I have a passion for all things good in life- be it travel, food, watching plays& films, photography, drinking champagne or just getting pampered in a Spa. Luckily being a Hotel Management graduate, an ex-chef, nutritionist and a journalist, I am eminently qualified to do my job of writing and sharing experiences. My blog is my world and my posts are my straightforward thoughts...come along with me on my culinary voyage!
A study revealed that the award of a Michelin star rests almost entirely on the culinary skills of the chef, who is usually also the owner. According to Michelin, stars reflect “what’s on the plate and only what’s on the plate”. Other criteria, such as ambience and service, are indicated by fork and spoon symbols, and do not affect star ratings. However, the Michelin offers no written criteria for its star ratings, and the system is complex. In addition to excellence in food, tradition seems to be a large element in gaining or retaining a star rating. Exquisitely planned and executed food, timely and friendly service and the overall passion and excitement that ooze from a restaurant, sure seem to be some of the reasons for winning dining accolades. That said, with these winners the motive is not to feed the stomach but the soul. When this being the objective, the resulting ambience and service provided create a unique environment….
The 2010 awards, which were announced at the Guildhall in London, proclaimed these as the Top 5 in the Michelin Guide….!
DID YOU KNOW?
• The maximum Michelin stars a restaurant (not the chef) can obtain are 3.
Michelin give their stars the following meaning:
*** Exceptional kitchen, worth the travel.
** Refined kitchen, worth a detour.
* A very good restaurant.
• The Michelin star rating is the most recognized rating system in the culinary world for all of Western Europe.
• Since 1955, the guide has also highlighted restaurants offering “good food at moderate prices”, a feature now called “Bib Gourmand”.
• The Michelin guides were originally produced for motorists in France by the Michelin tyre company.
• The Rising Star distinction, introduced in 2006, highlights the best restaurants in each category, which may move up to the next level soon.
LOCATION-Two Michelin starred Noma, is built in an elegant 18th century warehouse situated on the docks far from the madding crowd and is the perfect place for a culinary sojourn of Danish food. The name “Noma” is an acronym of the two Nordic words “Nordisk”, alias Nordic, and “Mad”, aka food.
THE CHEF- After cooking at some of the worlds most prestigious restaurants, including under Ferran Adria at El bulli and Thomas Keller at The French Laundry, 32 year old Rene Redzepi became chef and co-founder of Noma in 2003.
THE FOOD- Redzepi has tailored traditional, regional spirit to the modern gourmet with the accomplishment of an enthusiastic chef in search of new experiences and has created dishes like radishes in edible soil and sea buckthorn leather and hip roses. Noma’s bread which is served with “virgin” butter and pork fat with scratching is a fine meal in itself.
USP- Noma’s success can be attributed to Redzepi’s in depth knowledge of the produce of his Nordic terroir. His unbending attitude towards cooking seasonally and locally has ensured him the top position in the Michelin guide.
NOMA, Strandgade 93
1401 Copenhagen K, Denmark
Tel: +45 3296 3297
Lunch: Tuesday-Saturday: 12.00pm to 4.00pm.
Dinner: Tuesday-Saturday: 6.30 pm to 10.00 pm
Average cost of a meal per person: 220 Pounds with wine. (Approx 17,500 INR)
LOCATION- This three Michelin starred restaurant is set across beautiful, green hills and right by the water above the seaside town of Roses on the Costa Brava, it is a somewhat hair-raising drive up a narrow one track road that seems to go on forever before the restaurant finally hovers into view. That said, after you have had over a dozen memorable dishes for which you would happily allow yourself to be driven along a tortuous road.
THE CHEF- Ferran Adria is known for his Avant Garde approach to cooking which uses hi tech methods to “deconstruct” and rebuild ingredients in surprising ways. He is always there in his restaurant, a rarity these days: a celebrity chef who actually cooks!
THE FOOD- There are more people in the kitchen than there are customers which is justified as each menu comprises more than 30 dishes per table, most of them eaten in a bite or two, one is swung from sweet to savoury and back, the dishes oscillating from ambient to frozen to hot to frozen again. Food here is a fast paced dining rollercoaster, with explosive flavors and textural surprises that await you at every turn Famous for ethereal foams, which aim to capture the essence of a flavour, will leave anyone spellbound.
USP- No other restaurant that I know opens for such a short period, from end April to October, which allows their laboratory in Barcelona to create a vast number of new dishes over the winter for the following year.
PLEASE NOTE- The restaurant is closing next July (2012) or rather switching direction to become a culinary foundation once Adria returns from a two and half year break.
EL BULLI, Cala Montjoi, Roses, Spain
Tel: 972 15 04 57
Opening hours: Open from April to October for dinner only.
Average cost of a meal per person: 270 Euros with wine. (Approx 17,600 INR)
LOCATION-Tucked away in the ivy strewn embrace of Bray a quaint village where the vibrancy of the many rose bushes sprout up in blazing, unabashed crimson along the meandering, moss covered footpaths, this simple three Michelin star Restaurant stands in all its grace.
THE CHEF- Chef Heston Blumenthal has been described as a culinary alchemist for his innovative style of cuisine. He is also referred to as a Mad Hatter; the consummate (power) pourer of the Tea of Possibilities that will be forever brewing.
THE FOOD- The tasting menu serves about a dozen courses such as snail porridge; salmon poached in licorice gel; and the famed Sound of the Sea, where customers don earphones and listen to lapping waves while consuming seafood washed up on what looks like a beach. The sand is, in fact, a mix of tapioca and fried Japanese breadcrumbs. One would rarely come across a dish for which sound is an integral part of the experience…truly the food here is a joy for all the senses.
USP- Chef Blumenthal’s teaches one how the senses are far more selective and subjective than we think, and then have fun thinking like he does to create a Wonderland on your plate! Just the thinking alone will bring about a change in perception regarding food and tasting and flavours and one’s palate. It is not just a meal here, it is a performance of excellence and it motivates a level of personal response and involvement that nestles a new awareness within.
THE FAT DUCK, High Street, Bray, Berkshire, SL6 2AQ (U.K.)
Tel: +44 (0) 1628 580 333 between 10.00am and 5.00pm
The restaurant is closed on Sunday evening and all day Monday.
Tuesday to Sunday Lunch- 12noon to last order 2pm
Average cost of a meal per person -220 Pounds with wine. (Approx 17,500 INR)
EL CELLER DE CAN ROCA
LOCATION- About 2km from the town’s main boulevard, this three Michelin star restaurant has transformed Girona into one of the more trendy cities of Spain. The building itself is magnificent as you enter and stare at a colonial Spanish building, fully restored to its former glory.
THE CHEF- The place is run by three brothers; Joan Roca is the head chef with an interest in modern technology. Josep Roca is the maitre d’ and head sommelier, and Jordi Roca is the pastry chef, but the food is far from homey, and the space is decidedly modern.
THE FOOD- From caramelized olives stuffed with anchovies hanging on hoops from a bonsai like olive tree to mini omelettes with a bursting caviar centre every dish is a pleasant surprise and leaves you eagerly anticipating the next.
USP- From beginning to the end, El Celler De Can Roca delivers a thoughtful and delicious meal with just enough punches to keep one excited.
EL CELLER DE CAN ROCA, Can Sunyer 48, Girona, 17007, Spain.
Tel: 972 22 21 57
Everyday 1-4pm, 8.30-11pm. closed on Sundays and Mondays during the first half of July and during the Christmas period.
Average cost of a meal per person: The signature dishes menu (three courses and one pudding) costs 95 euros (Approx 6175 INR) and the tasting menu with wine (five courses and two puddings) is 160 euros (Approx 10,400 INR)
LOCATION- The restaurant is set high in the countryside hills of Donostia, behind San Sebastian. There’s a rural feel to the surroundings and the fact that you are about to eat at a Two Michelin star is quite a surreal feeling as one watches sheep grazing and listens to the tractors chugging past.
THE CHEF-Andoni Luis Aduriz at 36 years of age has mastered the molecular and rationalized it back to the coherent. He terms his cuisine “technomotion”, combining the words technology and emotion, creating dishes that tantalize not only the palate but also the mind.
THE FOOD- Aduriz’s cuisine features creations like edible “ceramic”, vegetables that have been carbonized into “coal” and tough and chewy cuts of meat that have been made fork-tender by cooking them sous vide (slow cooking in a plastic)for 35 hours. A dish synonymous with Mugaritz, “Rocks” are actually potatoes baked in an edible clay shell. To complete the illusion, there are actual rocks at the bottom of the dish. Vanilla foam with a warm “tablet” made with honey and oats, mimics a bar of soap and soap bubbles.
USP- The chefs are from all over the world and bring back indigenous spices and herbs which are then incorporated into the menus. The herbs are planted and grown in Mugaritz’s herb garden. Basically they import ingredients but not ideas. It is known to be the world’s most original restaurant, beyond creative but still “organic” as opposed to science experiments.
• Stand-alone restaurants may not give lot of employee benefits.
• Difficult to rise up if not talented/skilled.
• Weekly offs normally don’t fall on weekends.
CAREER OPTIONS FOR HOTEL MANAGEMENT GRADUATES
• Management Trainees in Hotels & Related industries.
• Kitchen Management Trainees.
• Operational Trainees.
• Cabin Crew in Airlines.
• Sales & Marketing Executives.
• Managers/supervisors In Tourism
• Catering officers in cruiseliners/ships.
• Entrepreneurship opportunities.
The Hospitality Industry seems to be the fastest growing industry in the world creating more employment opportunities than most other industries. Most of the Hotel Management Institutes aim to prepare graduates for employment in hotel, tourism and services management. The courses focus on hotel operational skills, management practices in the tourism and hospitality industry and the skills needed for continued learning in a changing global business environment. Small classes, hands-on learning experience, state-of-the-art teaching facilities form a part of the course. The Degree Course (The Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) programme in Hospitality and Hotel Administration is offered by the National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Pusa, New Delhi and Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi. The Three-year programme equips trainees with all the required skills, knowledge and attitude to efficiently discharge supervisory responsibilities in the Hospitality Sector.
The Bachelor of Science programme comprises in-depth laboratory work for students to acquire the required knowledge and skill standards in the operational areas of Food Production, Food and Beverage Service, Front Office Operation and House keeping. It also imparts substantial managerial inputs in areas such as Sales and Marketing, Financial Management, Human Resource Management, Hotel and Catering Law, Property Management, Entrepreneurship Development, etc. There are many other Hotel Management Institutes as well and all over the country and apart from the degree courses a few short-term courses are available too.
Has anyone ever wondered what must be the life of the people from the hospitality industry? It’s as tough a life as being in the army or even tougher. “Christmas Eve changed for me when I started working in the hospitality industry, everyone else parties these days and I look after them.” Says a restaurant employee. “I don’t remember the last time I spent Diwali with my family” Says a steward with moist eyes.
It’s not just festival time, even other regular days; most of the staff works in shifts. There definitely is a solution to this, the owners should try and work out systems for the betterment of the staff, and restaurants should close down on festivals like Holi, Diwali (like they do abroad on Christmas). Tell me honestly, does anyone go out to eat on Holi or Diwali? No one, restaurants are lying empty, and everyone in India is meeting and greeting their own families, except of course the restaurant staff, whohave no choice. But fortunately it’s not that bad, things are changing now, “ We shut down our restaurant on Diwali, Only do a Pooja in the restaurant that day”, shares a restaurant owner. “I have given my most of my staff straight shifts and break shifts are given in rotation as the staff is happier and more productive then”, says another restaurant owner.
It’s great though in the organizations where employees get all benefits, offs, compensatory offs, there’s job security, better salaries etc. However in some stand-alone restaurants the Service side do get some benefits , but the kitchen guys get nothing at all. Thankfully! Some restaurants realize the value of a good Chef; good staff and pay them well. Some restaurant owners take good care of their staff too. "happy staff= happy customers" is their motto.Infact the Kitchen and Housekeeping department in the hotels have to work the hardest because major revenue in a Hotel is from food and rooms. Food and rooms have to be made with perfection and as soon as possible, which is indeed a big responsibility. The service has to go hand in hand with good food, imagine your “Dosa” lying ready on the kitchen counter for 10 minutes but you get it late (read dead) due to delay in service.
For successful operations the whole team has to work symbiotically and trust me working in the Hotel Industry can be a whole lot of fun inspite of the long working hours andespecially if you’re good at your work and you get recognized for it. Probably this is the only industry where growth (position & salary wise) depends on talent and not age.
Such talented Examples are Ashish Shukla, who heads Cinepolis in India. Rahul Pandit who’s Chief Operating Officer of The Lemon Tree Hotels, Chef Bakshish Dean Corporate Chef LiteBite foods, New Delhi, Chef Neeta Nagraj who’s now Corporate Chef with Jaypee Hotels was Executive Chef Taj Palace New Delhi at a very young age, Chef Sanjeev Kapoor who’s a well known figure. Budding Master Chef Judge Chef Kunal kapur, Chef Gaggan Anand who owns Gaggans in Bangkok (serving Indian food with molecular gastronomy) and is doing India proud, Chef Manu Chandra who heads Olive Bangalore and Mumbai, Vijay Dewan at The Park Hotels, Sharad Puri, General Manager at The Trident Chennai, Chef Saby -Oilve and ai, Deepak Ohri -CEO Lebua Hotels, Tejpal Uberoi at the Suryaa- New Delhi, Robyn Bickford & Manav Garewal at The Aman (won best General Managers in the world award)......
My list can go on as there are many more such talented people. I would simply end by writing, working in the Hospitality Industry is a great career and those who are smart, efficient and talented get recognized and move on. As a matter of fact some even become really well known and later have enough options to do on their own.
The Hospitality Industry seems to be the fastest growing industry in the world creating more employment opportunities than most other industries. Has anyone ever wondered what must be the life of the people from the hospitality industry?
The true star of Piedmont’s cuisine is beyond a doubt the Tuber Magnatum Pico, commonly known as the white truffle of Alba….Piemonte’s white gold...
As unconditional food frenzy, the hunt for the white truffle was among my top priorities on my trip to Piemonte, especially because I have enjoyed the delight that the white truffle brings. Truffles can fetch as much as 5000 euros a kilo at a connoisseurs market...but one needs to beware of heavy, clay-covered or even fake specimens for the same exorbitant price. Famed for its intense aroma and flavour, the Alba truffle is Nero (black) or bianco (white) and is sniffed out of the ground by dogs. Interestingly in the past truffle hunters used pigs to find the truffle, but the pigs that they were they tried to pig out the truffle right away and also because it is easier to train a dog. Also a dog is happy to sniff out the truffles then patiently wait for his reward, and Iam sure it must be rather difficult to wrestle a tuber away from a 300-pound truffle gorging pig…what say?
BEFORE THE HUNT
Though the best time for truffle hunting is early in the morning owing to the moisture in the air which helps the dogs smell the unique and beautiful aroma easily, but lazy I settled for a more refined hour of 10 Am. So off I, set to Roddi near Alba, all geared in attire for a jungle trek. Roddi is an area rich in all things that makes truffles i.e. oak trees, hazelnut trees, and willows galore. My guide Monchiero Giovanni was waiting for us with Leila, a cross breed white dog. Don’t get me wrong, there is no racism here; the hunting dog’s coat cannot be dark else they’ll get lost in the dark, which is primarily when all the truffle hunts take place (wee hours of the morning…remember?). The Giovanni family has been in this business since 1880 and Monchiero is the official truffle finding dog trainer in the area. Before the hunt began Monchiero shared that truffles are 90% water and are simply mushrooms that come from scattered squirrel droppings. And, all land that is uncultivated and the woods is fair game…prerequisites being a license and a dog and you can hunt on any property! By the way I also learnt that the Truffle also has the reputation of having empowered Napoleon to conceive his only legitimate son, and it isn’t a wonder why so many revere this insignificant, ugly, underground mushroom!
We walked in the woods for about two and a half hours, up and down the hills. Leila would sniff around and when she found something, she got very excited, wriggling, and wagging her tail and all of a sudden start digging passionately like a maniac. Monchiero rushed over each time so that she didn’t get the truffle in her mouth. He even handed me a pick so I could unearth the truffle. The truffle in my hand was knobbly, its flesh compact and the brownness of the coloring was veined with white. It was quite mature and exuded an intense aroma and I could smell garlic, hay, wet earth, mushroom and spices all together …absolutely pleasurable and divine. All in all Leila found truffles eleven times, all white. With mucky shoes and a hungry Stomach I moved to a nearby restaurant for a hearty lunch of fresh fried eggs with a topping of shaved truffles and “tajarin” (egg yolk rich hand made noodles) accompanied with fresh white Truffles which made it so very exquisite. Happily I hummed... “It’s been a hard day’s night and I have been working like a dog”…Truly this experience was the highlight of my trip!