WHAT IS THE TOP SKILL NEEDED BY A GREAT CHEF?
What are the secrets of a great chef? Of course they must be experts in the culinary arts. This is extremely important, but they must also have other secrets up their sleeves. I’m not an expert in the culinary arts (although I have run my own restaurant in the past), but I did list some qualities I think are important for the making of a great chef. Would you give me your opinion?
Which of the following qualities do you think are most important for being a great chef? I’ll share some of the experiences from my own kitchen and my opinion of what makes a great chef. Meanwhile, ponder on these:
Knowledge of agriculture
Expertise in international cuisine
Knowledge of kitchen equipment
Communication with staff
Let me tell you how I met Chef Gaje Singh Bisht and why he became my favorite chef.
We were getting ready to leave India and I wanted a memorable lunch but I was afraid of not being able to
pick a restaurant that had what I wanted. India is my favorite country in the world but I always have a hard time with the food because I can’t tolerate hot spicy food and unfortunately for me India and hot spicy food go together like a horse and carriage! Sometimes even the bread bites you!
SHOPPING FOR RESTAURANTS
Was I experiencing deja vu or had I done this on every trip I’d made to India? I was strolling the streets shopping for restaurants. I would walk in, asked to see the menu, pick a few things I thought might be delicious and not spicy at the same time and ask if they were spicy hot. The answer was usually, “No….well, only a little bit“.
I knew what that meant, so I either walked out or ordered something safe like Idli (a rice bread that is pretty tasteless, but safely non-spicy). This day was different! I met Chef Gaje Singh Bisht who introduced me to what comprises a top notch chef. I wanted to learn more and told him I’d like to write a blog about him. This is what he told me about becoming a world class chef:
“I’m from Uttrakhand Rishikesh, Dehradun India. Cooking is my passion and I am a Multi Cuisine Chef (Indian, Continental and Chinese). I’ve been working in the hospitality industry for the last two decades. After doing my 12th standard I did three years in the Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in Hotel Madhuban Dehradun.
After that I worked in Many Hotels and resorts in India like Shangri-la Hotel Shipra Hotel, Residency Resorts and Classic Diplomat in New Delhi. I also worked abroad in Tashkent Uzbekistan, the Kingdom of Bahrain, Hong King and Dubai.
I’m currently working as a Corporate Executive Chef for Classic Diplomat Delhi. This includes four properties–Classic Diplomat in New Delhi, Classic Residency in (Haridwar, Classic Mall Nainital and Classic Hill Top, Chambha Uttrakhand).
This is part of the M/S New Age Hotels and Resorts Ltd, food & Hygiene, where I participate in the Instructor and Consultant Chef Program.
Well, I was blown away! No wonder Gaje had done such an awesome job with my food! To get where he was he had to be very passionate about what he does.
So I asked Gaje when and how his passion for cooking started. I wanted to share his story because I was sure that if he is passionate about what he does, there had to be some circumstance in his life that ignited that passion.
Passion usually springs from a visceral rather than intellectual memory. Sure enough, as I probed for an answer, Gaje vividly recalls the following:
In my childhood I was very close to my grandmother. She cooked very tasty food. Whenever grandma cooked for the family all my family members ate happily enjoying her cooking.
As a child, instead of playing with friends I loved to cook with Grandma.
She taught me lots of cooking techniques and secrets about cooking. This really inspired me about cooking. Even now, whenever I cook food for any reason, even if it is only for my family or friends, I get lots of appreciation which means a lot to me, especially now that I’m a Chef.
I could tell this was true because Gaje seemed very appreciative of my comments when he said:
“Thanks for your beautiful comments. I would like to share my story of becoming a chef. Today I’m a corporate chef and serve more than 1000 people a day and many of them write excellent comments about me. They often call me from out of the kitchen and hug me. And many come to the hotel just because of me. They place their orders, they ask about me and want to be served when ‘Chef Gaje Singh Bisht is in the kitchen’. I think this comes as a reward for my passion. Additionally getting their feedback gives me new creative innovative ideas for dishes and cooking techniques.
Certainly chef Gaje won me over by honing into my personal request like a magnet.
This is the ZERO spicy delight he cooked for me on that memorable day. It was accompanied by a delightful salad and a lemon garlic sauce that was absolutely heavenly!
This brings me back to the idea of the top skills needed by a good chef. I suspect they might be similar to the top skills needed by any person in the service industry. Along with expertise, this boils down to customer service.
When I had my restaurant I used to say that if a customer wanted hard-boiled, fried eggs medium soft, with spinach on top, that was what you had to use your best efforts to provide for him/her.
In my case Gaje gave me ZERO spicy food that was delectable and very tasty.
Being non spicy did not mean that every morsel wasn’t delightfully flavorful. I can only say: “Thank you Gaje for my memorable custom made non-spicy meal”!
Gaje Singh Bisht
+91 – 9818157638
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Gaje Singh Bisht, New Age Hotel and Resorts Pvt, Ltd.
READ ABOUT THE HOTELS WHERE HE WORKS: