Chefs are often grazing and tasting the fruits of their labour for most of their working day, so it’s a wonder they can stomach anything when they clock off. But the cooking often doesn't stop when they take off their whites. Here is a round-up of what some of the best Indian chefs in the country like to eat when they're out of their work kitchens.
Aktar Islam, chef-patron, Lasan, Birmingham
"I love simple and rustic cooking. Breakfast can be a big fry-up, or if I’m cooking Indian it could be a huge pot of biryani for me and my mates. I like lamb’s brains too with plenty of fresh garlic and coriander. But my palate is quite eclectic and nothing beats good quality beef and there’s only one place that can satisfy that desire and that’s dining at Opus. I just love the modern British cooking there."
From pasta to a Chinese
Sudha Saha, chef-patron, Saffron, Birmingham
"Cooking at a high-end Indian restaurant means you are dealing with a lot of good food and, sometimes, I almost have to force myself to eat because the hunger just isn’t there. At weekends when I’m off though it’s quite different. My wife and I prepare all kinds of foods for our kids so it can be anything from pasta to a good Chinese - though being of Bengali origin, I do like a nice fish curry too!"
Vivek Singh, CEO and executive chef of The Cinnamon Club, London
"During the day I eat a wrap at my desk or late at night, just before I go home, a spicy omelette perhaps. But if I have a desert island dish, it’s got to be an on-the-bone, old Delhi-style butter chicken. The dish has everything for me. The juicy chicken done on the tandoor yet simmered in a lovely, buttery sauce and given some tartness by the tomatoes, yet with a hint of sweetness from the honey or perhaps some added sugar. The fragrance of the fenugreek just nails it for me, all embroiled in a rich and deliciously creamy offering."
Dhayalan Paul, executive chef, Mint Leaf, London
"I may be cooking all day, but I also love to eat and nothing beats a big pot of rice to go with fish-fry, yoghurt and spinach poriyal. Being south Indian, I love all those dishes. I also visit the Lahore Kebab House at least twice a month because I need that meat curry kick! On the Sunday, after my wife and I have been to church, there’s nothing better than a trip to Tina, We Salute You, because their pancakes are to die for!"
And a homemade chicken curry
Krishnapal Negi, head chef, Swagat and Atithi, London
"Having cooked top level Indian food with the likes of Michelin-starred Vineet Bhatia and even now applying some very modern techniques to my cooking, there’s nothing I like more than my wife’s simple Indian dishes. Give me her chicken curry, some vegetables and chapatti bread and it makes my day."
Great recipes from Anjali Pathak
Recipes using Patak's pastes from Maunika Gowardhan