Saby needs no introduction. He is the most humble and hard working chef I have met. Chef Sabyasachi Gorai (Saby), winner of President’s award, National Tourism Award (2011-12) and lately winning the title of Best Chef in India by Varli Awards in US, was the most obvious choice when we decided to introduce a new initiative and section on getting to know the Chef’s better.
Chef Saby, who comes from a middle class family from Asansol, has been a name to reckon with and also perhaps one of the success stories this city has to share. Here is what Saby has to reveal.
Birthday: 05 Jan 1973 |Sun Sign: Capricorn| Place of Birth: Asansol| Hometown: Asansol
School/College: Calcutta University, IHM Calcutta| First Job: Accor Guest line, Juhu, Mumbai | Currently Doing: Culinary Director of Kitchens for Ai, the Japanese restaurant, Lap the club, Olive beach, Olive Qutab and the moving kitchen by Olive.
High Point of your Life: Baby daughter (Sara) | Low Point of your Life: Very happy with the life so far
Q) Unlike recent times, with big influence of MasterChef, earlier everyone wanted to be a Doctor, Engineer, Teacher or Pilot. When did you decide to become a chef?
A) Coming from the middle class family, one thing that was clear in my mind was to start earning as soon as possible. My family did not approve of my plans to join Air Force leaving me to choose between Arts and Culinary Academy. Since chances of success in arts are remote, I did not take much risk and joined the catering collage in 1993. The front office and glamour of Managerial job attracted me but I soon realised that I can put my artistic passion in food and create my niche. And here I am.
A) Fighter pilot in Indian air force, artist (painter), monk.
Q) Do you remember the first dish you cooked?
A) Poulet sauté chasseur in first year college.
Q) Who has been the biggest influence in your life for you to reach the stage where you are today?
A) Parents and iconic chefs (Chef Gill, Chef Coelho, Chef Soundararajan)
A) This man is very close to my heart because he feed my stomach… Mr. Anil Ambani
Q) Your family…
A) Wife and daughter
Q) With long working hours, especially on weekends and festivals, how do you keep your family happy?
A) Honestly, It’s always difficult to find that fine balance between family and work as a professional chef. However I try and cook meal on special days at home which brings a smile to my wife (Ritu). Even my daughter (Sara) who is only two years is turning out to be a complete foodie baby. No one believes it, but she chooses black olives over chocolates J
Q) What is your favourite food?
A) Eggs and pasta, all Indian and regional food.
Q) One dish of your mom, which you could never replicate?
A) Doi maach. Dish is not too intricate but her love and affection always made it special.
A) All food shows like salon culinary Madrid, Gourmet summit Singapore, Win Italy, Hofex in Honk Kong, Tasting Australia in Adelaide, Gulf food in Dubai. I have been trained extensively and undergone specialized Chef’s Courses like Pastry school in Paris, Culinary school in USA, Pasta Academy in Italy to name a few. I have worked with two iconic chefs in Sydney, Australia. Chef Neil Perry at Rock Pool Sydney and Chef Tetsuya at the world famous Tetsuya’s restaurant in Darling Harbor Sydney. I constantly travel around the world especially through small towns of France, Italy and Spain discovering classical recipes and flavours from the Mediterranean.
Q) One kitchen tool, you cannot live without?
A) Sharp Knife
Q) You get your inspiration from?
A) Charlie trotter, Neil Perry, Tetsuya, Ferran Adria.
Q) What would you like your last meal in this world to be?
A) Bengali home food
Q) What scares you?
Q) Which is your favourite food holiday destination?
A) Italy, France and Spain
Q) One tip that you would like to give to budding chefs?
A) Skills, Patience, Knowledge, hard and smart work and most importantly full commitment towards work.
Q) What keeps you on your toes?
A) Self driven passion and interest to work towards satisfaction of guest.
Q) If you had to mind your weight, what would you cook as diet food?
A) Olive oil, Fresh vegetable, chicken and fish.
Q) What will be the name of your restaurant?
Q) The last line of your autobiography would be…
A) Impossible is nothing, permanent is nothing, life is beautiful
Q) Please share one of your favourite recipes with your fans.
Traditional Spanish Churros with Spiced hot chocolate
Heat water and butter together in a heavy bottom pan.
Add flour and stir till it forms a smooth paste.
Take the mixture in a separate bowl.
Add eggs to the mixture one by one and whisk it continually.
Put the mixture in a piping bag and deep fry it until golden brown.
Serve it with chocolate sauce, honey and icing sugar and cinnamon powder.