He’d pass of as a wannabe tourist — aviators, denim shorts, cap and tattoos, 13 of them — as he walks into the restaurant. That’s Michelin two star chef Sergi Arola for you. He is down to ‘stay in touch’ with Arola, his restaurant at JW Marriott, Juhu. “I like visiting my restaurants, which gives me a chance to introduce new dishes, interact with the guests and to stay connected,” says Arola, adding that every restaurant serves a version of the dish. “For example, Patata Bravas in all my restaurant will have the same ingredients. But, if it is being served in Paris, it will have only 10 per cent of chilli while in Mumbai it will be 100 per cent,” says Arola who loves the Indian Thali. “I eat almonds to protect my stomach from all the spicy food,” he smiles, as he excuses himself to change into his formal apron.
Along with Chef Manuel Oliveira Seller, he has planned a monsoon menu, which will have light and flavourful dishes. “We are also testing a dessert with pineapple, cocoa and chilli,” says Arola, as he squeezes a swirl of aoli on a serving of Patata Bravas. He also makes Crema Catalana, which has a twist of lemon and orange. Simple ingredients such as egg yolk, milk cream, cinnamon and lemon. This is the easiest recipe, we conclude, to touch heaven.
Sharing an anecdote, Arola says, “When the general of Napoleon went to Paris, the king asked him what did Spain smell like. His answer was garlic and dried tomatoes!” He told us one more thing — his next tattoo is going to be a Bansky-inspired girl with a red balloon.
Chef Justin Parras
Apart from revising menus, overseeing operations or brainstorming on new recipes, chef and international brand ambassador Justin Parras of California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) is here to conduct a live kitchen workshop on various sauces and toppings. He even gives us tips for making the pizza sauce at home! “Make sure you have good quality tomatoes as this will be the most important part. Just combine some crushed tomatoes, garlic, basil and some of your favourite herbs to make it your own specialty pizza sauce,” says Parras, who says pineapple is not the only fruit topping on pizzas. “The fruit should compliment the other ingredients with the pizza. At CPK, we have a caramelised pear and gorgonzola pizza. Another innovative pizza is Mango Tandoori Chicken Pizza. We make that using our home made curry sauce, mozzarella cheese, tandoori chicken pieces, ripe mangoes, and cilantro, drizzled with our spicy mango glaze,” he says. We’re hungry!
Olive at Mahalaxmi Racecourse is hosting Chef Stephane from Le Bistro du Parc, France, for their Bistronomy festival. “Bistronomy is a concept that brings together the casual atmosphere of a bistro with a touch of gastronomy in the food. In our cuisine, we revisit traditional French meals served in bistros and twist them to give them a modern touch, either by adding new ingredients or by making the presentation of the plate more original,” explains Stephane, adding that he believes in using local produce to create authentic French food. The menu inspired from the south of France includes Lamb Estouffade, Pan-fried squids and Mousse au chocolat revisited in a modern way. “We enhance the taste with salt, pepper, garlic and fresh herbs such as coriander, basil or parsley.”