Masterchef Saransh Goila, famous for Goila Butter Chicken, believes age-old techniques can refine any cuisine.
Celebrity chef Saransh Goila had gone to become an engineer but ended up in the kitchen creating delightful dishes. His parents thought he would become a biotech engineer, except his grandfather encouraged him to get enrolled into a culinary school.
The call to become a chef came to Saransh when he first started to cook at the age of thirteen. “I picked up cooking just because I used to see my grandfather cook. Back in those days we used to watch a lot of cooking shows,” he says adding, “My family feels proud that their boy cooks.”
Saransh is famously known for his Goila Butter Chicken.
It was this dish that had immense complexity and had terrified contestants of MasterChef Australia last year. When asked about what made his recipe different from the other butter chicken recipes, he is quick to point out that there is no one authentic recipe for butter chicken and adds, “The dish chose me rather than I chose the dish.” He then explains that his version of butter chicken he started to cook was when he first moved to Mumbai at a popup restaurant. “I infused smoke in the gravy, delicate use of spices, I cooked it over a long period of time,” he says.
He recently curated a menu for Cinépolis with an aim to Indianise the cinematic experience. “Given the globally renowned status as well as to revolutionise the theatre experience at every step, I was excited to curate a food menu that really stood out for foodies and offered something different,” he recalls, adding, “The menu is a flavoursome combination of my favourite recipes created with a spin. I am confident the patrons would keep coming back for more.”
With shows like Masterchef Australia and Masterchef USA now being broadcast in India, new cooking techniques are fast emerging. Infusing smoke in a dish to get a smokey flavour or use of nitrogen to create a theatrical effect is the in thing.
Saransh says, “I feel there are two aspects to this; one is molecular gastronomy where it is more about the theatrical presentation and not so much as the taste. If you look at some good restaurants and some sound chefs, you will see that they work on pure techniques and then they refine their food.”
He believes if age-old techniques are applied, they can refine any cuisine.
In recent times there have been trends like using of nitrogen to create a different experience, which is exciting, he points out.
He is upbeat about the fact that there has been a shift from all-fusion and back-to-basics, which according to him means using good and sound gastronomic techniques.
Trends in food industry keep changing very fast and keeping pace with global trends in quite a challenge.
Most of the times it is extremely difficult for any chef to keep up with the changing trends, he feels.
On the issue of remaining trendy he says, “Any good chef always understands that the only way to be relevant is to keep on learning. I also believe travelling is the best teacher and one gets to learn a lot about the culture of food,” he says, adding, the more one sees, the more one can learn and adapt, in order to incorporate in the style of culinary.
“I think as a chef evolution is very important. Anybody who as a chef says ‘I know everything’ that’s the day your career becomes stagnant”, he believes.
In a world dominated by Instagram and Snapchat, every person is a critique, every person is now a social media influencer, he says. Gone are the days when people only ate and relished food. Today they relish more through the lens of a camera. Presentation plays a big role as people expect a gourmet fashion.
“I think there is nothing wrong with it. We live in a world where presentation and the way your food looks, the way it appeals to your eyes and camera is very important. You should not do it (presenting in a gourmet way) so much that it takes away the flavour and texture from the dish,” he comments.
While he would prefer to serve simple and hearty meals, but the demand is no longer for simplicity in the palate.
He feels, “If I had my way, Indian food should be presented the way it is supposed to be.” He then adds that fusion in cuisine if done in the right proportion, can have amazing effects. However, if it goes wrong, it can lead to utter confusion.
As a person who has immense experience in the food world and being a restaurentier, he advises aspiring chefs, saying, “If you want to be a celebrity chef, please don’t join this industry. To be a chef, it takes a lot of skills and understanding of the craft. You have to log in many hours in the kitchen. More than that you must respect the art. Do not look for fame before you join the industry.” he concludes adding, “A true chef will first want to be a good chef.”