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IN CONVERSATION WITH CHEF ALEX MOSER

Jasmeen Dugal  (click here to know more about this blogger)

Alex Moser, Executive Chef, Andaz Delhi transformed his passion into a culinary career seventeen years ago, when he joined Grand Hyatt, Berlin following which he donned the chef's hat in the hotel chain in Germany, Dubai, Russia, France, Switzerland, Holland and Turkey. At the opening of Andaz, Amsterdam he fell in love with the dynamic brand and now delights discerning palates at Andaz Delhi. Chef firmly believes in fresh, local ingredients and grows micro greens and aloe vera, vegetables and herbs; pickles and chutneys are sourced from Ranikhet, rock salt from Majkhali and honey from farmers in the Garhwal region. Not only do these ingredients enhance his dishes it serves to uplift rural farming communities. In conversation with him.

 

''When I was six, I used to spend time in the kitchen helping my mom and when I turned fourteen I remembered the fun I had and knew it was my calling. I have been working at Hyatt for over seventeen years and appreciate the projects, the culture and the food scene. I think, regardless of where you go, preferences are different; however, the tastebuds are too, and I believe you should not move away from recipes.  You should use great recipes to fit the customers' needs!!

 

Speaking of India, a challenge of working as a chef here is finding creative youngsters. The structure is monotone and doesn't allow everyone to shine. However, I love the diversity of cuisines which makes it so exciting!! When you're a part of creating something new, in this case European-style restaurant Annamaya, everyone has to be on the same page; only then are you able to create experiences. So, yes, from the beginning, I shared my focus with the team so they could understand the direction. We work with seasonal fresh produce and that's the core of any cuisine. I believe in nature and we should let produce speak for itself. That's why we are always up to date on what is new from the ground! When I came to India two years back, I was amazed by all the ingredients I found when searching for ingredients on my menu. Surprisingly, while exploring the restaurant landscape in Delhi, I noticed that most ingredients I came across are not in use; in fact many chefs are not aware of ingredients produced in different part of India! I got triggered and decided that I only wanted to use local produce and extended my search for amazing ingredients behind the boring stuff we find in supermarkets!!

 

India has amazing places and superb food, as well as great diversity. I just came back from Kolkata where I enjoyed  dinner in a little shop; it was brilliant food. The reason I mention it is to provide an example of when Indian restaurants are great and when they are not! This particular one is amazing because it's authentic regarding what they serve but many others try hard to be different and fail when it comes to execution! They must understand that quality ingredients is key. The play on flavors and combination of ingredients combined with brilliant cooking skills creates masterpieces. That said, India has changed my way of doing business! The way I look at products — and the importance I give to food — has heightened. Using Indian ingredients when cooking western dishes is spectacular, since India is a paradise of produce. And, yes, I love the tandoor since you can cook anything you want in it. I have also started using the handi to cook stews!! Moving forward, I have something interesting in my platter! I'm working on an amazing concept, which is all about well-being, using local seasonal produce and creating dishes to underline the impact of well-being on your body through particular ingredients… but you will have to stay tuned for a while!!''
 

ANDAZ DELHI
Alex Moser, Executive Chef, Andaz Delhi
 
21-AUGUST-2018
 
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