It was about food over food with three master chefs of Park Hyatt hotels in India, Chef Lars, Saulo and Greg
Sharing a table at one of the best Italian restaurants, Treforni, with three executive chefs, Grzegorz Odolak from Park Hyatt Chennai, Saulo Bacchilega, from Park Hyatt Goa and Lars Windfuhr, who is in-charge of the Park Hyatt Hyderabad, also meant sharing a world of culinary experience. The chefs are in Hyderabad as a part of the promotion, ‘Chefs on Tour’, before heading to Chennai. They treated the Hyderabadi food connoisseurs to specialties from three different regions that included their own favourites during a cooking class and a gala dinner.
Lars is from Germany. He loves Murgh Malai from the Indian cuisine and is cautious about trying Indian food, for obvious reason, he cannot handle the spice. Over the freshly baked bread followed by a delicious Italian meal, he spoke of the tradition of community baking in Germany, where there would be one huge common bakery per village and everyone would bake their bread once per week and that would mean a whole lot of it to last for an entire week and hence, as days went by, the bread would get a little drier.
Even as we were dipping the olive focaccia into olive oil and balsamic vinegar combination, the conversation shifted to microbreweries. ‘Beer can be made at home. All it needs is four key ingredients and it is easier than making wine’…and mention of wine shifted our attention to Feni and Goa and Chef Saulo spoke of the wonderful Park Hyatt property near Candolim beach built as a resort and spa. In addition to the Goan specialty restaurant Casa Sarita, he also mentioned the seafood grills space overlooking the sea that sounded heavenly. Originally from Italy, he has wonderful tales to tell about pasta…’ There is no big rule here – good pasta is the one that you enjoy making, and eating. He, however, is evidently troubled when a guest asks for over-cooked pasta, and, is still coming to terms with the spice fetish of the Indian diners. He is hoping to catch up with the famous Hyderabadi biryani while in the city.
Chef Greg from Poland has definitely learnt the art of eating idli, dosa and idiyappam, yet has a long way to go before he can ruffle up a perfect dosa. He proudly spoke of what he calls the culinary theatre – ‘The Flying Elephant’ at Park Hyatt, Chennai – the five level spiral restaurant with five live kitchens serving Indian, Turkish, Teppan, Western and Asian. And the guests can order from any of the kitchens. One of the things the chef promised to teach in his culinary workshop slated for the next day was from his homeland, pierogi – the Polish dumpling. He specialises in the Turkish cuisine and what he loves about the Mediterranean cuisine is its vast variety that can make for the mezze.
From the types of fishes available in Chennai, the smoked mackerel to the squid ink pasta – the conversation shifted from one topic to other, from one continent to another – while relishing the beautifully presented seared scallops and prawns with mashed apple, rucola pesto, sundried cherry tomato; ravioli stuffed with provolone cheese and porcini sauce, and the asparagus tart. As one was diligently digging into the delicious and juicy herb crusted lamb rack with rosemary roasted potatoes, with fork and knife; Chef Saulo was quick to point out to Lars, who had just then, demolished the lamb dish with flourish, with bare hands – on hindsight; it was indeed more fun that way.
Green apple sorbet and tiramisu – that was the right balance of bitter-sweet, marked the finale to an invigorating conversation over chefs and their culinary tales.
First Published in The Hans India
Chefs on Tour, a unique culinary experience handcrafted by three masterchefs of Park Hyatt hotels in India, features specialties from three different regions and chefs’ favourites from 11 to 13 March, 2016 with a gala dinner on the 12th and festive brunch on the 13th at Park Hyatt, Hyderabad