Chef Sarfaraz Holds The Philosophy That ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’
Image Credit: Chef Sarfaraz Ahmed

Chef Sarfaraz Ahmed is helming the reins of Tresind Mumbai since 2019. Intrigued by the nuances of modernist Indian cuisine, his travel from Sous Chef to Head Chef has been about focus, dedication, and most important his curiosity to learn. As a young boy from Shimla, Chef Sarfaraz Ahmed always knew he wanted to work with food. He made all effort to learn about the different aspects of hotel management and thus embarked on his journey with food. Chef Sarfaraz’s career has been added with immense international exposure thus nurturing a thought process that gives meaningful direction to food.  Innovation, curiosity, and learning are words that best describe the driving force guiding his journey.

Trèsind, the multi-award-winning and critically acclaimed modernist Indian fine dining restaurant has unveiled a new 14-course tasting menu in Mumbai. Helmed by Chef Himanshu Saini as the Corporate Chef and Chef Sarfaraz Ahmed as the Head Chef for Trèsind Mumbai, the new menu is set to elevate the modernist cuisine experience with its latest offering. The menu at Trèsind Mumbai is an immersive degustation that challenges the common perceptions of diners with an emphasis on experiential dining.

While growing up what has been your fondest food memories?

I have grown up in Shimla where at home rajma chawal, kadhi, and black dal are some of my favourites. Outside bakeries are also very popular there so burgers, eclairs, puffs and even bakeries sell momos there. In our winter holidays, we used to visit our granny's home in Kanpur. This was a completely non-vegetarian affair. Kebabs, nihari and biryani were everyday meals. Shalgam gosht is one of my most loved dishes there. Even breakfast used to be keema puris, keema parathas, and kebab samosas. 

What has been your primary style of cooking, and how would you say it’s evolved over the years?

I have been very fortunate to get exposure to various kitchens while working in Leela hotels at an early stage of my career as a management trainee. I started off with European fine dining restaurants then moved to banquets and fine dining Indian and Asian restaurants in different locations at the Leela. My first exposure was to Italian and French cuisine which became a primary style. Over the years I have evolved my style while travelling and working in different locations like Delhi, Bangalore, Kerala, and Lucknow. Every time I have tried to learn the local cuisine of the area where I am working and that has influenced me.

Tresind is all about experiential dining, when it comes to a progressive Indian fine dining experience what can one expect?

Tresind stands for very Indian and follows the philosophy of Atithi Devo Bhava that the guest is God. We work around engaging all the senses of our diners. The food has been continuous innovation with small portions, pleasing your eyes and taste buds. It’s a course-wise meal where each dish has a star ingredient, story or inspiration combined together. 

While crafting the culinary experience with a grand 14- courses, what are a few things you specifically took care of?

The primary motive is to make flavorful dishes that are presented in an absolutely beautiful way.  A dish should please us first before making its way to the dining room. In the fourteen courses, we start with handpicked snacks, chaat, appetizers, cold course, mains and desserts. Each dish should fill up a specific place on the menu. There should not be a repetition of ingredients, colours and the same flavours in dishes. 

How easy or difficult is it to understand the Indian palate and flavours?

Indian palate is complex and diversified as every 100 km there is a change in eating habits. Plus, we have a very huge area as a country where the south Indian palate is completely different from the central east or west likewise none of the areas has the same eating habits, ingredients, or culture.

To understand the Indian palate, we need to go very regional and specific with the area.

How does it take to sustain the competition?

Cook from your heart, make your diners happy and have competition with yourself.

What is your idea of innovation when it comes to food?

This is the time to create some new classics as our classics have been represented enough in different ways in past years. Each and every dish that is on our menu is always kept open to evolving further and never called a signature dish as we believe that when we call dishes signature their development ends. 

In the recent past, tell us one of your favourite dining experiences and what made it special.

I have dined twice recently at Tanjore Tiffin Room because of its rustic approach and simplicity with complete justice to the flavour profile.

Your comfort food and recipe of the dish

My comfort food is dal khichdi. I like to add some spinach and biryani masala for flavour.

Dal khichdi


    75 gm Yellow moong lentils                

    25 gm Red lentil masoor                

    100 gm Broken basmati rice                

    Few leaves Spinach                     

    3 gm Biryani masala                    

    25 gm Ghee                        

    4 gm Cumin seeds                    

    2 gm Turmeric powder                

    4 gm Coriander powder                

    2 gm Green chilli chopped                

    2 gm Red chilli powder                

    10 gm Butter                        

    30 gm Chopped onion                    

    25 gm Tomato chopped                


    Heat ghee in a pot and add cumin seeds, crackle them and add chopped onion and brown them lightly.

    Add powdered spices, green chilli and tomatoes with little water and cook till the oil separates.

    Add pre-soaked lentil and rice mix. 

    Add 275 ml of water and add salt.

    Add chiffonade of spinach and cook till rice and lentils are done. 

    Once everything gets cooked stir vigorously to combine everything together. Add more water if required.

    Finish with butter and serve with pickle and curd.