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By Devika Pathak

The Oxford Dictionary defines inspiration as the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative. Here at LBBD, we are huge fans of inspired creativity and applied this concept to one of our favorites – food.

We caught up with some fabulous chefs in Delhi and asked them about how they define inspiration when it comes to their cooking.

NURIA RODRIGUEZ | IMPERFECTO

Chef-Nuria{Image Credit | http://media.newindianexpress.com}

Ex-master chef of Olive Beach, Nuria is clearly a versatile and innovative chef. Nuria learnt most of her cooking from her grandmother and showcases her distinctive Mediterranean style at her newest venture – Imperfecto in Hauz Khas Village.

If the food you make was a feeling, what would it be?

Happiness… Happiness always, is the certainty that my life is not happening in vain.

Hobbies and interests that fuel your culinary inspiration?

I love everything new and different, I love to paint and then take it to the kitchen. So, sometimes my dishes can be oil paintings.

Was there a chef who inspired you to pursue cooking? If you met this chef today, what would you cook for them?

My grandmother was a great cook … but unfortunately, I can’t cook for her. But if I could, I would make cod with potatoes baked in Spanish white wine.

How do you define inspiration?

Be yourself. The inspiration is dipped into the world of consciousness, putting imagination, soul and feeling. To all this, add an idea you have in the corner of your mind. The final mixture – A unique creation.

 

NIRA SINGH | CHEZ NINI

Nira{Image Courtesy | New Indian Express}

Computer engineer turned chef du jour, Nira Singh is the owner and chef of the trendy Chez Nini, a cozy French bistro that has got Delhi raving. Professionally trained in the gastronomic paradise of Montreal, Nira has brought a new style of fresh and thoughtful cooking to the plates of Delhiites.

If your food was a feeling, what would it be?

Not a feeling, but an all-consuming obsession.

Hobbies and interests that fuel your culinary inspiration?

Art and music of course. I feel my deepest emotions and experiences through both.

Is there a dish or food that makes you the happiest?

All food makes me happy. But basic fresh and quality ingredients before they are touched are most exciting to me, because they represent pure potential and are essentially my tools to create.

If you could invite anyone to dinner who would it be and what would you cook?

Honestly can’t think of anyone specific. Feel like I get to do that every night because I have my own restaurant. I try to treat it like the opportunity of a lifetime that it is everyday and with everyone who comes in.

Your definition of inspiration?

Courage  to be you and see what that honestly is. To be true to and draw from your intuitions, experiences and talents instead of mimicry and too much instruction.

 

RITU DALMIA | DIVA, DIVA Piccola, Latitude 28, Cafe DIVA

ritu dalmia{Image Courtesy | Anshika Varma}

Ritu needs no introduction, a veteran on the Delhi food scene, she is the co-owner of the popular Diva chain of restaurants that have become a bedrock for Italian food in the capital.

If your food was a feeling, what would it be?

LUST pure LUST.

Is there a dish or food that makes you the happiest?

A hot dog always makes me smile, and so does mattar kachori with aloo petha sabzi.

Was there a chef who inspired you to pursue cooking? If you met this chef today, what would you cook for them?

I was seriously in awe of Rose Grey at the River Café in London, unfortunately she passed away, so even if I wanted to, I could not cook for her anymore.

If you could invite anyone to dinner, who would it be and what would you cook?

Author Jeanette Winterson, she’s a lover of Italian food, specially  from Veneto, so  it would be a Venetian meal- Prawns marinated in prosecco with thyme and watermelon, followed by risotto with amarone and pumpkin, then fish with raisins and caramelized onion; for dessert just some biscotti dipped in vin santo.

Your definition of inspiration?

I’m still searching..

 

JATIN MALLIK & JULIA CARMEN DESA |  TRES

tres

With over 13 years of experience across the world, Jatin is an all-round star chef. Having spent time at Zest and the Intercontinental Marine Drive, Mumbai, Jatin now works with his team to create dazzling and innovative creations at Tres in Lodhi Colony.

JATIN MALLIK |

If your food was a feeling, what would it be?

It would be very dramatic and full of expression and life. Very bold.

Hobbies and interests that fuel your culinary inspiration?

Travel is foremost, reading, and adventure sports.

Was there a chef who inspired you to pursue cooking? If you met this chef today, what would you cook for them?

Chef Marco Piere White and Chef Julia Carmen Desa inspired me to cook. There have been lot of chefs in my 15 years who have taught me, but nobody has inspired me to cook the way these two have. I have not set dishes, but will definitely cook with all my love and passion; it could even be an omelet.

Your definition of inspiration?

For me inspiration is nature, how it creates magic out of nothing, adds colour to life and creates symphonies, it has beauty in simplicity.  What inspires me is the originality it has, we cannot create nature or the things nature creates. It has all the flavors, shades of color and textures.

 

JULIA CARMEN DESA |  

Standing right by Jatin, you will find Taj veteran with over 27 years of experience – Julia Carmen Desa. Tres has set the standard for European cuisine in Delhi and the constantly changing menu continue to delight and entice crowds across the city.

If your food was a feeling, what would it be?

Love, happiness, confidence, humble, daring, inspired, energetic and most of all beautiful with inner peace.

Hobbies and interests that fuel your culinary inspiration?

Traveling to different parts of the world to experience the cuisines and to be present in the moment where you can feel the joy and happiness of such a wonderful creation called food. Reading, as I can get a lot of knowledge and keep myself abreast with what is new in the culinary world. Meditation, a very very important part of my life, as this helps me to connect with the higher power, who in turn gives me direction, creative, innovation and inner peace to execute my ideas.

If you could invite anyone to dinner, who would it be and what would you cook?

I would love to invite some of the little children I see everyday while travelling to work. Ask them to come and give me their opinion on my food as children speak from the heart. Their honestly would mean a lot to me. As the menu will be tailored for little ones, it would consist of little treats that we take for granted but children love – pizza, burgers, fries, crumb fried chicken and the works.

A Spoonful of Inspiration | In Conversation with Chefs in Delhi

By Devika Pathak

The Oxford Dictionary defines inspiration as the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative. Here at LBBD, we are huge fans of inspired creativity and applied this concept to one of our favorites – food.

We caught up with some fabulous chefs in Delhi and asked them about how they define inspiration when it comes to their cooking.

NURIA RODRIGUEZ | IMPERFECTO

Chef-Nuria{Image Credit | http://media.newindianexpress.com}

Ex-master chef of Olive Beach, Nuria is clearly a versatile and innovative chef. Nuria learnt most of her cooking from her grandmother and showcases her distinctive Mediterranean style at her newest venture – Imperfecto in Hauz Khas Village.

If the food you make was a feeling, what would it be?

Happiness… Happiness always, is the certainty that my life is not happening in vain.

Hobbies and interests that fuel your culinary inspiration?

I love everything new and different, I love to paint and then take it to the kitchen. So, sometimes my dishes can be oil paintings.

Was there a chef who inspired you to pursue cooking? If you met this chef today, what would you cook for them?

My grandmother was a great cook … but unfortunately, I can’t cook for her. But if I could, I would make cod with potatoes baked in Spanish white wine.

How do you define inspiration?

Be yourself. The inspiration is dipped into the world of consciousness, putting imagination, soul and feeling. To all this, add an idea you have in the corner of your mind. The final mixture – A unique creation.

NIRA SINGH | CHEZ NINI

Nira{Image Courtesy | New Indian Express}

Computer engineer turned chef du jour, Nira Singh is the owner and chef of the trendy Chez Nini, a cozy French bistro that has got Delhi raving. Professionally trained in the gastronomic paradise of Montreal, Nira has brought a new style of fresh and thoughtful cooking to the plates of Delhiites.

If your food was a feeling, what would it be?

Not a feeling, but an all-consuming obsession.

Hobbies and interests that fuel your culinary inspiration?

Art and music of course. I feel my deepest emotions and experiences through both.

Is there a dish or food that makes you the happiest?

All food makes me happy. But basic fresh and quality ingredients before they are touched are most exciting to me, because they represent pure potential and are essentially my tools to create.

If you could invite anyone to dinner who would it be and what would you cook?

Honestly can’t think of anyone specific. Feel like I get to do that every night because I have my own restaurant. I try to treat it like the opportunity of a lifetime that it is everyday and with everyone who comes in.

Your definition of inspiration?

Courage  to be you and see what that honestly is. To be true to and draw from your intuitions, experiences and talents instead of mimicry and too much instruction.

RITU DALMIA | DIVA, DIVA Piccola, Latitude 28, Cafe DIVA

ritu dalmia{Image Courtesy | Anshika Varma}

Ritu needs no introduction, a veteran on the Delhi food scene, she is the co-owner of the popular Diva chain of restaurants that have become a bedrock for Italian food in the capital.

If your food was a feeling, what would it be?

LUST pure LUST.

Is there a dish or food that makes you the happiest?

A hot dog always makes me smile, and so does mattar kachori with aloo petha sabzi.

Was there a chef who inspired you to pursue cooking? If you met this chef today, what would you cook for them?

I was seriously in awe of Rose Grey at the River Café in London, unfortunately she passed away, so even if I wanted to, I could not cook for her anymore.

If you could invite anyone to dinner, who would it be and what would you cook?

Author Jeanette Winterson, she’s a lover of Italian food, specially  from Veneto, so  it would be a Venetian meal- Prawns marinated in prosecco with thyme and watermelon, followed by risotto with amarone and pumpkin, then fish with raisins and caramelized onion; for dessert just some biscotti dipped in vin santo.

Your definition of inspiration?

I’m still searching..

JATIN MALLIK & JULIA CARMEN DESA |  TRES

tres

With over 13 years of experience across the world, Jatin is an all-round star chef. Having spent time at Zest and the Intercontinental Marine Drive, Mumbai, Jatin now works with his team to create dazzling and innovative creations at Tres in Lodhi Colony.

JATIN MALLIK |

If your food was a feeling, what would it be?

It would be very dramatic and full of expression and life. Very bold.

Hobbies and interests that fuel your culinary inspiration?

Travel is foremost, reading, and adventure sports.

Was there a chef who inspired you to pursue cooking? If you met this chef today, what would you cook for them?

Chef Marco Piere White and Chef Julia Carmen Desa inspired me to cook. There have been lot of chefs in my 15 years who have taught me, but nobody has inspired me to cook the way these two have. I have not set dishes, but will definitely cook with all my love and passion; it could even be an omelet.

Your definition of inspiration?

For me inspiration is nature, how it creates magic out of nothing, adds colour to life and creates symphonies, it has beauty in simplicity.  What inspires me is the originality it has, we cannot create nature or the things nature creates. It has all the flavors, shades of color and textures.

JULIA CARMEN DESA |  

Standing right by Jatin, you will find Taj veteran with over 27 years of experience – Julia Carmen Desa. Tres has set the standard for European cuisine in Delhi and the constantly changing menu continue to delight and entice crowds across the city.

If your food was a feeling, what would it be?

Love, happiness, confidence, humble, daring, inspired, energetic and most of all beautiful with inner peace.

Hobbies and interests that fuel your culinary inspiration?

Traveling to different parts of the world to experience the cuisines and to be present in the moment where you can feel the joy and happiness of such a wonderful creation called food. Reading, as I can get a lot of knowledge and keep myself abreast with what is new in the culinary world. Meditation, a very very important part of my life, as this helps me to connect with the higher power, who in turn gives me direction, creative, innovation and inner peace to execute my ideas.

If you could invite anyone to dinner, who would it be and what would you cook?

I would love to invite some of the little children I see everyday while travelling to work. Ask them to come and give me their opinion on my food as children speak from the heart. Their honestly would mean a lot to me. As the menu will be tailored for little ones, it would consist of little treats that we take for granted but children love – pizza, burgers, fries, crumb fried chicken and the works.

The former events manager, and PR and Marketing executive decided to give up the good life, to take on something greater- running her own start-up. Give her a non-fiction book, some place in the outdoors, running shoes, Bombay Bicycle Club and Jay Z, and you've got a happy camper.

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