As per my previous post on Trident BKC; we were there last night for the Punjabi Rivaayat food fest. Not only did we try some of the best Punjabi food, but we were also privileged to get some quality time with the legendary chef-Chef Sweety Singh who is on a guest visit in Mumbai for his food festival. Started from Kake di hatti and been in the business for 21 years. Read more about our conversation with him ????
1. How u started your journey in food industry?
I dont hv a degree in food. Father had started small place in Delhi after partition. Father was so talented that he could tell from the smell about how the food will be. I got it in my blood from him. Learnt the masalas from my father and rest is my passion for food that drives me.
How did you get your break with 5 star hotels?
Chef Manjeet Gill the corporate chef of ITC had loved the food at the hatti in 1995 and invited me to come and cook for 10 ppl in Park Sheraton Chennai, provided I would cook the exact same food served at hatti. That was the start of the career. Since then been cooking and doing festivals.
How involved are you in the kitchen now after 21 years of your journey?
I am completely involved from the start till the end. From making marinations myself, to my special masalas, curries and even interacting with the customers to know their preference.
What is your fav food to eat?
I eat everything. Not choosy about it. Anything served with love I eat.
Who cooks the meals at home?
I prefer eating meals cooked by my wife. Proper ghar ka khana.
What makes your food stand out??
I believe in keeping my food simple, the way the real meals should be. No food colors, or cream or butter, no purees either. I feel purees are meant for sorbets and soups, for food there should be fresh gravy. I make my own fresh gravies. I also avoid the use of soda, so the food is light and easy on stomach. It should be like mother’s food with the traditional recipes. My food is slow cooked to enhance the flavors.
Do you make your own paneer?
Yes! If I’m not happy with the quality of paneer in any hotel, I prefer making my own since that’s the most important ingredient for the veg food.
Do you carry your masalas with you?
Yes I do when I travel. Also I make my own masalas for every festival. I hv 4 basic masalas- veg masala, non veg masala, bhatti masala and achari masala. They are my special recipe.
How is your experience working with different hotels?
I get to learn so much from all the different ppl I work with.
Do you have anyone from your staff travelling with you for all the food festivals you do?
No I travel alone and work with the staff of the hotels I go to.
Where can we get to catch you for the next festivals?
I’ve signed one year contract with pullman group Dubai. 1st to 11th Feb will be doing the festival there.
From 2nd March to 19th March will be in Claridges Delhi!
Who handles the hatti now?
There is my staff taking care of it, ensuring the same taste continues. It’s located in Chandni Chowk Delhi, Asafali Road.
Any message for the upcoming chefs?
Learn and get exposure. Enjoy cooking. Be passionate about it and own what you make. Love what you do.