We catch up with the executive sous chef of Links at the Royal Golf Club
Time Out Bahrain staff
Where are you from? I was born and bought up in Bombay and did my diploma in hotel management and food technology in the city. I have been in Bahrain for 14 years, and my previous job was at the Ritz-Carlton where I opened Plums, in which I was chef de cuisine of the restaurant. I then moved to the Royal Golf Club, which is a great place to work as it has a diverse number of restaurants, which presented me with a great opportunity.
I hear you have worked in management as well and being a chef? Well, I started my career as a chef as an apprentice in 1988. It was fun and I enjoyed it but I wanted to try a different field in the restaurant business and I went into management for a year or two, but I didn’t really enjoy it and was desperate to get back into the kitchen.
What’s so great about being in the kitchen? The creativity, the fact you need to play with products and innovate things and it keeps you going if you are adventurous and ambitious. Also, the emotion on the guests’ faces when they are delighted with the food you serve, that’s what you want to achieve.
Are there any ingredients in Bahrain that are quite difficult to get hold of? Yes, everything here is imported. The problem is when you are looking for a specific product. You can get anything you want, but the timeframe is a challenge. If someone requests that they want foie gras tomorrow, I have to tell them no because you need time to buy the product. Also, very few people do fresh herbs here, so we are planning to plant our very own herb garden.
What do you make of the dining scene in Bahrain? I think the scene is growing, but it hasn’t grown in comparison to other GCC countries. I think the concepts here are interesting, but it depends upon how people take things and innovate on that. People always want something new.
What’s the best meal you have ever cooked? When former president George Bush was in Bahrain, he stayed at the Ritz-Carlton and I was involved in cooking the banquet dinner that was hosted by the royal family of Bahrain. We presented to them truffle praline on dry ice and Mr Bush was thrilled by it. I have also cooked for a number of Formula One stars, including Fernando Alonso.
Who would you most like to cook for, and why? I would like to challenge myself to a food critic, I would love to do that.
What’s the best meal you have ever eaten that you didn’t cook yourself? In Delhi, we had a very good Chinese meal there, we were raving about it for quite some time.
Steaks look quite simple to cook. What mistakes do most people make? People tend to marinate their steak with seasoning. My preference when cooking a steak is to use only salt and pepper. The meat itself has a lot of juice in it. You need to balance the salt and use a good crushed pepper.
There are various degrees of cooking when it comes to a steak. From a chef’s perspective, how is a steak ideally served? The maximum must be medium, but medium rare is best.
What dish have you chosen to cook for us, and why? Steak and stone, which is the restaurant’s signature dish, and allows you to cook the steak as you want it. You can cook anything on this stone: tuna, salmon, chicken, lamb chops, sausages. But if you don’t have one at home, then you can use an iron skillet.
A great steak
Serves one Method 1 Marinate the steak with good quality sea salt and Brakes crushed pepper. 2 Pop the steak onto a hot stone/into a heated skillet, and cook as long as you see fit. 3 Serve with: pepper sauce, flavoured butter, English mustard, sautéed mushrooms, and mashed potatoes. Steak and stone is available exclusively at Links at the Royal Golf Club, which is open all day, seven days a week. For more information, call 17 750 777