They Say ‘Work is the meat of life, pleasure the dessert’. So what happens when work meets pleasure? A brilliant chef creating new flavors each day. It is very rare to find the ratio of work and pleasure and one who does aces everything. Meet Chef Alphonse Raj who has the right flavour of dedication and the tartness of the capability to pull it off in style.
Highlights of the Episode
- Life gives you little surprises and memories to last for years to come.
- Never stop getting inspired, you will be surprised every day.
- Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.
- Embrace criticism, it is a blessing in disguise.
Quotes and Takeaways
- “There is a fascinating story behind it, it all started in 1998…”
- “I have built a niche for myself in Deserts, Confectionery and Baking.”
- “I’d like a large spread of Biryani and Kebabs as my “Last Supper” meal.”
- “It is about taking seriously what you lay your hands on.”
When you did you first find your persuasion towards culinary profession? Can you tell us about your childhood experiences? What grew your fondness to innovate in the kitchen?
There is a fascinating story behind it. In the year 1998, I had a tiff with my father on a petty issue and born with a huge ego I fled with my friends to Bengaluru. Trying to make both ends meet, I started working in a local bakery in Bengaluru. I worked with the bakery for two years from 1998-2000. Humbled by the fact that it is so hard to earn a living I paid a visit to my father and gifted him my six months’ salary. That was the beginning of my kitchen and food story.
In which dishes have you built your niches? Can you tell us about them?
I have built a niche for myself in Deserts, Confectionery and Baking. Starting from experimental Desserts, incorporating my own ideas like crumbles fudge brownie and spice chocolate mousse to customized cakes. The cakes have been based on popular Cartoons, a cake replicating the Twin Tower, a cake in the shape of Camera and finally one shaped as an Aircraft.
What has been the most exciting memory of your journey so far as a chef?
The most exciting memory that I have had in my journey so far would be my daughter’s first birthday. I made a theme based cake of the popular cartoon Chota Bheem and Friends cake. My daughter and family were really delighted.
Do you think more students must come forth to pursue unconventional professions?
It is not about pursuing a fancy unconventional profession but it is about taking seriously what you lay your hands on. Sure kids these days are blessed with liberal parents so they should make sure that they never breach their trust or leave a task unfinished.
If given a choice, which would be your “last supper” meal, as Anthony Bourdain puts it your death row meal.
If I were to die, I wish to fest on a large spread of Biryani and Kebabs as my “Last Supper” meal.
What has been your greatest creation so far?
My latest creation an apple crumble dessert. The deserts has a very crunchy texture to it and it taste lingers on for a while. Along with that I have also managed to create a seasonal fruit dessert and customized cake.
Do you seek mentorship from any resources to improve on your cooking style?
I am deeply influenced by Chef Yesudas who is currently associated with the Taj Group. I have learnt to imbibe innovation in my cooking style from him. His technique has been a great tutor to me.
What is your message for our readers who are mostly the Indian millennium youth?
I would request the Indian youth to embrace positive criticism and take it as a first lesson in their professional pursuits. After all critics make us strong!