The new Executive Chef of The Park Visakhapatnam, has worked all over India; picking up the best of every place he’s been to and has had a blast cooking for celebrities. Yo! Vizag finds out more.
Know the Man
Chef Neeraj Balasubramanian, an IHM – Hyderabad alumni, has been in the business for 11 years, yet he claims everyday to be a learning experience for him. When his childhood dream of wanting to be a fighter pilot didn’t pan out, he decided to try his hand at cooking; inspired by his sister who’s also a chef. His first job at Taj shocked him with the reality of working in an industrial kitchen; but the foodie ploughed on because of the adrenaline rush cooking gives him. He claims handling the kitchen to be a tough job, but the high he gets when people enjoy his food makes it worthwhile.
With no plans for settling overseas, Neeraj prefers to stay and explore the cuisine here. In lieu of opening a restaurant few years ago, his acquirement of lost recipes from housewives residing in different states left him awe-struck by the simplistic beauty of the recipes. “In the quest for world cuisine, we’re losing the essence of what we have,” he says. Indian cuisine is dear to him and with it gaining popularity abroad he wonders why we are losing respect for it.
Old recipes are where my heart lies, I strive to revive the forgotten recipes of India and execute them in an innovative manner.
It’s Neeraj’s first time in a semi-metro city and he finds the relaxing pace here a refreshing change. He thinks Vizagites are open to new ideas, despite a preference for local cuisine. The Park Visakhapatnam recently held a French – Indian fusion food fest that was well appreciated.
Neeraj’s personal favourite at The Park Visakhapatnam, happens to be a new dish he’s introduced – Martaban ka Meat, a dish where the meat is cooked for 48 long hours in a ‘martaban’ or mud pot over wood. The result is a divine concoction that melts in your mouth. He also recommends the spicy Curry Dew mocktail and the spit-roasted Paneer Pasanda Tikka.