Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Chef of The Week-Nilesh Singhvi


Nilesh Singhvi

    Nilesh Singhvi is an accomplished chef with 20 years of experience. Although he has managed and cooked various cuisines, his passion remains for preparing Indian cuisine. 

Chef Singhvi worked for the Taj Group of Hotels, the leading luxury hotel chain in India, and rose to become their executive chef. During this career, spanning nearly 18 years-mostly as the Indian chef in top five-star hotels, he got the chance to work with a few master chefs of Kashmiri, Avadhi and South Indian cuisines. He was the main Indian chef of Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi – a five-star property known for its restaurants. In 2000, he became executive chef at hotels in Nashik (Maharashtra), and then at Goa and Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh), where he mastered himself in these regional cuisines. He then accepted a new challenge as the executive chef at Hotel Yak & Yeti in Kathmandu, Nepal. 

Hailing from Jodhpur in the Indian state of Rajasthan, Chef Nilesh Singhvi is entrenched in Indian culture and hospitality but at the same time is very open minded, flexible and always looking for new ideas. 
His love for cooking began in India, so he pursued formal culinary training at the Institute of Hotel Management in India, a school similar in prestige to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA).

During his career, Nilesh has cooked for dignitaries such as Mr. A.B.Vajpayee, Ex Prime Minister of India; Mr. Jacques Chirac, Former President of France; Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, Former Prime Minister of U.K.; Mr. George Bush Sr., Former President of USA, Mr. Bill Gates and many others. He also participated in the Indian Food Festival at Le Touessrok, Mauritius & World Economic Forum, Davos. 

Nilesh is presently at the Bombay Club in Washington, DC preparing the fine dining regional Indian cuisine as executive chef. Bombay Club opened its doors to offer fine, authentic Indian cuisine to Washingtonians in 1988 and the restaurant maintains its focus for excellence under the leadership of restaurateur Mr.Ashok Bajaj. 

    Serving Parsi, Goan, Moghlai and coastal Indian cuisine reminiscent of the erstwhile clubs of India in a formal, white-tablecloth dining room just a few blocks from the White House, the restaurant has played host to international celebrities from President Bill Clinton to Paul Simon.



     Here's a tete-a tete with Chef Nilesh Singhvi:

  1.What is the latest addition to your menu? 
    Brussels Sprout Poriyal
2.    The hottest selling item on your menu.
Crispy Kale Chaat
3.    One dish you are extremely proud of creating.
Tandoori Mustard Scallop
4.    Which is the oldest dish on your menu?
Green Chili Chicken (other than usual chicken makhni).
5.    Most expensive dish on the menu?
Tandoori Lamb Chops
6.    Name some celebrities who frequent your restaurant? 
This is one of the power dining spots of Washington DC. Hillary Clinton, Stevie Wonder, Michael Douglas, Bill Clinton, George Bush, Madeleine Albright, many Senators, world bank chiefs, Shakira and  Condoleeza Rice.  

7.    The dish on your menu that gives the most value for money.
Tandoori Salmon

8.    The best thing about being a chef?
It’s the second noble profession after being a doctor.

9.    The worst thing about being a chef.
Leaves you with very less time for the family.

10.  The best home cooked dish you enjoy. Who makes it?
Rajasthani Gatte , my wife.

11.  If you were not a chef, what would you have been? 
I would have been in the Army
And why? I feel it is a very honourable, sacrificing and dedicated job which makes you serve your country at best & make you a fit, disciplined & decorated gentleman.

12.  One chef you really admire and look upto?
Not one, but I do admire quite a few great chefs and I want to be like them.

13.  What’s the USP of your restaurant?
The first regional Indian fine dining Restaurant in the country, the first Indian restaurant to serve a sitting president. Our hard work and dedication are our USPs as we adopt a keep evolving-keep changing attitude (we just celebrated 25th anniversary & that too on top rating).

14.  What do you like about the city you are in Washington D. C.?
Capital of the world, city with mostly young & educated people, climate.

15.  One guest you wish to be able to create a dish for. Who would that be?
President Obama
And what would you serve him/her?
Chakki ki Subzi (a Rajasthani vegetarian delicacy)

16.  Would you like to share a special recipe or two with our readers?
Sure, these are two easy to adapt recipes:

Shrimp with tail, peeled & deveined (16-20)       20 each
Lemon juice                                                                    1 tbs
Curry leaves chopped                                                    1 tbs
Salt                                                                                  1tsp
Red chili powder                                                              half teaspoon
Black pepper ground                                                      half teaspoon
Fennel seed ground                                                       1 teaspoon
Oil                                                                                           1 tablespoon     

Mango diced small                                                          1 cup    
Sugar                                                                                     1 cup
Lemon juice                                                                       1 tablespoon
Cardamom ground                                                          1 teaspoon
Salt                                                                                         half teaspoon

Marinate the shrimps with rest of the ingredients.
Keep them aside for 2 hours.
In the meantime, prepare chutney by cooking all the ingredients (except cardamom) together in a sauce pan.
Cook till mango is soft. Add cardamom ground. Check for the seasoning.
Take it off the fire & let it cool.
Heat oil in a frying pan. Put in shrimps & cook till transluscent.
Serve hot with mango chutney.


INGREDIENTS                                             QUANTITY
Chicken Boneless                                            2 lbs
Thai green chilies                                            5 Oz
Cilantro chopped                                            1 cup                                                         
Dill chopped                                                   1 tspn
Onion                                                              1 medium (chopped)
Tomato                                                            1 medium (chopped)
Oil                                                                   2 Tblspn
Garlic Ginger paste                                         1 Tbspn
Turmeric Powder                                            Half Tspn
Red Chili Powder (deghi mirch)                     Half Tspn
Coriander seed powder                                   1 tspn
Salt                                                                  To Taste
Lemon juice                                                    2 tspn
Clove ground                                                  5-6 each
Green cardamom ground                                5-6 each
Fennel seed ground                                         1 tspn

1.      Cut the chicken in pieces & wash.
2.      Ground cardamom, clove & fennel.
3.      Ground green chilies into a paste (adding little water).
4.      Heat oil in a pan, add onions, fry for 15-20 minutes till golden color.
5.      Add ginger & garlic paste, saute for 2 minutes till oil separates.
6.      Add the spices (powders) & fry for few seconds.
7.      Add tomatoes cook for few minutes till oil separates. Add salt.
8.      Add the chicken & cook till it gets almost cooked.
9.      Add dill, cilantro & green chili paste. Cover the pan for about 2 minutes.
10.  Add lemon juice & grounded clove-cardamom-fennel.
11.  Serve hot.

Garnish with halved cherry tomato, ginger julienne.
Can also add spinach (blanched & made into paste) to make more green & healthy.

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