Mauritius, East Africa.
I started my hospitality career as a trainee waiter at Long Beach Hotel in Mauritius. After 16 months of hard work, I was promoted as a junior head waiter in an A la Carte restaurant called the Boat House Restaurant. The restaurant has an open kitchen where the Chefs were cooking live in front of guests. I had always enjoyed being around the kitchen watching the Chef’s cook delicious food.
After working three years, I was offered a job in Seychelle Island, Lemuria Resort, where I had to cook my own food in my accommodation. This is where my cooking journey began and it eventually began my passion. After working for numerous 5 star hotels, Relais Chateaux and for a few leading hotels. I performed in different roles such as head water, food and beverage supervisor and restaurant manager.
Wherever I have worked, while serving food to my customers, I always felt like there was something I could have done better or finetuned in terms of food presentation. After work, I would go home and start cooking using more or less the same ingredients as the Head Chef would use. I tried to cook the best meals by learning and exploring more and more about food and wine, and also dining in different types of restaurants.
I nourished and cherished the dream to be an Owner/Head Chef of a restaurant which I never voiced as at that time it was not financially feasible.
In January 2011, I came to Perth with my wife for a better opportunity. While in Australia I’ve had the chance to work in a few places as Maître D’ but not as a cook or Chef. At last I joined Crown Perth and that’s where I met Pawan Rughoobur who is now my business partner, but when I knew him he was my venue manager. We both left the establishment in 2013.
One day Pawan proposed a partnership to me to own a restaurant in Serpentine. Without hesitation, I decided to go ahead even though we did not have much savings. The only things we had were our self-confidence, dedication, passion, team work and trust. Well, hard work started paying off, only three months after opening, we were among the top three finalists for 2016 in the Gold Plate Awards for “New Restaurant.” We really wanted to be at the top spot so we are working really hard for it. It will be just a dream come true for both of us.
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
To be honest, I always wanted to be a detective since I was a kid. I left college early and didn’t have a great academic background, so I joined the food and beverage department. Cooking became an important part of my daily life and I was cooking different dishes, incorporating different style cuisines composing of meat, fresh seafood and poultry for members of my family. Everyone loved my culinary skills.
How would you define your style?
I would say a unique combination of French fusion with a touch of Mediterranean, Modern Australian, Italian and Mauritian cuisine.
What is your feature flavour these days?
I love to use local produce all the time from vegetables, herbs, seafood to meat. I always try to pick the freshest products as I do not have a supplier. Freshness is my key feature.
Obsessive compulsive about?
Maintaining the cleanliness of my kitchen at all times. As a restaurant owner and Executive Head Chef, I am obsessive about the consistency in the food I cook, from presentation to flavour and balance. Each dish that I prepare is part of me.
Your greatest culinary inspiration?
My late Mum has been a very important part of my culinary inspiration. I still remember when I was 9-years-old, I always sat next to Mum watching her cook on the wood fire for my family, later when I grew up I started helping my Mum with food preparation, especially when Mum and Dad went to work. Pawan, my business partner, also played an important role in my success as he always trusted me and knew what I could showcase if I were to step into a Chef’s shoes.
What do you love about the business?
I personally love this business because I feel like I am a kitchen hero. As an Executive Head Chef, cooking the best meal for my patrons and giving every dish a WOW factor is a must. If my customers are extremely delighted by the food I’ve cooked for them, this gives me the utmost satisfaction. We have chosen a concept not to be financially prolific but to be more of a restaurant that provides a good experience and we will build our reputation from there.
On a few occasions, patrons would even applaud when I came onto the floor – which absolutely warms my heart.
An ingredient you can’t live without?
I must say Italian parsley has been my favourite ingredient since I was a teenager. My Mum and Dad used to grow all the fine herbs, especially Italian parsley, which great because it went well in almost any dish, from poultry to seafood.
Most ‘eyebrow raising’ menu item?
Seared shark bay scallops and prawns with minty pea puree with cauliflower crumble and pomegranate, and sauce vierge.
I don’t have a specific signature dish as my style of presenting the dishes changes two or three times a week, so it doesn’t look boring, especially for our regular diners. So, the main component stays the same, but I change the look each time with a different garnish and accompaniment. One dish I will mention is the grilled eye fillet with pomme Dauphinoise, baby carrot, baby beetroot, purple sweet potato chips and chimichurri sauce.