Each one of us has a certain fond memory of our childhood when it comes to good food. Many of us relate the best of food memories with our beloved grandmothers. These memories stay with us forever and sometimes even inspire us to continue the legacy.
With roots in the beautiful and scenic city of Shimla, Chef Sherry Malhotra has been known for her delicious and mouth-watering Pahadi Cuisine that has won many hearts over the years. She has been inspired by her grandmother’s refined skills to cook food blended with the perfect secret ingredients that make a warm and fulfilling meal.
Here’s knowing more about Chef Sherry Malhotra who is a Home-Chef, Caterer, Food Expert, Food Reality Show Finalist, Ex - Miss Shimla and Director - Host Relations at the Indian Food Trail.
What has inspired you to become a chef?
I started cooking at the age of 13. During that era, my mother was looking after our family business; hence, after school I used to help my grandmother in the kitchen. That's when I found out, cooking was my first love. Surprisingly family and friends loved everything cooked by me which later on boosted me to become a chef.
Being from a Punjabi family, I have seen my grandmother spending most of the time in the kitchen where she used to make papad, wadiyan, pickles, sweets, snacks, drying masalas in the sun and much more.
Helping her in all these tasks moved my interest towards the kitchen. I started falling in love with the Indian masalas and the equipments used. My grandmother's techniques has had a strong impact on me till today and will stay with me forever.
What's your philosophy on food and cooking?
I believe in an authentic approach. I do not believe in any fusion. The simplest recipes make the most amazing food. My grandmother and mother have always taught me that food is like a mirror; what we eat is what we are.
What challenges have you faced to reach this position in your life?
Working as a chef is in itself a difficult task. It’s tough to fulfill your client’s requirements, where everyone has a different taste palate that sometimes puts us under immense pressure to give our best.
I've experienced most of the time ten different views from our guests. So keeping their feedback in mind, I need to communicate with my clients personally that helps us get to know what kind of people they are and what would they prefer eating.
How has your experience been during food festivals?
Cooking for food festivals have proven to be a great experience. There are people who haven't heard about my cuisine and have no clue what they will be served. Surprisingly, it is so good to see my food getting completely sold out. It is a great feeling when people come to you and say that the dishes reminded them of their grandmother. The taste is so unique that my cuisine stands out. I feel so blessed and that keeps me motivated.
Have you served any power icons or celebrities during your culinary career?
Yes, I was lucky enough to serve many celebrities during my culinary career and I'm sure this is just a beginning. I have served celebrity chefs like Vicky Ratnani, Saransh Goila, Ajay Chopra, Rashmi Uday Singh, Sarah Todd, Singer Vishal Dadlani and last but not the least one of the biggest power icons of India, Mr.Riyaz Amlani.
How has your experience been with pop ups?
Pop-ups or promoting your cuisine gives you a great feeling. People are slowly becoming aware about the entire concept. Every person goes out trying different restaurants and cafes. But, when we talk about these kind of events, the public is always welcoming to new cuisines. They really want to experiment and learn more. End of the day, appreciation makes you feel contended.
I have done Himachali pop-ups with Marriott Hyderabad, FBAI & Taj Lands End and recently I had curated a home-dining experience with Indian Food Trail called United Punjab. Apart from Himachali Cuisine, United Punjab is very close to my heart as I am revisiting my roots and presenting some exquisite recipes from both sides of Chenab.
Can you tell us more about your new role & any upcoming projects?
I've been running a catering set-up from the last five years now. Side by side I'm also invited by the hotels to have pop-ups with them. I also work with a company called Indian Food Trail as Director-Host Relations, where we are looking for home-chefs who have a decent knowledge about their regional cuisine, mainly focusing on lost recipes. Recently I have been a part of a TV reality show where I had to present the idea of my restaurant.
You can check the link of my new TV show here known as 'Grilled' on Fox Life.
What trends do you foresee in the near future that would change the way the culinary world operates?
More regional cuisines will find a place in the mainstream culinary world. Theme restaurants will overtake legacy restaurants. Fusion cuisines (though I am not a fan of the idea) will continue to grow. Home-chefs and local dining platforms will gain more popularity. Street food parks will be more common at least in metro cities.
What's that one dish that brings smile to your face?
A simple Ajwain Parantha which I've eaten since childhood can make my day.
Your signature dish that you would like customers to try?
There's a long list but I would definitely want my customers to try Meat Beliram, Chapli kebabs and Maa Di Dal.
What’s your favorite cuisine?
Of course Punjabi Cuisine. I’ve grown up eating that food and now I know how to cook it also. This cuisine is very close to my heart.
What message would you like to give other aspiring chefs?
Keep following your heart. It will lead you to your destination. Food is all about passion, persistence, love and dedication. Let your passion be your North star, keep perfecting your recipes and learn some basic photography to make your food visually appealing in today's Instagram and Snapchat world. Also, take a stand against food waste and donate excess food to the needy.
Your thoughts on Your Chef Story.
I know I've worked really hard to be where I've reached today. I feel proud when I look back and the journey has just begun. I'm sure Your Chef Story will inspire many.