Chef Ashish Bhasin is Executive Chef of Trident hotel Mumbai BKC. He is known to showcase different cuisines. He is innovative, believes in learning more recipe, skills and understanding of combining innovation with tradition. In consultation with management of hotel, he introduced concept of “Rivaayat” (reviving of traditional cuisine). He invited persons from different fields to showcase their hidden talent. The concept was well appreciated by guests and foodies. He says “The world is shifting and evolving rapidly. And if you are not changing or evolving with the times, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re stagnating, or merely going backward” in conversation with National Award Winner Food Journalist Sitaram Mewati .
What is “Rivaayat”?
Rivaayat is all about reviving of traditional cuisine. I work with cuisine specialist where they come to my hotel. I club their skill with my planning and come up with unique menus comprising of regional dishes from their cuisine. By doing this we rediscover the undiscovered.
What made you to introduce Rivaayat in Trident BKC.
Mind of a chef is always active to learn and deliver best of the cuisines. We should showcase the recipe which were part of Indian culture but remained aloof for unknown reasons. Rivaayat was launched where few specialists were called; they demonstrated their dishes to us (chefs). We learnt from them came back and did promotions on our own. Later we invited them to do food promotions in our hotel. These promotions were well appreciated by our guest. This made me think that why should I stop with these only!!! Thereafter, my love for local authentic cuisines forced me to mush myself and I start looking for opportunities. Luck favoured and I found few awesome home cooks.
When was Rivaayat introduced?
Rivaayat was launched in December 2014, by company and I started in 2015. The concept was taken a different level of appreciation and we never looked back.
Does showcasing Rivaayat helped participant in their career growth?
It is important for a person to get right platform to showcase their talent. What could be a better platform than Trident? It’s a giant hospitality brand, they got an best opportunity to showcase their talent. These home chefs have never worked in hotels before, so it was a great platform with world class kitchen infrastructure. I have provided them a dais and guide them in planning. I also work with them on menu planning so they can understand how hotels work. Here they got to learn how we plan menus, how to plan, what to cook and how much to cook and what to precook and what to cook ala minute and so on.
Who were the persons you did festivals with?
I wanted to showcase various cuisines with different people and from different regions. Firstly, I started with Ms. Shribala. The Chartered Accountant who had brought her grandmother’s recipes to the Trident, a festival aptly named “Dakshin Rivaayat”, it highlighted the rich culinary heritage of South India. After successful inning in Trident, She has done multiple food pop ups and festivals at various hotels. Currently she is a Brand Ambassador of eatwithindia (www.eatwithindia.com) for Tamil Nadu & Kerala and represents FBAI in Chennai. Secondly, Smita Hegde Deo – showcased her cuisines which were from Karwar. A cook book author and a home cook to bring forth the cuisine from Karwar. Smita who has her roots from Aversa, a hamlet in Karwar has put together a menu which has a variety of vegetable and fish in very classic Karwari preparations. Smita Deo was awarded with Women Game Changers Awards of The HR Club & MPower Stri. She is regularly seen on various culinary platforms and television. Thirdly, Pallavi Nigam: A specialist in Bhojpuri cuisine, Author and TV Culinary Chef. Thereafter, Kashmiri Nath Barkakty, A home chef from Assam. Kashmiri learnt the nuances of Assamese cooking from her mother, and put that knowledge to practise when she had to begin her life in the tea gardens with her husband after her marriage. She did her first ala carte full menu festival and today she is packed with confidence to challenge any one.
Is Rivaiyat helped you, your kitchen team and hotel?
The Rivaayat was a 100% successful and made us proud to be a part of it. When someone is showcasing their talent it needs support from kitchen team as well. Entire kitchen team got to know different cuisines of different personalities of different regions. As on today we have many dishes in our “Jhola” (Bag).
What shape will Indian cuisine take in India and abroad in due course of time?
Regional cuisine and tribal cuisine is the next big thing going to happen. We have seen Classical indian food, nouvelle and modern and now is the time to discover the real potential which lies in remote areas of our country. I believe that protecting our tradition is to go forward. The part you protect and the part you innovate has to move in parallel. Otherwise, a thousand years from now we will still be exactly the same.
Author: Sitaram Mewati
Award winning journalist