Meet Manash, our Brasserie’s Head Chef. He loves nothing more than experimenting with food combinations and trying out different cuisines.
Manash grew up in the middle of his father’s farm in the small coastal town of Thalassery in southern India. The family farm, and the region Manash grew up in, was bursting with paddy fields, banana paddocks, coconuts and spices. It’s famous for growing some of the best black pepper in the world.
Manash loved the smell, taste and texture of the great produce and their combinations so of course, the next logical step was to cook them. His desire to know more about food and nature has fuelled his career as a chef and brought him to our door.
So let’s hear a little more about Manash, from the man himself…
Q: Where is your favourite place in the world and why?
A: Mumbai, simply because you are yourself in the city of dreams… I learned how to thrive in hardship, and take life in an easy and humorous way.
Q: Tell us something we wouldn’t know about you?
A: I learned Indian classical music when I was a child. I also run a business back home with my best friend which started during my college days, it’s still running successfully – we employ five staff.
Q: Being a chef is fast-paced, outside of work do you prefer to be busy or chilled?
A: I like to be busy at work, but like to have my own precious time off with family.
Q: What is your favourite dish to make?
A: I do love to make French classical ‘Bouillabaisse’ a fishermen soup of Marseille, also love my South Indian breakfast meals.
Q: If you were stranded on a deserted island what three things would you bring and why?
A: Water canon – to avoid dehydration, knife – for multipurpose use, like to prepare firewood or make a shelter and a mirror – for creating fire (I’ve only heard about this, I don’t know how to do it).
Q: What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you on shift?
A: An Environmental Health Officer visit! A disastrous day, one of the walk-in fridges broke down. The officer visited while the food items were being chilled in different ice baths on a busy Saturday, we had to serve 500 covers that day!
Q: If you could have a starter with a famous person who would it be and what would you make for them?
A: I’d love to cook with chef Rick Stein on his way around the French canal barge trips. His passionate presentation always made me dream about endless travel to southern France and the Mediterranean.
I’d cook him some pollock (highly underrated fish from the cod family)…
Pan seared pollock fillet, basted in porcini mushroom butter with wilted baby green pods, heritage potatoes and bouillabaisse sauce, and some Loch Fyne mussels and sweet shrimps!
Tell us about a time you’ve gone above and beyond?
One day back in February, we were caught behind the pace of service and there was a customer who was very keen to have one of our specials. She was not happy with the meal and ordered a dessert for after.
When the check came back to the kitchen we realised that there was no tarte tatin left (we were in the transition days of a new menu launch).
We decided we had to offer her a tarte tatin, but advised that she would need to wait 15 minutes until we could make it from scratch.
I still have no idea how we managed to make a tarte tatin in 15 minutes, but the crisis was well managed and that is what makes the team so special.