Chef Ashley D’Souza has come a long way in his career and has managed to be a part of some prestigious names in the hospitality space throughout his culinary journey of 14 successful years. From assisting the Executive Chefs and managing kitchens to being an integral part in the opening of restaurants with multiple properties throughout the country, he has won hearts all over.
His understanding of the industry and his expertise has given him an upper hand in building a name for himself. Some of the hospitality groups he has worked for include The Bay Pointe Inn – Gun Lake, Michigan, Usa; Brook Lodge Hotel And Conference Resort – Msu – Augusta, Michigan, Usa.; The Sheraton Hotel & Towers - The Luxury Collection – , Kuwait ; Napket Restaurat – Snob Food Middle East – Shuwaikh, Kuwait and is now with Shilton Hospitality L.L.P – Bangalore, India which runs Watsons and Puma Shuffle.
Here’s interviewing the very talented Chef Ashley D’Souza, Corporate Executive Chef at Shilton Hospitality LLP as he shares his experiences, his preferences and his thoughts on the future trends of the culinary world.
What has inspired you to become a Chef?
It was during my college days when I had to do an internship in the kitchen; I was an absolute green thumb but, I had an amazing Chef who mentored me during this period and it was his encouragement that pushed me to pursuing my degree in culinary arts. So I would say it was Chef Michael Barnaart who inspired me to become a Chef.
How long have you been cooking for professionally?
I have been cooking professionally for almost 14 years.
How would you describe your style of cooking?
My style of cooking is casual and homely with a tendency to try things that are out of the norm.
Where did you take your training from?
I finished my culinary training from The Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan USA.
Can you highlight your experience during an opening of a new restaurant?
I have been a part of the opening team for 6 restaurants and each experience has been different from the other. Making sure that everything for opening night has been ordered and the team has been trained properly is always the biggest challenge, you always tend to forget the smallest things. It is a rush in every sense of the word from the time the first guest walks in till the end of the night. It’s an experience that once can never get tired of.
What according to you defines a successful restaurant?
For me a successful restaurant would be one which has the most satisfied staff. I strongly believe that if you are capable of keeping your staff happy, your customers are definitely going to be happy.
What’s your favourite cuisine and why?
My most favourite cuisine has always been Middle Eastern cuisine. Being born in that region, I love the food from there, because it’s easy & simple in its preparation, yet the flavours are so prominent and complex. One cannot go wrong with a simple hummus or baba ghanoush with pita bread and lamb kebab roasted over charcoal.
What dish do you love to cook the most?
I love to cook a nice home style fish curry with fresh ground masala.
Are there any chefs that inspire you?
There are a few, Chef Michael Barnaart my first mentor still inspires me and then there is Chef Gary Mehigan.
What would be your “Last Request” dish?
My “Last Request” dish would be a simple grilled cheese sandwich. Nothing better than a toasted crunchy bread and melted cheddar cheese in between.
Your Signature Dish that would like customers to try at your restaurant. Please specify the name of the dish and share high resolution images of the dish with names.
My signature dish at the restaurant would be the ‘Crispy Chilli Pork Belly’ a lovely blend of spices and bell peppers topped on a bed of crispy pork belly.
What is your favourite restaurant that you like to visit during your free time?
There used to be this restaurant called ‘Sufi’ that my wife & I used to love going to, unfortunately that closed down, so we are now on the lookout for a new place to frequent :)
Are there any trends according to you that could change the future of the culinary world?
With everyone getting onto the health band wagon today, innovating old, classical dishes to be healthy and tasty is the way things are going.
Your thoughts on Your Chef Story.
It’s a lovely platform that has been created and gives a great opportunity for people to get to know chefs for what they really are. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share my life experiences.