative by Karishma Ahuja to appreciate the hard work of all the talented chefs across India. Thank you.
Co-Edited By Jay Dogra