If we call Celebrity Chef Vicky Ratnani a Globetrotter Chef then there is absolutely no exaggeration in this phase as his traveling experiences are an enthralling story in itself. A Chef, a restaurateur, TV Host of famous culinary shows like “Vicky goes Desi, Vicky Goes Veg, Vickypedia is one of the pioneers in experimenting with Molecular Gastronomy in India.
Molecular gastronomy, if explained in simple terms is the coming together of food with science i.e. it involves the physics and chemistry of each food ingredient which is used to create an innovative dish. Have you heard of Charcoal Ashes Egg or Edible River Stones, that’s what molecular gastronomy can do to your food.
He is one such Indian Chef who knows the secret of world cuisines and yet cooks desi food in his own progressive style which brings a modern twist to traditional and regional recipes. Be it the Café of Paris or Seafood market of Norway or the lanes of Spain, his global gourmet trail is filled with local recipes and dishes which make him a global Citizen.
His Restaurant “Korner house” in Bandra, Mumbai is a must-visit place as the vegetables and meat would come out in a completely new flavor and look. Have you heard of Roasted Cucumber or Beef served with parmesan foam if no then you must make a visit to this place in Mumbai.
He is currently researching about Latin- American Cuisine and would soon launch a book which talks about food across the globe. Can’t wait for that!
You have been very experimental in your culinary career. From IHM to Cruise ships, Italian kitchens, Entrepreneur, Author and a highly revered Celebrity Chef. Which experience is closest to your heart?
My culinary journey started from Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition, Mumbai and then I traveled around the world. So my early days of cooking and my experience on the ships has been one of the closest and best part of my life. Cooking my first Italian Lasagne way back in 1989-90 which made me realize that I am good in what I am doing. My ship life is about the hard work, travel, and learning so much about different kinds of culture. Going to the best seafood markets, fishing in Norway and shopping in Spain or being on Caribbean islands, it has been a memorable kind of journey which now can be seen in the progressive style of my own cooking. This has infused and influenced a lot my style of cooking
You have been one of the pioneers in experimenting with Molecular Gastronomy in India. Can interested home chefs start exploring Molecular Gastronomy on a budget?
There are certain things which you can do to begin without professional equipment. Eg if you can get a Vacuum sealer like Home Food sealing Machine or If you want to practice cooking “Sous vide” at a controlled temperature you can get some chemicals like sodium benzoate which are available online, to begin with, so to a certain extent yes, you can do it at home. Smoking, griddling, dehydration can be done with the mix of equipment.
To know more about Molecular gastronomy Check out – Molecular Gastronomy
How was ‘Korner House’ conceptualized and what is the inspiration behind it?
Korner House, Mumbai is a market driven and technique driven place, We have lots of small plates, signature flat-breads and then you have the food coming off the grill and there is a fair amount of modern vegetarian dishes and it’s about world flavor. It started with molecular gastronomy at my first restaurant 10 years ago but slowly I grew out of it and was looking for better and clean flavors. It is a place where you could share a lot of starters and main course. It is about the community eating where you eat at the table together.
There are a lot of forgotten and ignored Indian dishes. How would you bring some of these back on the plate?
Well in my show “Vicky goes desi” I have done a lot of dishes which are inspired by the states of India. The idea is that more and more chefs should concentrate on the old lost Indian recipes and bring in some regional and Homestyle food into the restaurants but with a different presentation.
What is your favourite recipe from your book “Vicky goes veg” and why?
Well it’s very hard to pick and choose but I love cauliflower salad with plums, saffron, and olives. There is a very nice and simple recipe from Egypt called as Kushari (also Koshari). This is a national dish from Egypt, simple and yet flavourful. Then there is also the Carpaccio with tendli (small cucumber-like veggie which you eat in Maharashtra, also known as Ivy gourd). These recipes are very different because this is what you will not do with a tendli or cauliflower normally. It is a very simple yet flavourful dish. Kushari is a very tasty dish which is made with Rice, Masoor dal, Macaroni and spicy tomato sauce and fried onion from the top.
Do you see something on the (Indian) food scene today that you would never have imagined 10 years ago?
Street food coming to fine dining restaurants. The popularity of Indian Food abroad which has been accepted. The usage of Asian spices even in Europe and America. I would not have imagined 10 years ago. Indian restaurants getting Michelin stars is something which I would not have expected 10 years back.
What’s next on your bucket list?
Cooking Academy, Research on Latin- American Food and regional Indian recipes. I am trying to explore the other side of myself. I am also planning to write a book which is going to be on the different type of Food across the world
Can we please have a message from you for all the Plattershare Home Chefs.
So this is the message to all the lovely people and passionate cooks, I think this is the most amazing profession, pastime, stressbuster whatever you may call it. There is a lot of great food around you which is happening so I would say look around more, explore more and very importantly share it among other people so that the legacy of your good cooking is carried forward to the next generation and people around you. The best happiness which you could get is the joy of feeding somebody.
On a very Personal Note – He is a man of his word, very humble and punctual and I (Kirti Yadav) would like to narrate this experience because I can’t hold myself back. My Call was scheduled with him at 7:30 PM and unfortunately I could not take it because I had to rush to attend my daughter (I am a proud mompreneur). I called him and told the whole story and he said let’s connect when your daughter sleeps at 10 PM. So this is a very special interview for me where I was touched by the gesture of a celebrity who is so down to earth.