The fame and popularity of Indian food on a global scale is the real stuff of legend now. Indian chefs everywhere are taking rich and variegated parts of our cuisine to every aspect of the world. Many Indians at home are also rediscovering Indian food in a whole new light due to chefs like Nishant Choubey, who are committed to bringing the local vegetables, fruits, spice blends, drinks and a lot more to eager diners. Having worked with countless culinary icons across the globe, Chef Choubey likes to call himself a ‘mentor’. Cooking is something you learn and master over time; nobody is born with a Midas touch he says.

Being associated with the Seinan Group (Tokyo) and Michelin-Plated Indus Bangkok, one of the actual turning points in Chef Choubey’s career was when he was one among the few Indians selected to attend Master's Chef Classes at the World Gourmet Summit in Singapore. He has been responsible for cooking up a storm for legendary properties such as The Oberoi Group of Hotels, Raj Vilas Jaipur, Jumeriah Group, Dubai and The Olive, Delhi. He is also the co-founder of Street Storyss Bangalore. If you follow him on social media, you are probably already privy to the delicious recipes that he posts every so often. We caught up with the chef for a quick chat. Excerpts 

Q. When Did You Start Cooking?

I started cooking at the age of 14. I used to make suji ka halwa, and I was responsible for cooking it during snack time. It was a happy feast for my family and me. 

Q. What Is Your Comfort Food?

Comfort food means simple flavours which are easy on the stomach, and one craves for it. My idea of comfort food is anything and everything that has an abundance of simplicity, purity and love. Every cuisine boasts of its comfort takings. I predict comfort going gourmet as a trend too. 

Q. Did you grow up in a foodie family? Do you cook for your family often?

I didn’t grow up in a foodie family, but we did focus on eating a lot of variety. Since I come from Jharkhand, which is very rich in terms of organic produce. We went big on seasonal produce; our crops, especially millets, are super healthy and are now getting their due recognition even on an international level. 

Q. A dish that you cooked recently and were very impressed with? 

A dish I recently prepared, hmmm... I curated a special menu with chef Shivansh at Street Storyss Bangalore, and one of the dishes was ‘IT'S ALL ABOUT PUMPKIN’. This happened by default. The dish was never part of the menu. Once when I was working on the other dishes, I saw this humble pumpkin lying there on the racks. The vegetable is honestly quite underrated. Shivansh and I decided to cook it, and we used every part of the dish to curate a wholesome preparation. The skin was made into chips, the seeds were lightly roasted, and it turned out to be crispy, and then we blended it to make flavourful powder. The flesh was marinated with rosemary, garlic and a little bit of olive oil, a little bit of the same was blended with a hint of a cappuccino. So it was ALL ABOUT PUMPKIN- pumpkin cappuccino with pumpkin shavings, pumpkin skin aromate served with roasted pumpkin seeds. 

Q. A Kitchen Ingredient You Are Obsessed With Right Now

Panchphoran is a spice I am in love with. It is just a perfect blend of seasoning. But, on the other hand, beetroot is something that excites me constantly, it has a natural purple colour, and it retains its texture for very long. 

Q. A Cooking Tip You Would Like To Give Us For Winter And Upcoming Festivities

A useful tip would be to refrain from refined offerings. Try to make gourmet dishes without refined starch/ refined sugar and refined salt. We should use dates / jaggery/ coconut sugar /palm sugar / wheat / ragi flour / buckwheat / sea salt to create delicacies. Also, it's not a bad idea to go vegan for a while; use plant dairy to surprise everyone. 

Q. A favourite kitchen tool

A blow torch is something that I always keep with me.