He is a member of La Chaine de Rotisseurs which is the most reputed gastronomic society globally and was awarded with several medallions, IFCA, Culinary greatness award 2012 and recently top of all Culinary Leadership Award 2015 for his contributions to the Gastronomic society.
Nimisserie is a reflection, an idea that Chef Nimish Bhatia has curated over decades of understanding and exploring the subtle nuances of culinary tastes & textures. It is the unveiling of this dream; a philosophical and ethological documentary of Chef Bhatia and Indian food unified with modern culinary experiences.
Chef Nimish Bhatia in an interview with Suman Prasad spoke in length about his culinary journey, what led to Nimisserie, his inspiration in life, style of cooking, the idea of coming up with cold kebabs and many other interesting thing. Here are the excerpts from the interview.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q. Please take us through your culinary journey.
I was always inspired and delighted with bonhomie and the camaraderie of the Chefs. It all started with a race of culinary run from a beginner commis to Executive Chef and then to Corporate Chef from cities and countries, from one in many to many in one, chest to expand and heads to reach higher.
Early days were a real big grind but I believe that’s what is rewarding now. I believe that this helped me to don the new incarnate. I believe this has helped me to rediscover my potential and discover newer facets of my talents and culinary experience, this has given me a new confidence to be a Chef.
I have worked in various aspects of culinary expertise like working and managing commercial kitchens, pre-opening kitchens, Facility planning, Industrial Kitchens, Hospital kitchens, Fine dining, Bulk or Banqueting, resort kitchens, Theme Kitchens, Flight Kitchens, Modern & interactive Kitchens to traditional & ethnic kitchens, organized trainings to develop chefs and operational practices, Food safety Management with HACCP and ISO 22000:2005, food cost management.
Also, teaching culinary, my work as I translate had been between an onion & potato, fire & frying pan, managing a sensuous journey, but had differences – Different facets of the Culinary faces, different strokes of the known styles, different dimensions of familiar elevation, different surroundings, stirring similarity of souls, different individuals, converging to declarations, different moods finding methods, different pictures getting towards more picturesque speech. Those were the differences!!
I started and developed my carrier over the ranks battling odds at odd hours, and developed the focus that helped me to see only the eye. I have been blessed with those vibrations but yes, it is now after I had a rendezvous with Nimisserie, I am a very happy person.
Q. Nimisserie is your dream come true. Please share your belief, thought process, challenges and everything that led to Nimisserie.
Nimisserie has been my dream from many years. I had a thought for Nimisserie; I wanted to create a feast by the table with live process of culinary conversion, wine and champagne in liberal doses to form part of the do. The diners may choose the meat, marinate it, flame it, to aflame their designer palate.
As I started, fighting against all odds, learning nuances of projects, travelled various places to collate elements for Nimisserie, collating the team and then the Happy moment to announce Nimisserie OPEN.
Q. What has been your inspiration in life?
I strongly believe that food can inspire, entertain, teach & even change course of life. My love for food today has brought me here & made me a chef, changed course of my life & inspired me to be a part of this esteem profession. Food is a reason to celebrate! It is a reason to celebrate every day to replete the dining experience than eating habits. The culinary proficiency should bring a customer holistic ecstasy than a sheer meal delight. Ingenuity knows no boundaries, we have to translate it into fire, dazzle the senses, now that is our equity as a chef, and this creates a drama, an entertainment, a razzmatazz, to good food.
The fervor, the fever, the fiesta, the fest and the feast helps as a dressing gown. I believe this creates true fusion and amalgam. I believe this helped me to rediscover our potential and discover newer facets of our talents and experience. I believe this has given me a new confidence to be torchbearers… proud as a Chef and now getting stronger as an entrepreneur.
Q. What is your style of cooking? Which is your signature dish?
Cooking is an art that comes from heart, I strongly believe in this. It cannot be merely a list of processes culminating it into a result. I believe in aspect cooking, the culinary conversion of ingredients into food and then the combination with accompaniments. Like they say, run with the hare & hunt with the fox, flirt with the food and have fun with the recipes, I want to recreate the food and all will say that that’s the food.
Nimisserie’s menu is a collation of some of my favourite dishes. But If I have to really spell it, it is the Maize and Radish Doda topped over with Taztziki.
Q. How important do you think is presentation or plating the dishes? How much focus is given to this aspect at Nimisserie?
Since food is a very sensuous journey, every aspect is important. Presentation sets the first looks, invites the gastric juices and gives a launching pad to rest of the senses to drive satisfaction index. Nimisserie believes in detailed presentation and tries hard to ensure a beautiful plate – the first allure!!
Q. What is the USP of Nimisserie that sets it apart from other restaurants in the city?
I have tried to create Nimisserie as a restaurant where it’s all aspects celebrates – aspect Cuisine, aspect dining, simple food converting exotic as known flavours of different culinary styles, decor, service design and the prospective diner enjoys a holistic ecstasy than sheer meal delight.
Q. Is it true that Cold Kebabs were innovated by you? How did you come up with this idea?
Yes, the cold Kebabs were my initiative, some time back. I had always thought we should have an Indian answer to European Delicatessens. So we cut down the fat, made the presentation a bit better and served it chilled. This created a razzmatazz and I loved driving this.
Q. We have seen a sudden boom in the use of edible flowers in the food. At Nimisserie, to what extent you use edible flowers?
Flowers is a great thing to use in combination of food, it adds the oomph! I use a lot of flowers like marigold, camomile, rose, hibiscus, jasmine and so on, something for a happy palate!
Q. Fusion Food is another trend that is gripping the chefs across country. What do you think about this trend?
I believe in culinary conversion of ingredients into food, using many style but understanding its basic ethos, if combined properly it forms a fantastic gourmet difference. It is like using various alphabets to form words and then sentences with punctuations and combinations. At the end knowledge is power and if you combine it correct, it would definitely be a winner.
With the competition in current world restaurants, there will always be a hunger for something new and thus this trend.
Q. How is Indian food perceived and appreciated in western countries?
Indian Cuisine is a star, it has so much depth and variety that triumph always returns back, in popularity and acceptance. In the new world Cuisine, a lot of International Chefs also use our relishes, rubs and such. Indian restaurants all over the world are still creating enough demand and is a “Haute Cuisine”.
Q. What does ‘Food’ means to you?
Food to me is a reason to celebrate! It is a reason to celebrate every day to replete the dining experience than eating habits. The culinary proficiency is to bring a customer holistic ecstasy than a sheer meal delight. Ingenuity knows no boundaries, we have to translate it into fire, now that is our equity as a chef, and this creates a drama, an entertainment, a razzmatazz to good food. So, this is all about getting inspired and keep the stage or the satisfaction index evergreen for another level of perfection or another gourmet experience and capable of accepting the challenges of the chaos and the uncertainty of the millennium.
Q. You bring over 26 years of culinary experience and several top honors. What has been your success mantra? Any message for budding chefs and amateur cooks?
Living up to check list is perfection but beyond that is what will remain as our equity. I learned to believe as a Chef, “Unlike the balloon, human endeavour has no defined limits, in the either extremes the same tender hands bleed with a prick of a thorn and the same hands bulldoze huge layers of bricks. So you don’t know that you can do it until you have done it. Creativity knows no boundaries, we have to convert it into conflagration and dazzle the senses”.