Chef Rakesh Prasad, Executive Sous Chef, The Suryaa New Delhi.
I specialise in: Western cookery with international styling and modern presentation.
My favourite cuisine is: Any cuisine that has concept development, new ideas and creativity – from dal roti to Japanese cuisine.
I love to cook: Because cooking is hands-on, a reality. Food must unite people. Food is not just a means of nutrition or of suppressing hunger. It’s a means of enjoying our time together. During the most important occasions in our lives, we are seated at the table for a meal. So, food is also something sacred.
The best meal I ever had: My mother’s home cooked food, before I left home for IHM, Goa in 1998.
My signature dishes are: Lemon grass spiced fillet of salmon on truffle kapsa rice, steamed bok choy and fennel sauce. It has also won several accolades.
I decided to become a chef because: For me, becoming a chef was not the original decision. I experimented with a few other careers but was always too afraid to pursue cooking. Eventually, I started cooking for friends, which in turn led to me cooking for their friends, and eventually, this became a career. It happened in a very organised way and I feel very lucky.
I avoid stress by: Spending time with family, friends and on Facebook.
I unwind by: Watching movies and cooking simple dishes.
If not a chef then I would be: An Indian Air Force Cadet. I was also selected for NDA.
Tips for aspiring chefs: Some of the important qualities of a good chef are critical thinking, and a natural leadership ability that creates team synergy. A person with exceptional organisational and planning skills, who enjoys new challenges, is a good chef. Aspiring chefs should follow the trends of international cuisine with recipes using ingredients from different countries. They should adopt modern cooking and packing techniques, and get introduced to molecular gastronomy.