My background is actually in catering at Shannon college of hotel management. In our first year it was based around more operational aspects, which includes the kitchen of course which I worked most in when on placement. I thought at that point cooking was something I might explore but I hadn’t decided at that point that it was what I wanted to do. So, after 10 years of college and working in the food industry back in India I decided to pursue a food business.
Did you have any formal training?
No I didn’t, I am not a culinary chef but I do have basic training in kitchen skills from my college placement as I had the experience of working in all areas of the hotel from cleaning toilets and making beds to cooking food
How did you end up coming to Ireland?
I came first in 2001 until 2005 when I went back home and worked in India until Christmas 2015 when I came back to Ireland to start my food business Va Da Pow.
What is your favourite cuisine to cook?
Fusion cooking definitely! Sometimes it sounds gross but combining things like italian cooking with indian if it is done right can taste really nice. A little bit of fusion is good but probably not dishes like a curry spaghetti!
Is there a chef you admire the most? Who and why?
I don’t admire just one chef, I have three that each give me different types of inspiration.
Jamie Oliver, I like his quickness of his cooking, how he can make something look so simple, quick and easy. The second is Vineet Bhatia, he is an Indian chef. His way of simple Indian cooking inspires me most. Gordon Ramsey is the third, I admire his leadership skills and how he gets things done.
If you weren’t a chef what would you have been?
Working as an accountant. In school in India accounting was one of my subjects and was the one that I liked most.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Va Da Pow of course! -(Naveens own brand)
What is your top cooking tip for home chefs?
Get a proper balance. In any kind of cooking that uses a lot of ingredient like Indian, Italian or Spanish cuisine it’s really important to get a good balance of spices and the ingredients. It’s all about tasting along the way to make sure the balance to get the end result.
is right and keep it simple because sometimes trying to make something complex can completely ruin the dish.
Source: Grill The Chef- Naveen