In talks with KitchenAid Chef Of the Fortnight: Chef PRIYAM CHATTERJEE,
Head Chef Qla, Kalka Dass, Mehrauli, Delhi
Q: What does cooking mean to you?
– Cooking means my way of life and my entire thought process revolves around it. Art and passion has always been my driving force. And definitely looking unto my mentor jean Claude motivated me… As time evolved motivation came from passion driving working hours.
Q: Any anecdote you would like to share?
– Lots to mention, but once I remember I was made to stand in front of a live counter and I knew nothing of French, the lady walked up to me and asked where was the toilet (which I know now) , I pretended not to hear her, but she said that again to which I replied, ‘ Madame navratan korma’, she was speechless, I was baffled and my friends were rolling on the floor.
Q: High point of your life?
– Yet to achieve. Every new dish is a high point at work for me.
Q: How long have you been cooking?
– I have been cooking for 6 years now
Q: Where did you train to be a chef?
– I started off with the Park Hyatt hotels (excluding my education of course!colleges don’t make cooks), where I met my mentor chef jean Claude figure and gathered a great deal of learning from him. Not just food but his way of life that revolved around the fine cuisine. My time in Fauchon helped me a lot too. (To name a few)
Q: Why did you choose to become a chef?
– I was made to be a chef it was a passion driven decision which turned out to be sheer love
Q: How would you describe your ‘Style of Cooking’?
– My style of cooking is dynamic but true to technics and base of French cuisine… Although I don’t associate myself with any genre.
Q: Which dish do you like cooking the most?
I Love cooking a sea bass in mango cream, a duck with truffle sauce, a lemon tart, I don’t have a favorite ingredient, I love cooking by pairing elements.
Q: What’s your favorite ingredient to cook? Why?
– When we break down dishes and assemble them back together; daily association where I and my boys discuss new dishes.
Q: What’s the first thing you do when you enter your kitchen for the day?
– I wash my hands and hi-five everyone on the premises, check my stock my chillers and start the day.
Q: Which other chefs do you admire?
– Massimo Bottura, Andre Chiang, Marco Pierre white, Alex Atala, Grant Achatz, Danial Patterson, Bjorn frantzen
Q: Do you have any advice for someone wanting to become a chef?
– Follow your heart and prepare for everything that’s going to rip you apart but in the end, flavors you will come out to be a fine cook. Develop flavors, Always push you against time, embrace the life of a chef. ..Food will follow.
Priyam Chatterjee was born to a family where feasts and get-togethers were a daily deal. His affair with cooking and the hospitality business has been a long one. He has worked with many greats in the culinary world. Starting with Jean-Claude Fugier from France who is Priyam's mentor; to Spanish chef Royo Matteo Grandi; chefs from Gueltero Marchesi; also the legendary Fauchon, Paris. Gault Millau reviews the food prepared by Priyam. Priyam Chatterjee has always been deeply passionate about whatever he has taken a liking to doing. Cooking for him is love nurtured and techniques mastered. The man is an artist, passionately in love with the food he creates.