Tracing The Culinary Journey of Chef Arun of Etc Restaurant In This Exclusive Interview
Cooking in his mother’s kitchen from the age of 12, time has flown and has landed Mr.Arun as the head chef at one of the most famous restaurants in Chennai. He shares his culinary journey in an exclusive interview with us.
What is your favorite cuisine to cook? Why?
“Continental, and creating new dishes as well. Something different than what we know already. This gives me new thoughts and challenges to create new dishes with an authentic base.”
Why did you choose to become a chef?
“It has always been my childhood dream to become a chef.”
How would you describe your cooking style?
“Here I follow the basic style. I follow up with everything that I learnt and give it new look and aroma with the best taste ever.”
How do you test the quality of your ingredients?
“I constantly use my 5 senses and some times my 6th sense to check quality of products and accurately pick my suppliers, ordering daily, prepping daily in small batches for accuracy. I use seasonal ingredients.”
How is it different to cook for a five-star restaurant?
“You get to have more fun with what you’re cooking. Every meal you make is special because you work in an organized environment. What you’re cooking will be an opportunity to tell a story. Your knife and presentation skills also improve.”
What is the proudest accomplishment in your career?
“When I was working in a cruise ship as a chef, I got a chance to work with Chef Jack who was vice president. We handled the menu and launched it on the opening day. I am so proud to say I was one of the people behind creating the menu for the third largest ship in the world.”
What initiated the spark that eventually lead you to where you are now?
“My aim and dream are what have led me here. I was carrying the ball in my hand already, waiting for the right time to throw it into the basket to achieve glory.”
Do you come from a culinary background?
“Yes. I have done an advance diploma in hotel management and advance culinary skills in a culinary institute in America while at sea.”
A memorable story you’d like to share with us?
“I can’t sum up eveything in a single experience but I can tell you that every day is an interesting story in my life.”
What is risk management in the field like?
“Implementation, reviews, feedbacks, FNL, Food Safety and hospitality are some of the risks we face. It all depends on how we follow up and how people are taking it.”
What are your future plans?
“I just want to create a great brand with my name.”
As a chef, what are your responsibilities like?
“I mange the kitchen and the whole department of operations. Menu planning, cost control, implementation, training. I involve myself in purchase and ordering also to make sure of the safety standards. Inspecting daily or on a weekly basis to improve and work on reviews and feedback.”
How would you describe a day in your life as a chef?
“Every day is driven with passion. I think the possibility to create something new always makes me happy.”
Many cuisines are slowly getting Indian-ised to suit the audience, are you for adaptability or against it?
“Every region has a different food and story. It was created to cater to both health and taste of the people. But here we see people customizing and it is not authentic. It wont give you the actual benefit. My opinion is to follow originality and get in to it. That is great.”
How important of a role does technology play in helping you build as a chef?
“To be honest, it is good with new technology. It makes the operations much smoother.”
Your favorite dish?
“Pizza, Indian breads, and Thai curries. They have a good taste, flavour and they are healthy.”
Who are the greatest chefs that inspire your cooking?
“Chef Gordon Ramsey and Chef Willi.”