Slurrp Exclusive: Senior Executive Chef Vivek Tamhane On Traditional Cookbooks Vs Millennial Cookbooks
Chef Vivek Tamhane is the Senior Executive Chef at BLVD Club with over 30+ years of culinary experience in frozen food and bakery and has immense operational experience setting up restaurants in Europe and managing shop operations restaurants in India. He has been popular on cookery for various weekly special menus for almost the last three years, giving lots of variety of world cuisine, authentic cooking, and easy cook at home recipes. He has been doing lots of Exotic menus, like Sunday Brunches, valentine's day, mothers day, and fathers day. Also, Patrick day, the Traditional menu -Diwali, Christmas -new year, and even on special occasions like world health day. He always says it is an ongoing way to look forward to upkeep the standard.
He had done a MasterChef class for adults, and the kid's most impressive was the chocolate house making during the Christmas season. Every year for Christmas, he makes a gingerbread house city to display, an attraction of the core restaurant. Also, introduce some live dishes for most events like BBQ and Grills. He recently introduced DIY sets for marination, which is very easy to do effortlessly to keep the current pandemic situation. He was delighted that he had achieved the most Guinness World Records Award. As of today, He ideated to go into a venture like a new hotel projects expansion. He is putting his inputs with chef Vikas Seth (Culinary Director) for some of the projects of Embassy Groups.
Chef Vivek has authored two books, ‘Chef’s Recipes’ nominated for Maharashtra Rajya Puraskar and ‘Jagtik Masale’ based on various Indian Spices. In addition, chef Vivek has been facilitated with multiple prestigious awards and recognition, including National Certified Chef -2009, Best Creative Chef award (Canada), Housewives Favourite Chef -2014 and Cheefee -2014.
Creating a menu that suits everyone’s taste is challenging for a chef. At the onset, it requires food trials with a generic menu including favoured dishes, internal food sampling, and a few guests' reviews. Then, every 6-8 months, we analyse the favourite dishes on the menu. Accordingly, we change dishes that aren’t getting much customer response or traction. This process is repeated periodically as it’s an ongoing activity. There are times when we have to change some of the dishes from the list of favourites due to the tendency of customers to get bored of the same dishes and the expectation that there will be new items on the menu.
I will always prefer traditional cookbooks to the more modern and millennial cookbooks. Most of us have had food that our mothers have prepared. It uses many techniques and has authenticity; most importantly, it demonstrates the art of making dishes from scratch. As a result, the food tastes magical, though it might not be extraordinary in its presentation. On the other hand, the new era of cookbooks has a beautiful way of presenting and garnishing, but there are times when a few of the ingredients or the equipment used are difficult to find. For example, while making sugar candy, you need a sugar thermometer, rarely available to everyone.
I used to like a lot of dishes from my childhood, especially the ones my mom would make on festival days. I always loved observing how she would make it, mixing the ingredients, soaking, and grinding it on a stone. Being a child, I never understood and used to wonder why she would soak pulses overnight. That wonder is how all traditional food started influencing me. I always like and prefer home food.
I do not know because I always wanted to become a pilot. My mother’s food started inspiring me to do my further studies in culinary arts, whereas my father was very much against it. So, after college, I started working with the Taj Mahal Hotel Mumbai. Initially, it was tough, but I grew to like the job. I then moved abroad and worked in London, Scotland, Canada and Dublin. This was exceptionally great exposure to the culinary world, where I also realised that our Indian food was so popular globally and how incredibly proud we are of that.
During my school days, we used to get a chocolate cookie sandwich. I loved eating the cream but not the cookies. But, of course, everyone was aware of it, so my mom used to give me the cream separately, and she used to eat the cookies. One day she brought 4-5 packs of these cookies, and while she was sleeping, I opened one of the packs, took out the cream and ate it, keeping the cookies back in the pack. When my mom realised what I had done two days later, she scolded me severely, making it one of the most horrible days. I still enjoyed the cream, though!
It has changed drastically. Today, everyone knows about global cuisines, with their cultures being well-appreciated in India. Many people have enjoyed food from different origins, especially Italian cuisine. Even Mexican, Thai, Japanese and Chinese have become extremely popular here. In India, we are home to some of the best. I remember one of our European guests mentioning that the food here is better than in other countries. I give all credit to the creativity of our chefs.
Jagtik Masale (world spices) is a book about herbs from worldwide. I travelled around the globe when I was working on a Cruise. During that period, I had collected authentic recipes from small shops and houses that I thought why not share with others. Chef’s Recipes is a book that every homemaker has to keep in her kitchen. This book has everything from healthy salads to mocktails, recipes from around the world and homes such as North Indian, South Indian, Mexican and Italian, and everything else that one can think of, including sauces, pickles, grills, dry spice powders, fish preparations, tandoor marinades and different kinds of pulao. In addition, it has all types of festival foods and, most importantly, the food that we eat during a fast. This book was also nominated for “Maharashtra Rajya Puraskar.” I have a new book on the way, “Legacy - Hidden Recipes of Maharashtra.” It has a lot of traditional methods and ways of cooking and describes the culture of different states and how it relates to their cuisines.
My favourite dishes are tandoori tikka spice powder from Jagtick Masale and NATO ice cream (Fresh coconut and ice apple).